The holidays are right around the corner and many folks will be getting new puppies that need something to chew on, or already have a seasoned dog that likes a holiday chew toy / present!

Unfortunately, there are many chews out there that are very bad for our dogs. The most common is RAWHIDE chews. Let’s take a look at how these are made:
Step 1:  Rawhide is actually leather (hide), mostly from cows. It is cut from the cow at the slaughter house.
Step 2: adding chemicals for preservation (to prevent spoiling) for transportation to the tannery.
Step 3: At the Tannery the hide has all fat, meat, and hair stripped using harsh chemicals such as lime / sodium sulphide, etc in a tumbler.
Step 4: The hide is cleaned using a solution of hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and/or formaldehyde.
Step 5: The hide is cut into many different shapes, including a “bone” shape to look more appealing
Step 6: Glue is often applied to the Rawhide so it keeps it’s shape as it dries
Step 7: If the hides are off-color they can be smoked, basted, or tinted (painted) with more chemicals to hide the color that is underneath.
Step 8: Synthetic flavoring is added to some Rawhides to make it more palatible.
Step 9: Stores sell them at a MUCH cheaper cost than natural chew bones / treats, making them more enticing to unknowing dog owners.

Other key points are:

  • Most Rawhides come from overseas / other countries where there are no regulations on chemicals.  If Rawhide does come from the USA there are no FDA regulations since it’s “just leather”
  • Rawhides can easily be choked on as dogs often chew off very large pieces that get stuck in the throat, intestines, or anal cavity… which can require life saving surgeries.

What we recommend:

  • RAW bones (not smoked, basted, or cooked… they can splinter very easily).  If your dog is a “scarfer” make sure the bone is large enough that they can’t swallow.
  • For aggressive chewers or dogs with very strong jaws we recommend raw knuckle bones.  These are a bit softer than a femur bone for example and lessen the chance of your dog breaking a tooth.
  • For soft / regular chewers antlers are a great option.  These are very hard but absolutely natural. Also, a Kong (as long as they aren’t aggressive chewers that can destroy them) filled with peanut butter, pumpkin, or frozen broth in the summer is a great option.
  • Nyla-Bones are ok as the pieces that come off are usually very small and can be passed easily, however if the dog can break large pieces off it’s a no-no!
  • Hooves are a no-no.  Hooves are very sharp, or become very sharp and can splinter easily.

As always, if you have any questions we are always here to help make sure your dog stays happy, healthy, and obedient!

Erik Sizemore
Owner / Head Trainer