As puppies and dogs continue to grow older, chewing becomes part of their behaviour as it allows them to explore the world they live in.
In general, there are many different types of chew treats available in the market for your pooch. It’s most likely that most dog owners may have heard about the benefits of rawhide as it can aid teething pups and entertain pooches during the day. Yet, while rawhides remain one of the most common chew treats for dogs, not many know the dangers that come with this popular treat.
In order to understand the dangers of rawhide, one must first understand how it’s manufactured. Most rawhide is made from the tough, inner layer of meat by-products. The flesh inside is scraped clean of all remaining meat, membrane, fat, etc. and is treated with a lime solution to quickly and efficiently remove hair. In order to remove any traces of the lime solution and sanitise the rawhide product effectively, manufacturers will then rinse the hide in a bleach solution.
So, how can the most popular chew treat be dangerous for your pup?
As explained earlier in the manufacturing process of rawhide, most of these treats contain chemical preservatives (arsenic, ethoxyquin, formaldehyde and other chemicals like BHA and BHT), additives (antibiotics, lead and insecticides) and are treated with other chemicals during the processing phase.
Apart from ingesting chemicals, when dogs chew on these treats the likelihood of them chewing and swallowing large pieces of rawhide can be dangerous, as it can get stuck in their oesophagus, stomach, or intestines. This can ultimately be hazardous for the dog’s health as rawhide can swell up to 3-4 times its original size in your dog’s stomach, risking life-threatening blockage complications.
With that said, there are organic rawhides available on the market. The availability of these, however, is another question as organic rawhides are not easily found; most stores still carry chemical treated rawhides for dogs. If you are unsure whether the rawhide offered at your local pet store is organic, opt for other chew toy options for your pup.
If you’d like to substitute rawhide, you can opt for healthier alternatives such as ‘beef chews’ for your pup. In general, beef chews have no preservatives and they are also fat free, which is great for your pooch’s health as most chews contain high amounts of fat. Unlike bones, beef chews do not splinter, thus ensuring the safety of your dog’s gums and teeth. What’s more, beef chews normally have high nutritional value!
There are also other chew alternatives apart from beef chews such as real bones (smoked or raw) or nylon chews which come in many different sizes, shapes and flavours depending on your dog’s breed and size. It’s also good to explore the organic section of your local pet store as more retailers are bringing in alternative organic chews for your pups. By the end of the day, ensuring the health and safety of your pup is what matters the most!