The Rawhide Controversy

Like finding the best dog food, the controversy over rawhide has sent me Googling.

I have read a lot of articles about the concerns with rawhide.  My vet sent me researching again after giving us free samples of rawhide.  He gave us 2 C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews. This is what I found out about C.E.T. when I looked online.

C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews, features the exclusive Dual Enzyme System, are made from select beefhide to combine a natural antiseptic plus abrasive action for clinically proven plaque control.

Product of Mexico, MDF for and dist. in USA

I don’t love that it is a product of Mexico.  I have read that “made in the USA” containing only “USA beef hide” is the only rawhide you should buy.  “Select beefhide” is a little vague.

The problems a dog can suffer when they chew rawhide include digestive problems and choking.

Of course there are lots of sites that list the benefits of chew toys, which include rawhide.  A dog’s behavior benefits from chewing because they have an outlet for a natural desire & need to chew.  Chews also help to keep a dog’s teeth clean and breath fresh.

The rawhide risks still worry me.  But, Sadie LOVES them and has not had any digestive problems.

She has an intense need to chew.  She is teething and still has her baby teeth.  Chewing is good for her mental & physical health.  We do have a number of rubber chew toys that she likes and chews on, but not nearly as enthusiastically as rawhide.

Chew toys save our fingers!

and shoes!  Sadie likes to pretend my slippers are a stuffed animal.  Ah, not ok.  🙂

I am currently letting Sadie enjoy her free rawhide.  I’m not sure I will buy more.  I only let her chew them under my direct supervision.  I only let her chew it for 30-45 minutes, once a day.

If you let your dog chew rawhide, you should make sure you pick the correct size & shape for your breed.  Our vet recommends the flat strips because the knots on the round chewies are a choking hazard.   He also likes flat over rolled because rawhide can swell and expand in the stomach if ingested.  He said that a rolled piece, swallowed, can block the intestine more than a flat piece.  {Not sure I feel any better about swallowed flat pieces.}

All of the literature recommends buying USA beef hide.  Foreign hide can have a lot of risky chemicals on the hide that are bad for your dog’s health.

I also discovered that compressed rawhide is safer than traditional rawhide because of how it is produced.  It is a denser, tougher bone.

Two final recommendations.  Do not let your dog enjoy the rawhide for more than 2 hours of chewing a day, to decrease the risks of digestive upset.  And, for dogs that take a while to finish one rawhide, throw out after a week of chewing, due to dirt & bacteria.

Take the bull by the horns!


6 thoughts on “The Rawhide Controversy

  1. Ah puppy teething. Remember those days well. One thing we did was to freeze some of the pup’s rubber toys to help with teething. Storm’s chewing lasted way beyond the puppy days. Wood was a particular favorite with her. Not OK just like your slippers. 🙂

  2. Laura – we buy the busy bones or the greenies. Those seem to be a little safer. A rawhide is a “special treat” he gets on his birthday. She is super cute, thanks for sharing.

    • Daisy loved the busy bones, too! But… they made her fat! 🙂 I gave one to her every morning before we went to work. She loved it, but after her first birthday, the vet said she needed to go on a diet! ops. Apparently, they have like a days worth of calories! But…maybe just to get Sadie ok with being alone?!? :)-

  3. We used to get pressed rawhides for Oscar. Because they were pressed, they were more durable so he couldn’t chew off as much, so the choking hazard was smaller. I was still really nervous about them though, so now we get him bully sticks and no rawhides. Bully sticks are digestible, because they’re not hide, and they don’t break off in chunks like rawhides can. Some brands are smellier than others though! We give him Greenies right now, but I think we may stop because he has started practically inhaling them rather than chewing them. We’ve also just bought him an antler to chew on. It’s not as tempting because it doesn’t smell as much as a bully stick, but he’ll gnaw on it every once in a while. We’ve got a crazy chewer too!

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