Rawhide for Dogs: Is it Safe?
Rawhide chews and rawhide bones are pretty popular among dogs. Sales for both products have only been going up in the last few years. Keep in mind that not all rawhide products are suitable for your dog. Rawhide may not be as innocent as you think. Before you provide these chew toys to your pets at home, it is essential to know about their potential hazards and how to prevent them.
Pet owners enjoy watching their dog chew happily on rawhide, so they are enticed to buy more. Make sure that you don't fall into the trap of a happy dog dog; it's vital to do some research to ensure that these are not just fun, but safe.
At Dope Dog, we value research before giving your dog anything to eat or play with. Here’s a little bit more information about the benefits and potential risks of rawhide.
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Is rawhide bad for dogs?
Generally speaking, rawhide dog chews and bones are not harmful to your dog because most of them are smaller in size. However, if you provide your dog with larger rawhide treats, there is always a risk of choking or blockage. In addition to that, rawhide treats from disreputable or unknown companies are more likely to be contaminated.
You have seen plenty of dogs consuming rawhide, so what's the issue?
Yes, you are right, but the secret lies in choosing the right rawhide bones and treats for your dogs. We will go into detail to help you understand how and when you can give rawhide treats to your dog.
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Benefits of rawhide
There are plenty of benefits of rawhide treats and bones for your dog. We will go into some of these benefits below.
• Dental benefits:
Rawhide treats and chews work as a dental exercise for your dog. First, they sink their teeth into the rawhide chew and then pull it away. This repeated action helps to exercise their gums. It also helps them clean their teeth.
At the same time, this repeated action helps the dog convert treats and chews into small food particles. As a result, it is easy for them to digest rawhide.
• Satisfy habits:
Most dogs have a habit of chewing. If they cannot find anything to chew on, they will destroy your furniture, shoes, and bed. By providing them with rawhides, you will satisfy their cravings and keep them entertained for hours. This trick will keep the dog happy and diffuse their extra energy.
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• Keeps the dog entertained:
While this benefit might not be related to rawhide consumption, it produces the same results. When you give a rawhide chew to your dog, the dog will keep on biting it and chewing it for a long time. As a result, your dog will remain occupied and entertained for hours. When dogs have to sit throughout the day, it can get pretty dull for them. But with the help of a simple treat or chew, it will become easy for them to stay occupied.
• Reduces the pain:
Puppies go through a period of toothache or teething. This is where the gums are swollen, and they have an innate urge to chew to reduce the pain. If you give Fido rawhide treats, it can help them reduce teeth pain. They will remain comfortable during the teething phase.
• Helps your dog get fresh breath:
When your dog bites the rawhide, the hard texture of the bone will repeatedly come in contact with the surface of the teeth. Because of this, the tartar or plaque build-up on the teeth will come away.
With that in mind, chewing rawhide can get rid of your pet’s stinky breath. That means you will not have to resort to any other products to freshen the dog's breath.
These are just a handful of benefits of rawhide for your dog.
Related: Dog Diarrhea: Causes and Treatments
Are there any risks?
Every dog owner wants to know if rawhide poses any risk to their pet. There are some risks involved with the rawhide, but you can prevent them by following a few tips. Before we go into methods of prevention, let us look at the risks involved.
If the rawhide treats or bones are not correctly processed or sterilized, it can lead to contamination. Even the dog owner might be at risk of contamination from bacteria in rawhide chews and treats.
• Digestive irritation:
If your dog has a sensitive and delicate digestive system, then rawhide can cause a problem. It can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. Some dogs are also allergic to it, and in that case, it is best to keep these chews away from your dog.
• Choking hazard:
If you do not choose the rawhide treats appropriately, there is a risk of choking. Because of this, you need to be pretty picky when it comes to the rawhide for dogs.
You need to understand that the choking probability is higher than even contamination or infection. If the dog does not chew the treat or bone, then that is a problem. If the dog swallows large pieces of rawhide whole, it can lead to obstruction or choking. In that case, you might need to visit a vet. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure that it is safe for them.
