From puppies with their little razor-sharp teeth chewing on your shoes or your finger, to grown dogs chewing on a hearty bone, it’s a well-known fact that dogs love to chew. Most dogs love to chew on rawhide bones and sticks, but you may be wondering whether they are safe or not. It’s a good question.
Watch Out For Imported Rawhides
There have been concerns in recent years because Salmonella has been connected to some rawhide products that were imported from China, and other countries, where safety protocols were not in place in the manufacturing process of the rawhides. This was probably more of a hazard to the humans handling the rawhides than to your dog, but there were recalls. However, no American-made products were involved.
No Ill Effects
As far as the general safety of allowing your dog to chew on rawhides, there is very little danger involved in letting a dog 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. They found no ill effects, even in dogs that had rawhides three times per day.
Dogs can chew on rawhide and pass the chewed up pieces through their digestive tract without any problem. Of course, it’s always possible that they may pull off some small fragment of rawhide and choke on it, but the chances of that happening are similar to you choking on a piece of food. It’s possible, but not likely. Still, for this reason, it’s always recommended that you not leave your dog alone to chew on rawhides 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. Try to interest him in another activity, 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, 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 also many other kinds of bones that satisfy a dog’s urge to chew.
But you do not want to give your dog real chicken bones, rib bones, or any other small bone that can splinter easily – these can become lodged in the digestive tract, cause punctures and tears, and require surgery to remove or even cause death.
Even with the rawhides, if your dog tends to tear of large chunks and swallow them, rather than chewing them, it would be best to not allow them to have rawhides, as large chunks of rawhides, or any object they chew, can become lodged in the dog’s digestive system and cause problems.
Some people give their dogs pig ears, but if you are at all concerned about salmonella then you may want to stay away from pig ears and other products that have been chopped off animals. Even with products from the United States, there have been occasional 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, and save your shoes and fingers.