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Are Rawhides Bad for Dogs? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Brindled hound with a rawhide bone_Will Hughes_shutterstock

While rawhide is a typical dog chew option, it may not always be the best choice for your canine. Rawhide is made out of the inner layers of cow and horse hides. It is cleaned and then cut, though some companies might also ground it up before molding it into a particular shape. By themselves, these toys are not very flavorful. Because of this, many companies add things like beef and chicken flavoring. We even found some rawhide treats that are peanut butter flavored!

Rawhide treats are commonly considered a safe option for dogs. They are also relatively cheap, which makes them an easy option for most dog owners. Despite this, though, they are not the best option for some dogs. They can be dangerous in some instances. Whether or not rawhide is a good option for your dog depends on their chewing style. So are rawhides bad for dogs and puppies? Let’s dig in to the rawhide pros and cons:

Divider 1Chewing Styles

Some dogs don’t chew much at all. Or, they might chew a lot, but their mouth may be lacking the raw power needed to do some damage. Think about the difference in a Chihuahua’s chewing pattern and a German Shepherd’s chewing pattern, and you’ll see just how vastly different dogs’ chewing strength can be.

French bulldog lying on tiled floor holding rawhide_tienuskin_shutterstock
Image Credit: Tienuskin, Shutterstock

All dogs need to chew. Even if your dog is a soft chewer, you should still give them an appropriate chew toy to tear into. However, which toys are appropriate depends on your dog’s chewing strength.

Dogs with little chewing strength may do fine on rawhides. Rawhides are designed to be long-lasting chews that get soft as your dog chews them. This prevents your dog from choking. However, strong chewers might break a rawhide into pieces, which can be a choking hazard and potentially dangerous. They may even cause a blockage if your dog decides to devour a whole rawhide treat.

They do make larger rawhide treats for this reason. Despite this, some larger dogs can still break this apart quite quickly, which can be dangerous. We highly recommend making sure to choose the right rawhide for your dog if you decide to purchase one.

Simply put, if your dog doesn’t break a rawhide into tiny pieces, it is probably an okay option for them.

Are Rawhides Easily Digestible?

Just because a rawhide is okay to give to your pup doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Overall, rawhide is not easy to digest. That’s why it can be dangerous when broken into small pieces. It can just sit in your pet’s stomach and cause problems.

Preferably, you should remove a rawhide treat from your pet before they start to eat it. These treats aren’t made to be eaten – just chewed. Dogs who do not swallow large chunks should not have digestive problems, however. This is really only an issue to consider if your dog is a tough chewer.

There are alternative rawhide treats that are more digestible you might want to consider instead.

Divider 2So, Are Rawhides Bad for Dogs and Puppies?

Rawhides will not seriously harm your dog as long as they are a soft chewer. Tough chewers should avoid these treats, however, as they can lead to obstructions and chocking.

With that said, there are much better options out there that you might want to consider instead. With so many chew options on the market currently, you have plenty of alternative options to give your pup. Most are just as cheap and accessible as rawhide, so there is little reason to give your dog this lower-quality chew option.

Featured image credit: Will Hughes, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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