These are the three main risks involved when it comes to giving rawhide to your dog. We will now give you insights on steps that you need to take to avoid these problems for your dog.
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Can you protect your dog against these risks?
The answer is yes. To a large extent, you can protect your dog against these risks. We will highlight some ideas below.
1. Choosing the best brands:
The first step which you can undertake is to go with a reputable brand when you're buying rawhide treats. It will ensure that they are carefully processed and consist only of sterilized and safe ingredients. Even when you're going with the best brands, there are a few tips that you should follow. These include:
- Go through the ingredients listed carefully before choosing the rawhide treats.
- Read the warnings mentioned on the label of the product before purchasing.
- Look at the expiration date and the manufacturing date of the treats.
- Go through the recommended instructions and usage before buying the rawhide treats.a
2. Limit the frequency:
It is also essential to limit the frequency that your dog consumes these treats and chews. That means not giving the rawhide to Fido every single day. When you limit their intake, it decreases the risk of digestive problems. Also, the portion size of the treat matters. The smaller the treat, the better and safer it is for your dog. With that in mind, it's best to choose rawhide that is smaller in size and also easier to bite.
3. Choosing the treat with the right form factor:
With the help of the above two tips, you will be able to avoid the risks that we have highlighted earlier. However, the choking hazard remains a major risk factor. You might be wondering what precautions you can take to prevent that.
We will spell out a few.
- You have to carefully read the packaging of the rawhide treat, chew, or bone. If it says that it is a choking hazard, it is advisable to avoid that treat. Sure enough, this would eliminate a lot of rawhide treats, but it is better to progress with caution than to regret it later.
- You have to ensure that the treat or chew that you are choosing for your dog is pretty small. Smaller portions will decrease the risk of choking hazards or any probability of blockage. If you are selecting a rawhide bone, you will have to give that to your dog under your supervision. Only then can you be sure to avoid choking up to a certain extent. If your dog tends to not chew food thoroughly enough, it is better to avoid rawhide bones altogether.
These two tips can help you reduce the risk of choking or blockage up to a certain extent.
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Can rawhide cause problems for some dogs?
The question which dog owners often have is if their dog is more susceptible to rawhide problems as compared to others?
Today, we will let you know which dogs are more susceptible to problems caused by rawhide. If your dog suffers from the following issues regularly, you should keep him away from rawhide treats. These problems include:
- Digestive problems
- Chewing trouble
- Irritable bowel
In case your dog is susceptible to these problems, it is best to keep the rawhide treats, chews, and bones away from them.
How frequently should I give rawhide to my dog?
One question which most dog owners have is - how often you should give your dog rawhide bones?
If your dog likes to chew, you can give them rawhide at least once a day. If you choose the right one, it can last for up to 1 hour. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, you can even increase this frequency to 2 per day.
On the other hand, if the dog does not like to chew, you can limit the rawhide treats or rawhide bones to once every two days. It all depends on what your dog prefers.
If you have a puppy, you can give them a rawhide treat once a day. You need to monitor your puppy to ensure that they do not bite off a large chunk.
Keep in mind that it's best not to give puppies too much rawhide because their digestive system might not be able to handle it. Gradually increase the frequency to see if they are adapting to it. Once they are comfortable with digesting the bone, then it will be easier to feed your dog rawhide without causing any damage to their health.
When you stick to the frequency which we have advised above, it will become effortless for you to ensure that rawhide is perfect and not harmful for your dog.
In case you're wondering, is rawhide bad for your dogs? The answer is - it depends on your pet. As long as you take extra precautions and consider your dog’s eating habits, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you increase the frequency or do not pay proper attention to the rawhide treats that you are choosing, then it can be a problem for your dog.
With the right guidance and quality rawhide bone, your canine companion will be wagging his tail.
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Please note that this article does not intend to provide medical advice. Go to your pet’s veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and medical information.