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Taking The Wheel On The Road To (Or From!) Rawhide

You’re on the search for the perfect chew treat for your pup, and you’re going full speed ahead to the pet store to grab one. But once you get to the treat aisle, you slam on the breaks as various types of doggie chews, bones, and toys race into your path. As if you were stuck in a traffic jam and finally find a free lane, you’ve honed in on an all-time favorite that many dog lovers have chosen: RAWHIDE!

However, as any safe parent would do while driving, doggie parents should be informed, alert, and ready before taking the green light and making a purchase. Despite its popularity and reputation as natural, good for your dogs’ teeth, and helpful when it comes to easing your pup’s instincts to chew, there are some things to consider.  Take this trip with us to learn about the green (pros), yellow (cons), and red (dangers) lights of rawhide before you take the highway to doggie chew toy bliss.

Green Light
•Dogs have the natural instinct to chew, and rawhide bones definitely satisfy that craving. The ability to chew on rawhide for hours on end can also be great for puppies when they begin teething. Rawhide eases the growing pains that come when teeth first push through while helping develop stronger jaws.

•Instead of chewing on your favorite pair of shoes or your beloved couch, rawhide provides an alternative to your pup’s strong urge to gnaw on your furniture and valuable items. This saves you both the financial and emotional anxiety.

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•Just like flossing, rawhide is great for your pooch pal’s gums! Once rawhide gets moist, it acts like natural floss and helps rub off plaque buildup while in turn reducing your dog’s risk of having serious dental problems in the long run.

•Compared to plastic and rubber chew toys, rawhide can be safely consumed in small amounts and will definitely save you a trip to the vet!

Yellow Light
•As delicious as rawhide may be to your dog, make sure they slow down or be sure to take away rawhide once you notice that it’s small enough to swallow whole. If rawhide is not consumed in small amounts, it definitely can become a choking hazard to your dog.

•Just as with many things we love as humans, too much of a good thing for pups is never great either! Make sure not to give your dog rawhide in excessive amounts, as too much can give them gastrointestinal issues.

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•Reports have shown some rawhide treats produced outside of the U.S. have been made from toxic chemicals. Make sure to read what your rawhide is made with, and to buy those that are produced in the U.S.

Red Light
•Even though rawhide is a natural product that is produced from the inner layer of cow and horse hide, the way certain types of rawhide are manufactured can be toxic. Rawhide improperly produced or stored can have trace amounts of toxic chemicals, Salmonella, or E. Coli. putting you and your dog at risk.

•Some dogs can be sensitive or allergic to certain rawhides and substances used by manufacturers, resulting in diarrhea and other health issues in your dog. Keep a close eye on your pooch for symptoms after consumption.

•Unfortunately, some rawhide has been found to be made from other dogs. Humane Society International did an investigation and reported findings skins of dogs found in Thailand mixed with other bit of skin produced for rawhide chew toys for pet dogs that were exported to the U.S.  It may be best to avoid imported rawhide chews – stick to those that are made in America.

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Looking for alternatives?  There are many available out there.  One highly recommended option is a Himalayan Dog Chew, a safe and odorless chew made in Nepal from yak and cow milk.  It’s fully digestible, and although you should still watch your dog when it gets small (as with all chews, to avoid a possible choking hazard), is a safer option if you decide against rawhide.

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Regardless of whether you choose to embrace rawhide or flee from it, the most important thing is to be aware of your dog’s health needs, shop safely, and know when enough is enough for your dog.  Your knowledge will keep both you and your dog happy and healthy!

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