Dangers of rawhide chews
Learn about rawhide chews and the danger it could pose to your pet’s health. This chewing device could pose choking hazards and more.
Rawhide is probably the most popular type of chewing device that dogs enjoy. Go to any pet supply store or any store that sells pet supplies and you will find an abundance of rawhide chews in every size, shape and color. Unfortunately, some types of rawhide could be dangerous for your pet. Learn about rawhide dangers and how you can prevent any unnecessary harm to your dog.
Any dog owner knows how much puppies and adult dogs chew. They chew on slippers, carpet, furniture, walls, etc. To prevent the ultimate destruction of their homes, they run out and buy gobs of chew toys for their dogs. A large percentage of what they buy will be rawhide.
WHAT IS RAWHIDE?
Rawhide is literally the outside of a cow – the skin. It provides dogs with a satisfying chewing experience and it’s cheap and easy to find. So how can it be dangerous?
Dr. John Wedeking, an Iowa veterinarian, remembers hearing about rawhide in the news.
“Reports of arsenic contamination popped up in papers once,” he says, but adds that it came from another country.
Since rawhide is not regulated in any way, it could happen again. These foreign hides may also contain other detrimental things such as antibiotics, lead, or insecticides that could adversely affect the health of your dog.
Wedeking adds that dogs can easily choke on it when the original large rawhide object is chewed down to a smaller piece.
“Choking is a hazard, and rawhide can cause gastric irritation when dogs chew on it often,” he says. Wedeking adds that gastric irritation can also cause vomiting and extreme discomfort in dogs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you’re going to give your dog rawhide, then offer it in limited quantity, and throw away the small chewed-down pieces. Consider the pressed rawhide that is made up of tiny pieces of rawhide and “glued” together with a gelatin base. Always watch your dog carefully for any adverse reactions.
Choose rawhide made in the United States to make sure your dog isn’t getting anything potentially dangerous. The better brands cost a little more but worth every penny if you consider the cost of veterinarian bills and a sick pet. Choose rawhide bones and other shapes in proportion to the size of your dog to prevent choking.
There are also wonderful alternatives to rawhide. Pet supply stores are everywhere, and carry many diverse alternatives including vegetable and meat-flavored bones made from potato starch, bones made from extremely strong rubber infused with flavorings, and corn-starch based bones also infused with flavor. All of these but the rubber ones break apart into tiny pieces while being chewed. Once they are chewed down to a small piece that your dog could swallow, discard it. All of these bones except for the rubber-based ones are easily digestible.
Offer your dog a variety of chewing alternatives and choose them responsibly. Your pet may thank you by forgetting about your furniture and your slippers…and your favorite chair…and the toilet paper roll…
Written by Jennifer Campbell – © 2002 Pagewise