Since I was a child, I remember giving my dogs rawhides to keep them busy and as a special treat. Boy did they love them. And boy, did I not! I specifically remember picking up the nasty wet and floppy hide when they were done. Gross! At one time or another, I’m sure as responsible dog owners you have heard one or more story about rawhides being “dangerous” but maybe you don’t believe the hype? After rescuing my own little puppy, I had to learn from scratch about what to feed a dog, how to care for and train ALL ON MY OWN! I didn’t have my parents there to help me. This was MY dog. I had to make my own (smart) choices to provide the best life for him.

After hearing these horror stories about rawhides, I did my own research. Here is what I found: While producing a rawhide treat for a dog, companies go through a process of splitting the animal hide. To remove the hair it is often soaked with toxins known as sodium sulphide liming. A number of other companies will use different processes, but can ultimately lead to a toxic chew for your dog including trace amounts of arsenic and formaldehyde! The chances of your dog dieing from something like arsenic in a rawhide I’m sure is slim, but I thought to myself, “if I were at the grocery store and there was a CHANCE, even the slightest, that my bread or bananas had formaldehyde in them, I would put the product down and walk away immediately!”

Traditional rawhides are also dangerous to dogs because they can become lodged inside – causing choking or even a severe blockage that leads to expensive surgery or in some cases, death. Rawhides can not be digested in dogs, so even if they swallow them, they will not pass through their bodies (this is where the blockages stem from).

I have found a variety of other natural chews at Hungry Hound to give to my little guy. One of our best replacement chews is a Sam’s Yams sweet potato chew. Amazing. We have bully sticks, free-range chews, elk antlers, frozen raw bones and more. All of these alternatives are healthy and better still, stimulate the gums, clean their teeth and keep them busy! You can’t get better than that. Try something new with Fido on your next visit.