Monday, October 24, 2011

Are Rawhide Chews Safe For Your Dog?

Most dogs love to chew on rawhides but you may have heard people questioning whether they are safe or not. It’s a good question.

There have been concerns in recent years because some rawhide products were imported from China and other countries where safety protocols were not followed in manufacturing the rawhides. Salmonella was connected to the rawhides. This was probably more of a hazard to humans handling the rawhides than to your dog, but there were recalls. However, no American-made products were involved.

As far as the safety of allowing your dog to chew on rawhides, there is very little danger involved in allowing a dog to chew on rawhide products. In fact, a major medical school in the U.S. conducted a laboratory test to see if rawhides would harm dogs. Even in dogs which had rawhides three times per day they had no ill effects.

Dogs can chew on rawhide and the parts that they chew pass through their digestive tract without any problem. It’s always possible that they may pull off some small fragment of rawhide and they could choke on it, but the chances of that happening are similar to you choking on a piece of food. Of course it’s possible, but if it happened it would be a fluke. Still, for this reason, it’s always recommended that you should not leave your dog with rawhides to chew on without supervision.

When your dog chews on a piece of rawhide to the point where it is soft and gummy, you may want to take it away from him, at least for a while. You can get him to do something else or give him a fresh rawhide. Some people put these chewed on rawhides up so they can dry out and harden. Then they can give them back to their dog later once they are hard again.

If you are uncomfortable with giving your dog rawhides to chew on then you may want to look into Nylabones which are hard bones for chewing made from hard plastic. They also have edible chews in flavors that appeal to dogs. There are many other kinds of bones that satisfy a dog’s urge to chew.
Some people give their dogs pig ears, but if you are at all concerned about salmonella then you may wish to stay away from pig ears and other products that have been chopped off animals. Even with products from the United States there are occasionally recalls.

If you choose rawhide chews for your dog try to look for chews that are dried without chemicals. Look for unbleached chews. And look for chews that are heavy and thick so that they will last longer.

Your dog will almost certainly love rawhide chews so make the chewing experience safe for him.

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