From The Expert

Rawhide: Expert Opinions


Feelings run high when it comes to giving your dog rawhide treats. I recently shared a video on one of the cockapoo Facebook groups I follow; it had originally been posted by someone who felt it important to highlight the negative manufacture of rawhide in China and it was interesting to read the feedback.

Most just wanted to discover something that offered their dogs the same pleasure as a rawhide chew, but were struggling to find anything that came close; they found the healthier alternatives expensive and often ineffective. Others were supportive of rawhide products, had been using them for years, and had never had any issues with giving it to their dogs.

When you consider the size of the rawhide market, it would certainly appear that owners are either unaware or unconcerned around any issues related to the product. The way rawhide is sold through pet shops, supermarkets, etc – either loose or packaged – gives a novice like me no reason to suppose it could be harmful to our pet.

The Power of Branding

As a PR and Marcoms specialist, I well understand the power of branding and packaging products, but the pet industry takes some beating. When you read the promotional blurb it’s obvious pet food is designed to appeal to the dog owner – after all they are the consumer. Here are just some of the ingredients taken from some packs reviewed as ‘The best UK dog food brands of 2018’. They could be definitely be extracts from the recipes of top chefs!

 “grain free…enhanced with salmon oil, sweet potato, eggs, fruits, vegetables and seaweed”

“stinging nettle, fennel, caraway, chamomile, parsnip, chard, celery, chicory, parsley roots

brown whole grain rice, ground sea fish and sweet potato

whole salmon, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, Butternut squash, Imperator carrots, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, Red Delicious apples, Bartlett pears, Red Heart plums, Tilton apricots

What is Rawhide?

Rawhide chews are made from the inner layer of the hide of any hoofed animal; lamb and beef are the most popular in the UK, with red deer, rabbit and goatskins on the increase. The tougher outer layer is used for clothing, accessories and furniture manufacturer.

Medical Advice

I was not able to find any formal medical information proffered by UK vets, only those in America, so have included the advice from the American Kennel Club. They believe the safety of any rawhide depends on three main factors:

🐾 Your dog’s chewing style;
🐾 The ingredients; and
🐾 Your dog’s digestibility.

Please visit their website for elaboration.

The Dangers

The primary dangers reported by dog owners and vets are the fact that rawhide can be a choking a hazard, cause a digestive blockage – wrapping around your dog’s intestines – and the fact that over ingestion of too many rawhides can cause gastrointestinal complications.

The Positives

Rawhide chews can help remove plaque build up, diminish bad breath, keep teeth whiter, gums healthy and lessen the risk of dental problems. However, vets believe the best thing for your dog’s teeth is daily brushing!

It can deter your dog from chewing items in your home, help with teething pain and developing strong jaws. It also stimulates the mind, relieving boredom, although experts stress it should not be a substitute for exercise and affection.

In Summary

The decision to offer our dogs rawhide is down to us. The primary expert advice is to ensure you read the label, if it doesn’t tell you all you need to know it could have something to hide (no pun intended of course).

Further reading

Wholesome Rawhide
All About Rawhide/FAQs

Canine Journal
Rawhide Bones: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Dangerous

Why Some Dog Treats Can Be Dangerous
Serious concerns about many popular brands of dog treats

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