It seems to be everybody’s go-to dog treat: Rawhide.
It’s convenient. It doesn’t make a mess. Your dog seems to like it. But like most pet treats we come across, we don’t seem to know much about it’s nutritional content or even the damage it can potentially cause.
What is Rawhide?
Rawhide is the inner layer of skin from cows and horses. It is treated, processed, and packaged as a chew for dogs.
How is the Rawhide Treated?
Once the hide is removed from the animal, it is soaked in a highly caustic chemical lime solution until most of the hair has come off.
In case that wasn’t disturbing enough; after the hide is removed from the lime solution it is rinsed in bleach. Any of the hair that still remains after this process is then scraped off by hand.
What are the Dangers of Rawhide?
During the drying process, rawhide will shrink down to a quarter of it’s original size which means that when Fido chews off a piece and swallows it, it can swell up to 4 times that size in his stomach. This has been known to cause choking and blockage in many canines and can easily lead to the emergency room.
Also, rawhide is not considered food; therefore it’s not regulated by any labeling or processing laws. You might be able to find some brands of rawhide that aren’t chemically treated but you still have to supervise your dog at all time to keep them from swallowing and potentially chocking. Why take the risk?
Are there Alternatives to Rawhide?
If you want a safe and healthy chew for your critter, your best option is to check out your local pet store. They should carry a variety of dog chews including good quality Bully Sticks, and Shed Deer Antlers. These are fantastic alternatives to rawhide. They are free of chemicals, won’t splinter, will clean your dogs teeth, and will last as long as rawhide!
When you have a secure knowledge of what’s in your pets food you can feel comfortable making the big decision on what to feed them. After all it’s up to us keep our Critters happy and healthy!