Rawhides are a common treat of choice for many dog owners. The dog is chewing your walls, the floor, chairs, and everything else he shouldn’t get into. What’s the solution? Give him something tasty to chew on. Here’s why rawhides will never be my choice of chewing distraction.
1. They can be contaminated. We have learned that dogs aren’t as susceptible to common contaminants such as Salmonella and E. Coli as humans are, but you interact with your dog after they eat, right? The dog chews on his rawhide then gives you a nice sloppy kiss. Maybe he won’t have any negative effects, but you might. Young kids are even more likely to contract a disease from a pet. This is one of the reasons raw feeding is so controversial. Rawhides can also be contaminated with dangerous toxins. These toxins can be as deadly as arsenic and formaldehyde.
2. They can cause blockages. One of the scariest potential complications of rawhides is intestinal blockages. A dog’s digestive system isn’t designed to be able to break down rawhides. Therefore, what goes in, comes out. If the swallowed piece isn’t small enough to easily travel through the digestive track, it can cause a blockage. Depending on where the blockage is located, sometimes it can be easily removed through the mouth by a vet. More likely, the dog will need to undergo surgery to have the blockage removed. If it isn’t located in time, the blockage can certainly lead to death.
3. They can irritate the digestive system. Less threatening than blockages, but still harmful to your pet. Rawhides can cause diarrhea in your pet.
4. They can cause your dog to choke. If the piece of rawhide is small enough for your dog to swallow, most likely he will. These pieces can get stuck in their throat and cause your dog to choke.
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1. Bully sticks. These are made from dried beef pizzle. Gross, I know. But dogs dig them. Their smell is enticing (to dogs), they’re highly digestible, and great for their teeth. The downside? For many dogs, they don’t last very long and are pretty expensive.
2. Hard chew toys. Dogs need to chew. That’s a fact. If you don’t offer them an appropriate outlet for their chewing, they’ll eat your sneakers, couch, pillows, and whatever else they can get their paws on. My dogs are power chewers and can shred a bully stick in five minutes. Really helpful in keeping them entertained… We really love giving our dogs Nylabones. They’re not edible, but virtually indestructible. Many of them are flavored to keep dogs interested. Perfect for their teeth and not harmful on their digestive system.
3. Carrots. Unlike humans, the majority of dogs love carrots! Make sure to give them a full size carrot and always supervise while they chow down. Once the piece gets small enough to swallow, remove it as it has become a choking hazard.
4. Deer/Elk antlers. These are a personal favorite. They last a crazy long time, sometimes months! They don’t have the horrid smell of bully sticks. They tend to cause less gastric upset in dogs and are less likely to splinter. Be sure to buy antlers from a quality source to ensure safety!
5. Beef knuckles. Okay, this one is gross to me. Every time we’re in the pet store my dogs drag me right over to the beef knuckles. They get so excited sniffing them, but I just cringe at the thought of giving beef knuckles to my dogs. With that being said, they are a great outlet for chewing. Choose beef knuckles with a small amount of fat on the outside to lessen digestive upset.
Hopefully, you will consider a safer and healthier alternative to rawhides to keep your furry friend busy!