Dog Ate Rawhide: Dangers of Eating Rawhide Bones and Signs of Trouble

Rawhide can be dangerous to dogs
Rawhide can be dangerous to dogs | Source

Rawhide bones basically consist of the inner part of the hide of a bovine livestock. Rawhide bones are typically sold in pet stores as chew treats and they may come in different shapes and sizes. Rolls, twists, sticks, braids or hand-tied bones are just a few examples. Advertised for scraping away plaque, controlling the build-up of tartar, massaging gums, diminishing bad breath and entertaining the dog for hours, there are concealed risks all pet owners must be aware of when purchasing these apparently innocuous dental chews.

Signs a Dog May Have Swallowed Rawhide

Once a large piece of rawhide bone makes it through the dog's digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, and intestines), it can become lodged and is unable to pass, ultimately causing a blockage. The symptoms may vary from dog to dog, depending on the location of the obstruction.

The first place the swallowed rawhide may get stuck is in the dog's trachea (windpipe). If this is the case, you will notice your dog in distress, choking and drooling and often frantically attempting to remove the stuck piece with its paws. This is a life threatening condition and you should seek immediate emergency treatment.

Lower down the road, the rawhide may lodge in the dog's esophagus (basically, the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) causing drooling and regurgitation shortly after eating. When regurgitation takes place, the dog will bring back up undigested food in large pieces and often in an oblong tubular shape.

Next, the swallowed rawhide may get lodged in the stomach, in the curvy areas of the intestine. Vomiting in dogs along with loss of appetite, and in some cases, diarrhea are a few symptoms affected dogs will encounter. They may also suffer from abdominal pain, assume a hunched up position and strain to defecate.

Symptoms suggesting an intestinal blockage should not be ignored. In some worst case scenarios, the swallowed rawhide may cause a hole to develop at the blockage site causing a life threatening infection, known as ''peritonitis''.

How to Prevent Future Problems

Problems mainly seem to arise when dogs gulp down the rawhide chews in large pieces or even whole. This is why supervising a dog when eating a rawhide is a must and why it is very important to select the most appropriate rawhide chews for the dog's size and weight. If the rawhide gets small enough that it can be swallowed, it should be removed to prevent problems, explains Debra Primovic, a veterinarian who writes for Dog owners must also keep in mind that risks can never be completely eliminated and sometimes even with the closest monitoring, trouble may still happen when choosing to offer rawhide bones to a dog.

Do you feed your dogs bones?

  • Yes, this is a risk I take but my dog loves them too much!
  • Only the safer varieties and under supervision.
  • No, I am too worried about problems.
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Comments 19 comments

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

Yikes! I had no idea of this danger. I am definitely going to not leave any rawhides bones out for Ruby (my beagle) to chew on without my supervision. And she does have some small pieces laying around that I suppose she could swallow. So I a going to take your advice and the vet's advice and get rid of those.

~voting up and useful~

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I have been a little wary of these but my wife would buy them for our dog. The problem solved itself when the dog got bored with them.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

We never give our dogs rawhide. I have always worried about them. Good Hub.

Margaret Davis 4 years ago

My 7.5 lb Chiuaua swallowed part of a Dingo Dental Bone made primarily from rawhide about 48 hours ago. She has been fine so far, but how long should I be concerned about this? So far, her energy, food and water intake, and defication have been normal.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Margaret, according to Dingo's website '' The biggest risk of a dog swallowing one of the treats whole is impaction. You want to make sure that your dog is acting normal, eating ok, drinking ok and going to the bathroom ok. If you see any signs that he is suffering from anything out of the ordinary you need to take him to your veterinarian. Otherwise his body should break it down and he will expel the undigested part in his stool.

Nana 4 years ago

Oh my goodness, I didn't realize that it could hurt my babies. I have 3 dogs...a lab, dachshund, and 10 week old chihuahua. My dachshund has been vomiting flem all day. One time her food came up and then flem after that. I am so worried about her. She did still her sister's pig ear and I was thinking she ate too much of that one thing? Any advice? I am going to cut down on these and get rid of all rawhide. How about the pork "hide?"

