Are rawhide for dogs safe? Be sure you know just what you are giving your pup, and how to make sure he or she is safely enjoying the rawhide chew.

Updated November 2016.

Your dog can’t help it. He’s genetically programmed to chew stuff. So to spare your shoes the slobber, you do what any self-respecting pet parent can – you serve up the rawhide bones and chews. And just like that, your dog’s engaged. The hours pass, the days march on, and your pet happily munches away, cleaning his teeth while he’s at it. So there you have it, rawhide rules. It would be criminal to take them away. Or would it?

Woof Report pups love their rawhides too, so we wanted all the facts before zooming in on their dark side. Aside from the possibility of food allergies, rawhide bones and chews can break your dog’s teeth and cause choking. Even worse, a piece of rawhide can get lodged in his intestinal tract. Further, some rawhide shipments, especially those from outside of the U.S., have had traces of formaldehyde, salmonella bacteria or dangerous additives. Thanks to a great article by veterinarian Lorie Huston, we got a close look at the pros and cons to consider with our vets. Read on for details to share with yours.

Minimize the Rawhide Risks

If you choose to feed your dog rawhide chews and bones, Dr. Huston offers a few ideas to help minimize the risks.

  • Supervise your dog whenever he’s eating a rawhide chew or bone.
  • Take away the rawhide when it becomes small enough for your dog to swallow.
  • Pick only top-quality rawhide dog chews and bones produced in the U.S. to reduce the possibility of contamination.
  • Make sure your dog chews the right rawhide for his size and weight.
  • Take away rawhides if your dog develops a skin or gastrointestinal problems and discuss it with your vet.


The Scoop: 

Read more in the article by Lorie Huston, D.V.M., “Rawhide Dog Bones and Chews – Safe or Dangerous?”

Thank you to Shannon and Lady for the photo.