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Home » 5 Things You Should Know about Rawhide for Dogs

5 Things You Should Know about Rawhide for Dogs

Dog with raw hide bone dangling from mouth

Anyone who’s come home to a destroyed pair of shoes, knows that dogs love to chew. It’s an instinctual behavior, which begins when they are puppies, exploring their environment. Dogs love to chew throughout their life, and it’s good for them, as it helps them clean their teeth, provides stimulation, and even helps them deal with stress. Rawhide has long been a cheap way to satisfy that urge, but this is one of those practices that is overdue for retirement. Here are five things you should know about rawhide for dogs, including some healthy alternatives:

(full-text view below slideshow)

Rawhide is leather, not meat…

Rawhide is leather, not meat…

Rawhide among other leather goods

Rawhide is leather, not meat…

Rawhide is leather, not meat…

A lot of people think rawhide is a meat byproduct, but it’s really a leather byproduct. It’s the inside part of the skin that is discarded in the tanning (e.g., leather-making) process.

There’s nothing raw about rawhide…

There’s nothing raw about rawhide…

Various chemicals in lab equipment with a rawhide bone resting on a Petri dish

Nothing raw about rawhide…

Nothing raw about rawhide…

In fact rawhide is a highly processed product. First the hair and fat are removed with ash-lye or sodium sulphide. Then the rawhide is split from the leather using more chemicals. Then the rawhide is cleaned and whitened using bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or even formaldehyde. Then to make it palatable for dogs, dyes and artificial flavorings are added. Oh, and along the way there are numerous chemical preservatives, especially if it’s being imported. Bone-appetit!

Choking & blockage risk…

Choking & blockage risk…

Xray of a dog with a blockage due to consuming a large piece of rawhide

Choking & blockage risk…

Choking & blockage risk…

Even “well made” rawhide is potentially hazardous. The chewing and saliva eventually soften the rawhide until pieces can be torn off and swallowed. This can be a choking hazard particularly for a small dog. Rawhide is an indigestible material, and it has to be passed intact. If the dog can’t pass it, it can cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including blockages that can require life-saving surgery.

Contamination risk…

Contamination risk…

Possibly contaminated rawhide bones

Contamination risk…

Contamination risk…

Rawhide will spoil without preservatives. Toxic contamination can occur from spoilage or the introduction of unintended chemicals during processing. There’s also the risk of unscrupulous suppliers using banned preservatives. In June of 2017 a major supplier of rawhide had to recall 10 brands of rawhide products, due to contamination.

Where’s the Beef?

Where’s the Beef?

Horse Cow or Dog? What is your rawhide made from?

Where’s the beef?

Where’s the beef?

Rawhide is generally made from cows’ skin, but it can also come from horses. Oh, and there’s a hard-to-verify report, attributed to the Humane Society International, that slaughtered dogs have been secretly used for rawhide products that are used in the United States.

Healthy alternatives to rawhide…

A selection of healthy all-natural treats and chews for dogs

Healthy alternatives to rawhide…

Today, there a number of healthy, all natural alternatives to rawhide. Click here for information on bully sticks, beef trachea, beef tendons, beef ligaments, beef hearts, duck feet, and other products that your dog will love to chew!

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Looking for a natural, healthy alternative to rawhide, made in the U.S.A.? Click here!


Full text below…

5 Things You Should Know about Rawhide for Dogs

Anyone who’s come home to a destroyed pair of shoes, knows that dogs love to chew. It’s an instinctual behavior, which begins when they are puppies, exploring their environment. Dogs love to chew throughout their life, and it’s good for them, as it helps them clean their teeth, provide stimulation, and even deal with stress. Rawhide has long been a cheap way to satisfy that urge, but this one of those practices that is overdue for retirement.

Rawhide is leather, not meat…

A lot of people think rawhide is a meat byproduct, but it’s really a leather byproduct. It’s the inside part of the skin that is discarded in the tanning (e.g., leather-making) process.


There’s nothing raw about rawhide…

In fact rawhide is a highly processed product. First the hair and fat are removed with ash-lye or sodium sulphide. Then the rawhide is split from the leather using more chemicals. Then the rawhide is cleaned and whitened using bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or even formaldehyde. Then to make it palatable for dogs, dyes and artificial flavorings are added. Oh, and along the way there are numerous chemical preservatives, especially if it’s being imported. Bone-appetit!


Risk of choking & blockages…

Even “well made” rawhide is potentially hazardous. The chewing and saliva eventually soften the rawhide until pieces can be torn off and swallowed. This can be a choking hazard particularly for a small dog. Rawhide is an indigestible material, and it has to be passed intact. If the dog can’t pass it, it can cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including blockages that can require life-saving surgery.


Risk of Contamination…

Rawhide will spoil without preservatives. Toxic contamination can occur from spoilage or the introduction of unintended chemicals during processing. There’s also the risk of unscrupulous suppliers using banned preservatives. In June of 2017 a major supplier of rawhide had to recall 10 brands of rawhide products, due to contamination.


Where’s the Beef?

Rawhide is generally made from cows’ skin, but it can also come from horses. Oh, and there’s a hard-to-verify report, attributed to the Humane Society International, that slaughtered dogs have been secretly used for rawhide products that are used in the United States.


Healthy alternatives to rawhide…

Today, there a number of healthy, all natural alternatives to rawhide. Click here for information on bully sticks, beef trachea, beef tendons, beef ligaments, beef hearts, duck feet, and other products that your dog will love to chew! Learn more!

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4 responses to “5 Things You Should Know about Rawhide for Dogs”

  1. Just ordered your beef Trachea. I haven’t used rawhide in many years, after learning it wasn’t digestible and didn’t want it hurting my dogs health. She doesn’t get many treats, due to “store bought” dog biscuits, bones that splinter etc, also weight gain if too many treats. I’m hoping to try a variety of your treats, starting with the Trachea. Thanks for offering an healthy alternative

  2. I have not given my dogs raw hide for years after one of my dogs was trying to poop a long strip of undigested raw hide just wouldn’t come out. I pulled it out and never gave them raw hide again. Should be a law against even selling it to animal owners who don’t know of the dangers of the horrible product.

  3. my 10 year old labradoodle, 45 pounds, has eaten thousands of raw turkey necks over the years. my other dog ate thousands too. it’s a staple of her diet. being raw, there is no danger to her. every couple months she will vomit a small bone and then eat it. that’s what dogs do. also, her teeth are like chicklets. i use springtime products on her raw mush. older dogs will likely have a hard time adjusting to real, raw necks, but you can always try.

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