Just Say No To Raw Hide

Posted on: 4 April 2016

You have the best intentions when you offer your canine companion the gift of a rawhide bone to chew. You know that it will keep him busy for a little while and that gnawing away will help to remove plaque from his teeth, which is a big plus for dental health. What is good for his teeth is not necessarily good for the rest of him. Rawhide bones and a variety of similar products can pose dangers to your furry friend. Understand the potential hazards and what you should do to eliminate them from your dog's recreational routine.

Chewing Does Not Replace Brushing

You may have heard the suggestion that if you chew on sugarless gum, your mouth will produce more saliva while you chew, and the saliva helps to wash away bacteria-laden plaque before it can adhere to your tooth enamel. This is true, but the benefit only goes so far. Your dentist has not suggested that you may chew gum instead of brushing your teeth. The same concept holds true for your dog. While chewing on rawhide bones may remove some of his plaque, the activity does not take the place of brushing his teeth. The potential hazards of rawhide and other chews outweigh the limited dental benefits.

Dangers of Rawhide

Rawhide is made from the inner layer of a cow's hide. The hide is rolled up or formed into shapes and dried. Many manufacturers apply chemicals to clean and preserve the rawhide products, and flavor additives may also be applied. Rawhide is not digestible like your dog's biscuits. Rawhide bones are meant to be chewed, and as the rawhide softens, small pieces are ingested and passed. The problem is that as the chewed rawhide softens and becomes covered in your dog's saliva, larger pieces can easily slide into the back of your dog's mouth. When this happens, the following problems can result:

  • The softened rawhide can stick to the roof of your dog's mouth. In his futile and increasingly frantic efforts to dislodge it himself, it starts to slip back toward the back of the throat. Your dog may choke as a result of airway blockage, or the piece of rawhide can become lodged in the esophagus.
  • If the large piece of softened rawhide actually manages to pass through the esophagus, it can then lead to a foreign body obstruction if it becomes lodged in the intestinal tract.

Additional hazards can lurk in the potentially toxic chemical products that are often used to treat rawhide chews.

Same Hazards, Different Presentations

Rawhide chews are not the only chews on the market that are not meant to be digested and carry some of the same risks. Choking and obstructions can occur with natural shaft bones that are sold for dogs to gnaw on. If your dog becomes excited and jumps about while chewing on one of these bones, or if he simply rolls on his back in delight with the bone held in his mouth, it can slip right down into his throat and beyond. Ham bones, which are also packaged and marketed for dogs, can pose the risk of perforated esophagus, stomach or gastrointestinal tract if your dog ingests small, sharp shards that break off of the bones during chewing.

Play It, and Chew It, Safe

The safest way to approach shopping for your dog's supplies is to make a clear distinction between what is edible and what is not. For playtime, stick to dog toys that are appropriately sized and durable enough for your dog's activity so that he cannot chew them apart and ingest them. When it comes to his treat time, stick to dog biscuits that are meant to be consumed and fully digested. Large carrots that are frozen make natural and edible teething chews for puppies, but always supervise your dog during these chewing sessions. If you are seeking to keep your dog blissfully occupied, fill a large Kong with peanut butter and freeze it. When you offer him this doggy delight, your buddy will be happy and busy for quite some time.

For a pet hospital, contact a clinic such as Honolulu Pet Clinic LLC The


Keeping Your Pets Healthy

After I started staying home full time instead of working, I realized that my pets weren't as healthy as I thought they were. They basically laid around the house all day, and I started growing increasingly concerned about their well-being. I wanted to know more about their health, so I visited a veterinarian in my area. He gave me a few really good tips on reducing their caloric intake and encouraging exercise. Now, I can say that my dogs are truly healthy and energetic. This blog is all about keeping your pets healthy so that you can continue to enjoy their company.