There are strong feelings both for and against this type of chew toy for dogs. Find out how to let your pet enjoy his rawhide, without risking his health or safety right here.
Anyone who's ever owned a puppy knows that chewing is something a puppy just HAS to do! Rawhide dog chews can be wonderful toys if chosen properly and used sensibly.
Whether it's nylabones, rawhide or your best leather pumps, chewing helps relieve the discomfort of teething, develops strong jaws, helps alleviate boredom and reduces stress..... and on top of that, it's just plain fun :)
Although rawhide has had a lot of negative press, and there can be dangers if you choose inferior or inappropriate products, or don't supervise your pet while he's playing with it, it still has tons of play-value and can keep a puppy or dog healthy and entertained for hours at a time.
So, let's take a look at how you can keep your pet safe while letting him have fun too....
There are a whole host of different types of dog bones, chews and toys in the stores today, and rawhide is one of them.
There have been concerns over the safety of rawhide dogs chews and it's a good idea to know a bit about the different types of rawhide available, and the pros and cons of this type of chew toy.
Once you have the facts you can make an informed decision about whether or not to let Fifi loose on that big, knotted bone!
Rawhide is made from the inner layer of a cow's hide. It is cleaned and dried before being cut, rolled, shaped or pressed into one of many different shapes or forms.
Rawhide produced in the USA is not subjected to any chemical treatments that could be bad for your puppy's health. That is not necessarily true of rawhide that is processed in other countries where there have been reports of toxins such as arsenic and chrome being used.
If possible I always recommend buying 'Made in the USA' rawhide products from a reputable manufacturer. The rawhide dog chews I've featured in the right hand column all fit that bill.
The main danger with rawhide dog chews occurs when Fifi is given a chew that she's able rip large chunks out of (if she's small breed puppy even little pieces can be problematic).
If Fifi swallows these pieces they'll be softened by her stomach enzymes and expand. Once that happens there's a possibility that one, or more, pieces could get stuck in her digestive system and create a blockage which requires surgery.
There are different varieties of rawhide dog chews available - rolled, compressed, granulated or cut. Each type varies in texture, appearance and hardness and comes in several different sizes. Some are flavored, colored or bleached.
What type you choose depends on whether you have a small, dainty chewer; a mid-sized averagely enthusiastic chewer; or a large, aggressive chewer.
One of the most important things you can do to help Fifi enjoy
her rawhide dog chews, is to match the right type of chew with her
If you choose the right type of rawhide dog chew and match it to Fido's chewing style, you've made a good start.
But there's more to rawhide
safety than that.....
One other thing I'd like to mention are the flavor-basted variety of rawhide dog chews. The compressed rawhide is generally left unflavored, but several other kinds come with the option of added flavor basting.
This has both pros and cons.......
Your pup will probably enjoy it, but the basting is usually highly colored (artificial coloring, especially red can cause allergies) and gets pretty sticky once your little ones tongue has licked it greedily.
The basting then has a tendency to get all over both your pet and your floor, carpet, his bed (or your bed) etc. Not what everyone wants to see!
And of course, you want to wonder about what's IN that coloring/flavoring. Many chemicals, some of them harmful, are used by some manufacturers.
And don't think that a snowy-white, un-flavored rawhide is perfectly free of addititives though! Often bleaches and other chemicals are used to remove the natural, pale-tan coloring from rawhide and to render it 'sanitized white' - these are not safe either.
Rawhide dog chews can provide a good opportunity for your puppy to indulge her desire to chew, and if you choose the right variety and match it to her chewing style, as well as giving adequate supervision it can be a safe and enjoyable toy.
But of course, whether or not to allow Fifi to have rawhide chews/toys is a personal decision, and only you can decide what you're comfortable with. If you decide to say "yes" to rawhide follow the above guidelines.
If you choose not to go that route there are plenty of other options out there.
You can get tips on picking the best toys for a puppy who's teething on my Puppy Teething Toys page (and also get access to pages of the best and safest choices).
And check out my Indestructible Dog Toys page to see a great selection of some of the toughest dog toys on the market!