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

If she is vomiting there are chances that rawhide may cause problems because of lodging somewhere. Pork hide, rawhide, and just about anything that can be gulped down and is not digestible may cause obstructions. Here is helpful link of signs of dog blockages:

wheeler 4 years ago

I noticed my dog having above siptoms.Although he seems better this after noon.It all started yesterday morning. Do I need to be concerned if hes not trying to puke any more? He was sick all night, and this morning. Still swallows kinda funny

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

It is really hard to say if he is out of the woods, only a vet can say with an x-ray. If he stops vomiting and is able to keep food down and has normal bowel movements then that is a good sign.

tanja 4 years ago

My boxer loves the rawhide rolls and chews them until there is nothing left. The pieces she swallows are small and soft and very chewed up. I thought the rawhide was digestible and disintegrated so I didn't worry. I am surprised to learn they do not get digested! Two days ago she found one in the yard that had been sitting in the sun for a week. When she started chewing it, it splintered into sharp pieces. I threw it away but I think she swallowed a few splinters. Yesterday she had a coughing fit and vomited undigested food. Later that evening she ate and then coughed and vomited again. Today she ate and seems to be ok, I gave her some milk to encourage some extra fluids. She's been eating grass in the yard and hasn't had a bowel movement in 2 days but otherwise is her playful energetic self. I'll take away the rawhide for sure and encourage extra fluids. She still coughs a little, it's a dry cough and only happens when she gets excited. Should I be concerned or just watch her for worsening symptoms for a couple days?

Stella110302 4 years ago

My dog Stella ate a Dingo stick. The stick got lodged in her throat earlier in the morning before we left for the day. When I returned later that evening, she had difficulty breathing so we went immediately to the ER vet - unfortunately I was too late and she ended up dying from congestive heart failure. I have never been more devistated in my life. She was my child and my best friend for over 9.5 years. Do NOT give your dogs any kind of rawhide/Dingo product if you want them alive. So upset with myself that I lead her to her death...I haven't stopped crying for days.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Oh my, so sorry to hear that, that's so sad. We try to do our best for our dogs and when these unfortunate things happen it's just awful! Don't beat yourself up for this; it's not your fault. My deepest condolences.

I just found out yesterday at my vet that my 3 month old puppy has a bone inside its stomach!! At first he had a bacterial infection he got treated for that and was starting to act normally until 2 da 2 years ago

It truly is true....that a dog is a man's best friend and is part of the family and you love them as much as you would your children!

Oh also found out today that in S.A. you are only permitted to have 5 dogs!!

So beware of inspectors and get all dogs sterilized and give all puppies their 6 week shot! :-)

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

Is your puppy undergoing surgery? poop pup, I hope he gets better soon~!

Noniemae profile image

Noniemae 15 months ago from Delray Beach Florida

I have a almost 11 years old Italian Greyhound of around 14 lbs. and I have just thrown out all of her rawhide sticks. She swallowed a piece but so far she has shown no symptoms of concern. It has been almost 48 hours now and she is showing normal behavior with eating and drinking and just had a normal stool so I suspect that there is no lodging in her intestinal track. I could not find the piece in her stool though. I think we got lucky so I don't intend to take any more chances. She does not eat and swallow other objects so that's a good thing. There are other alternatives that are digestible and safer so I intend to try her on those with supervision. She loves to chew on chew sticks only and it does help keep her teeth clean.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 15 months ago from USA Author

It can surely be a scary ordeal! I have stopped giving them because my dogs used to vomit rawhide fragments the day after and I couldn't stand being worried about it.

Lynn 7 months ago

Another thing you need to be aware of is danger from stuffed toys. My one year old cavalier just came home from surgery for an intestinal obstruction. Two hours of surgery and $4000 later he is now recovering from swallowing several large pieces from a toy stuffed animal he tore apart and swallowed. The toy was large enough I never thought it would be harmful but it is amazing what dogs can swallow and then later gets caught in their intestines. Because it is linear it was in both the upper and lower intestines and required multiple incisions to clear the obstructions. We have removed all stuffed toys and are particularly careful of socks, panties etc that be accessible to our dog.

Pat Grimes 5 months ago

I gave my Boxer a new type Busy bone the kind with the bacon twist , well she's been sickly acting every since!!!!

Kathy 2 weeks ago

Would you happen to have an idea How big a piece of rawhide would have to be in order to cause problems for a 125 pound king shepherd?

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