Rawhide for Dogs - Is It a Good Idea

Rawhide for Dogs - Is It a Good Idea

Author WDF Staff


Dogs love chewing; that’s no secret. Dog owners love buying toys for their dogs, and as responsible owners, we need to make sure that chews and chew toys we buy for our dogs are safe. One of the most popular choices is rawhide for dogs. It is marketed as a safe, long-lasting treat that can entertain your dog for hours. There is some truth to that, but before you get this chew for your dog, there are some things you should know and consider.

Rawhide for dogs has a bit of a bad reputation. It can be easily broken down, and tiny pieces can get lodged in the dog’s throat. The one question most dog owners ask is, “Is rawhide bad for dogs?” The answer to that question has layers, and hopefully, we can help you decide whether to buy rawhide for your dog.

Before you decide to buy any type of rawhide, here are some things you should think about to make the best and safest purchase.

Chewing strength and style

The first thing you have to think about is your dog’s chewing style and strength. For example, a Frenchie will have a softer jaw than a Cane Corso, and puppies won’t have the same bite power as adult dogs. Even within a breed, dogs can have different chewing styles. That means that the safety of rawhide will be determined by various factors and characteristics each dog has.

golden-retriever chewing rawhide

Rawhide for dogs is safer if a dog has a softer bite power. Dogs that are enthusiastic and powerful chewers should avoid rawhide. Rawhide for dogs is meant to soften as the dog chews it, and over time, it should break into tiny, easily digestible pieces. Dogs that have powerful jaws can easily break rawhide into large pieces that will not be quickly digested. Those bigger pieces can cause intestinal damage, blockage, and they present a choking hazard.

Rawhide risks

No matter which chews your dog has, it presents various degrees of choking hazard. If you believe your dog might chew through it easily, it would be best to avoid it. Choking is not the only issue. If your dog swallows a bigger piece, it can pierce their intestines and severely damage their GI tract. Another potential issue is blockage and constipation. This issue is rarely fatal but can cause a lot of discomfort to the dog and will require the vet’s attention.

If you want to know more about this issue, check out this article - Constipation in dogs.

The answer to the question “Is rawhide bad for dogs?” would be - it depends. Think about your dog’s age, chewing style, and power. That will help you determine whether or not getting your dog a rawhide chew is a good idea.

dog with rawhide bone

What is rawhide made of?

In recent years, dog owners started being really careful about what their dogs are ingesting and eating. We started carefully choosing our dog’s food, and some of us even decided to prepare their dog’s every meal at home. That is definitely a move in the right direction. Our dogs are part of our families, and they shouldn’t be fed with low-quality ingredients.

One of the biggest issues when it comes to rawhide is questionable ingredients. Rawhide chews that originate in the US are controlled and are generally considered to be of higher quality. However, there aren’t many manufacturers producing them here. One of the first things you need to look for is the “MADE IN” label. Make sure you buy only USA-made rawhide chews. They might be a bit pricier, but the lowered risk and increased safety are priceless.

If you are not sure whether your dog is eating high-quality food, check out this article for our list of recommendations - Best dry dog food.

Main ingredient

Rawhide is made from dried animal skin. That might seem like a safe and natural product. Still, not all manufacturers hold themselves to the highest security standards. Most of these products come from foreign countries like China. Some manufacturers take animal skins directly from the slaughterhouses, where they are treated with salt for preservation. It can take months until raw animal hides come to the place that makes rawhide chews for dogs. Before you give rawhide to your dog, make sure you have thoroughly washed and cleaned it.

rawhide with a treat

Can dogs digest rawhide?

One of the biggest safety concerns when it comes to rawhide for dogs is its digestibility. Rawhide is not easily digestible, and pieces that dogs ingest will have to pass through their whole digestive tract. Larger pieces will pose a threat, so make sure your dog really breaks rawhide into tiny bits before they ingest it.

If you notice your dog is destroying the rawhide chew you gave them, it would be best to take it from them before they ingest a larger piece that could harm them. Larger rawhide pieces can cause intestinal damage, but they can also last a long time in the dog’s stomach. Once they stay there, undigested, they can cause different stomach upsets and issues.

However, dogs that take their time chewing rawhide will have no stomach or digestive issues. Some manufacturers even choose more digestible ingredients. Also, dogs that ingest tiny pieces should have no problems passing those pieces.

In conclusion

Now you know what the issue regarding rawhide is. Make sure you think about all of these things before you decide to give your dog rawhide. The decision about giving rawhide to your dog is entirely yours. However, we would suggest talking to your vet about it. Ask them for their opinion and tell them you are thinking about giving rawhide to your dog.

World Dog Finder team

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