We give our dogs treats made from rawhide to satisfy the their need to chew, and to keep them busy. Plus, chewing can relieve anxiety. Rawhide is even supposed to be good for teeth.
And… we give our dogs rawhide because they LOVE it! But, rawhide treats are dangerous, even deadly.
What are the dangers with rawhide for dogs?
Two big things – first, what’s on and in them, can be highly toxic. Second, once your Morkie has chewed one up a bit, it gets soft and then can be ingested. (So no longer the great ‘dental care’ treat when soggy)
That slippery, slimy piece of rawhide can choke your Morkie if he swallows it, or can cause an obstructed bowel. And for dogs with sensitive digestive systems, rawhide can trigger diarrhea, vomiting, gagging and other upsets.
Rawhide for dogs often has traces of Salmonella or E. coli contamination. In fact, between 2008 and 2011, there were 6 major FDA recalls of rawhide due to salmonella according to EmbracePetInsurance.com
That Salmonella and E. coli can make you very sick too.
Overall, rawhide chews for dogs are so toxic and so dangerous, that both the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA classify them as very dangerous, in the same category as pesticides and cleaning chemicals.
Rawhide chews can cause acute pancreatitis, which can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death!
What’s in rawhide for dogs?
Rawhide is a misleading name, because the stuff is highly processed, not raw. And it’s a by-product of the leather industry, not the food industry.
Hides usually come from factory-farmed cattle, which are filled with hormones and antibiotics. But the hides can also come from other animals such as pigs, sheep and even horses.
When hides are processed, they are scraped of all flesh, and the hair is removed with heavy duty, poisonous chemicals used in tanneries. These can include hydrogen peroxide and bleach, preservatives like sodium benzoate; traces of lead, insecticides, even arsenic or formaldehyde.
The hide is then split and the top layer is treated to become leather. The next layer of mushy raw skin, begins a journey to become Rawhide for Dogs.
How rawhide chews are made
The hide is spun circles and dried into rolls or shapes. Many rawhide chews have glue holding them together. For the ‘natural’ look chews, they’re bleached and soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Darker ones are smoked and treated with artificial colours and flavours.
According to Whole-Dog-Journal.com some rawhide is even “painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make it appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.”
In the most disgusting expose of all, it was found that some rawhides contain the skin from dogs. This is not an urban myth!
An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” — The Humane Society
Alternatives to Rawhide
Given the chance of choking plus the horrible chemicals and poisons that chew sticks are made from, they’re not worth giving to your Morkie. A couple of good alternatives to satisfy his desire to chew include:
- Organic baby carrots
- Good quality Bully Sticks
- Made-in-the-USA (or Canada) pure jerky meats – dried chicken, duck and beef in small size pieces for little dogs
- Quality plastic bones such as Nylabone. Just be vigilant if you have a larger dog in the home too. The small bones can be swallowed by larger pets. Plus big dogs can sometimes work pieces of the Nylabone off. When these pieces are eaten, there are serious complications.