I’m sure everyone has given their pooch a rawhide bone at least once in their life, I’m just as guilty. Over the past few years I’ve learned that I’d rather not offer my dogs rawhides for their chewing needs.
When you look on the ingredients of a rawhide product it literally just says “Rawhide” + flavoring. It’s not specific of the source of hide which is personally my first concern. It can come from any protein source so if your dog has a protein allergy you may be providing your dog with his allergen unknowingly.
The processing part can be the scariest part. If the product comes from outside the U.S. there is a good chance that there are far more chemicals involved in an effort to preserve for exportation. The U.S. transports in refrigerated containers mostly to prevent spoilage.
The beginning of the process involves the product being soaked in an ash-lye solution for hair/far removal. Once finished soaking, the product gets ‘cleaned’ in a chemical solution with water, could be bleach and/or hydrogen peroxide. Some countries are still allowed to even use arsenic (rat poison) and formaldehyde, luckily this process has been banned in the U.S. but could still be in some of our rawhide products if imported.
After cleaning it can be left natural or smoked, along with other artificial flavors added to help encourage the dog to chew.
A dog chewing on a rawhide product, overtime, will soften the hide allowing the dog to tear off little bits to ingest. These little bits should be able to pass through the digestive tract without causing harm but some dogs aren’t patient enough. The dogs who pull off larger pieces are at higher risk of choking or even blockage in digestive tract. The larger the piece the higher chance that the product doesn’t get broken down enough to pass through the gut.
In the end, my major concern is the chemical process with digestion/blockage being a close second.
If you’re looking for a long lasting chew for your dog that has fewer chemicals we highly suggest Bully Sticks!
And as always, dogs should be supervised with a chew.