Rawhide for dogs are one of the most popular treats that you can buy for your favorite pet. Not only are they cheap and tasty but they are very durable and offer good value for money. Being an animal product you’ll find that dogs are immediately drawn to it.
As far as your dog is concerned there is nothing better. Rawhide for dogs are tough, chewy and come in a variety of flavors such as beef, chicken, roasted lamb, bacon and even some unusual ones such as peanut butter and mint (for fresher dog breath).
Rawhide treats are safer for your dog than chewing on plastic toys. Whilst pet toys may look cute they are likely to contain harmful toxins and pose problems if swallowed.
Rawhide is basically the hide of an animal, normally cattle, that has not undergone the tanning process that is used to produce leather. All fur, fat and meat is removed from the beef-hide before it is laid out to dry, the inner layer is then stripped for use in rawhide chews. Whilst wet it is easily shaped to produce dog bones, braided donuts, rolls, ties or twists.
Rawhide Chews – The Good and Bad
Like most things in life, there are always pros and cons and rawhide is no different. Lets take a look at some of the main discussions concerning rawhide dog treats.
The Benefits of Rawhide for Dogs
There are many benefits to giving your dog a rawhide chew. Firstly it is natural for a dog to want to chew as it relieves stress and boredom but it also has many health benefits. Chewing strengthens the jaw and helps to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, keeping the gums healthy.
It can be considered a useful training aid as it prevents your dog from chewing on your expensive furniture and allows them to associate chewing only with the treats.
Raw hide is more durable than leather and being less water resistant means that it will quickly soften when exposed to water or saliva. Therefore it doesn’t splinter or form sharp edges that may cause internal damage should it be ingested.
There are several factors to take into account when buying rawhide sticks to ensure that you get the best quality.
Issues with Rawhide Bones
Many rawhide treats are made in Asia from animal hides that come from America. Because of the time taken in transporting the hides across the World certain chemicals are added to stop the hides from rotting. American hides are often used as they are thick and of very high quality but to get the full benefits you should try to purchase rawhides chews that are also made in the U.S.A. This is because the hides are normally frozen before being sent to the factory so they are free of many of these chemical additives.
The thicker American hides are less likely to break apart when being chewed. Cheaper rawhide chews are sometimes produced by compressing smaller bits of hide together. This type is more likely to break off and cause intestinal problems for your animal.
When choosing a rawhide bone you need to consider the size of your dog. You don’t want you pet to be able to break off bits and get to the point where they can ingest the whole chew as there is always a chance that this will cause an internal obstruction as they are not easily digestible.
So if you have a large dog then you are probably best off getting a very long chew. That way it’ll take longer for it to get to the point that they can swallow the whole thing. Try to avoid chews made from compressed rawhide or from several small pieces rolled together. You should also be careful of the knotted rawhide bones as sometimes you’ll find that the knots are actually seperate pieces which will easily detach and be swallowed by your pet.
For a small dog it is also advisable to go for a long chew although not as big as that used for a large dog. If you consider giving rawhide to puppies then you should be careful as they do not get their permanent teeth until four months old and their is a possibility that it could break their little teeth. So for puppies it may be better to give Bully Sticks.
Dried Pig ears for dogs can be very brittle and are known to shatter into sharp shards that can pose a risk to your dog.
Remember that the best rawhide for dogs are long and made from single pieces of rolled thick rawhide. For the best quality you should buy American rawhide for dogs.
There are rawhide alternatives for dogs, such as natural dog chews and treats such as Bully Sticks. The difference between Rawhide and Bully Sticks is that Bully sticks are made from the beef of the cow rather than the hide, normally the penis of a Bull which some people may find a little off putting.
If you decide to choose rawhide for dogs then you should always supervise your pet whilst it is chewing and remove the stick before they are able to ingest it.