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The Facts of Rawhide: How To Choose the Healthiest Chew For Your Dog

Posted by Ryan Tanner on

The Facts of Rawhide: How To Choose the Healthiest Chew For Your Dog

We may have heard people finding alternatives to rawhide for their dogs, and trying to avoid rawhide products. For good reason. Rawhide has been shown to be unhealthy and a risk to dog’s health, and such products should be avoided, due to chemical additives. 

There is a lot of information flying around, and we wanted to sit down and give you the facts, so you could get the best treats for your dog.



What Is Rawhide?

Rawhide is the hide from cows or horses. It comes from the inner layer of the skin. It is the leftover of the leather industry. The hides are processed and pressed into chewable dog treats, of all sorts. Often they have added flavors to make them more appealing for dogs.

Dogs love chew toys. That is a natural instinct for dogs, and is a healthy outlet for energy and helps to keep their mouth and teeth healthy and clean. We all know that (such as that lost pair of sneakers we found chewed up under the bed…). Rawhide is meant to be a cheaper, long-lasting chew that breaks down into smaller pieces over time.

To get from cattle to dog treat form, the rawhide is processed in chemicals, cleaned in water, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide, and dried. Sometimes they are smoked for added flavoring.

Often the hides of animals come from overseas, is processed several times in briney water or other chemicals to preserve it and strip the hair & fat from the skin, sometimes bleached, and is a very highly treated product before reaching the shelf of the pet store as a perfectly shaped “bone”.

Choking hazards with rawhide

Rawhides are intended to be a long-lasting treat for your dog which when chewed will break down into very small pieces over time. However, what is often the case, especially if your dog is a strong chewer, is your dog will gnaw off large chunks. This poses a choking hazard. These larger chunks broken off can cause choking. Or, if successfully swallowed by your dog, can cause intestinal blockage, since they are not easily digested.

 If your dog is a strong chewer and generally breaks down hard toys with ease, you may want to look for alternatives to satisfy their urge.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your dog or puppy when giving them a new treat, and make sure they don’t cause risks to themselves by unintentionally swallowing bits or pieces they shouldn’t. 


Chemical additives posing potential health risks

Because of the curing process performed on animal skins in the leather industry, as well as the preservatives applied, many chemicals can be used in producing rawhide which are not healthy. Some rawhide chews may have additives like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, preservatives, adhesives, and artificial colorings and flavors that your dog may react to adversely.

For any health-conscious dog owner, this can be alarming, and for good reason. These harsh chemicals can cause many problems if not watched in the future health and happiness of your pet.

Not all rawhide products are created equal, however. You can check and verify the chemical additives or find rawhide products which do not contain harsh chemicals.

The better, natural alternative

Our suggestion is to pick natural products, straight from the animal, just as mother nature intended it. Not treated or processed. It is easier to be safe than to be sorry. Picking single-ingredient products with no additives is an easy solution you can’t go wrong with.

Choosing great, natural treats, coupled with supervision to ensure your dog doesn’t chew down something they shouldn’t, is a sure-fire way to have a happy, healthy dog.

That is why we at Brutus and Barnaby source only the best with our all natural chew products. If you want a chew for your dog that is a great outlet for his or her passion for gnawing, we suggest our premium Brutus and Barnaby Bully Sticks.