We all want the best for our pets. We feed them great foods, take them to the vet regularly, buy them plush beds and fun toys, and give them lots of tasty treats. While these all sound like great things to do for your dog, some can be very risky. This is especially true if the treats you give your dogs contain rawhide.
Some dog owners may not even be aware that they are giving their dog rawhide treats. So, what is rawhide? Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of a cow or horse’s hide. During processing, the rawhide is cleaned and then cut or ground. Next, it is pressed into different shapes such as a bone or a cookie. Some rawhide treats are flavored to taste like chicken, beef, or liver. Or, they might be dyed different colors, like red or green, to make them more appealing to pet parents like you. But what makes a rawhide so dangerous?
Many rawhide treats are laced with harmful chemicals. Nasty things like sodium tripolyphosphate are used to clean the rawhide during processing, and hydrogen peroxide is often used to make the rawhide bright white. As previously mentioned, many rawhides are dyed. These dyes are proven to cause health problems in people as well as our pets. Rawhide treats are also frequently braided or twisted into “cute” designs (like candy canes around Christmas time), which requires adhesive to keep its shape! You’d never let your children eat glue, would you?
Rawhide treats are designed to be long lasting. They are meant to be chewed and chewed until very small pieces come off and your dog eats them. Small pieces of rawhide can be digested, but not easily. If your dog is a hard-core chewer, rawhides are especially dangerous. If large chunks of rawhide are swallowed, your dog is facing the risk of choking, or of a blockage in their stomach. Both of these things are life threatening. Even if the rawhide does not cause a blockage, it can sit in your dog’s stomach for months causing various other gastrointestinal problems.
There are plenty of other options on the market for a tasty, fun, safe treat for your pets. Great alternatives include bully sticks, pig ears, tracheas, or other natural chews. Rawhides pose risks that no pet owner should feel comfortable taking. At Wag Atlanta, we say NO to rawhide!
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