Is Rawhide Dangerous for Dogs?

Updated on April 4, 2017
Source

Say No to Rawhide, Cow Hooves, and Pigs Ears

What kind of treats are you feeding your dog? Pet owners will often rely on advertisements, store displays, and what their friends or neighbors give their canine friends for treats.

I recall talking to my dog's veterinarian about the various treats available on the market. Rawhide was on his list of treats that you should not give to your dog. This included anything from chews and bones to those cute little shoes you get in doggy Christmas stockings.

The reason he recommended against rawhide was because he had performed many operations on his patients in which he had to remove all the little bits of rawhide from the intestines that the dogs were swallowing. The rawhide can collect in the intestines and cause a lot of havoc. Had he not operated on the dogs, they may have died.

Symptoms to Watch For

Should your dog be having any of the following problems while eating a rawhide, you should call your vet immediately.

  • Pain or a distended abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Refusing to eat
  • Dehydration, which can be seen when your dog has a dry mouth and/or sunken eyes

Not all Dogs Can Handle Rawhide

Some dogs are perfectly fine with rawhide and others are not. It is always best to discuss with your veterinarian what you should allow and what you should not allow your pets to have.

Possible Risks

Pet treats such as rawhide can contain toxic chemicals. Salmonella contamination is a possibility, which will put both you and your pet at risk. Some dogs are allergic to rawhide and this can cause digestive irritation. Should your dog swallow a large piece of the rawhide it can choke and become stuck in the throat or in the digestive tract.

How to make sure your dog does not swallow the rawhide

The best possible way to avoid any problems with rawhide is to eliminate them all together, however if you feel that it is necessary to continue to allow your dog to have these treats only do so under supervision. Throw them out before your furry friend has a chance to bite off a piece of the rawhide or when they get small enough to possibly swallow..

Kong Toy
Kong Toy | Source

Alternatives to Rawhide

There are other treats that you can feed your dog rather than rawhide to clean their teeth and give them something to chew on. Smoked bones are 100% natural and dogs love them.

Kong toys that are made from hard rubber and filled with cookies or peanut butter are a tasty treat for a dog and can keep them entertained for quite some time.

Always check with your veterinarian should you have any concerns whatsoever $6 about what you are giving your pet.

Antlers

Antlers are 100-percent Naturally Shed. This is a product that I'd like to get for my 2 Newfoundland dogs. I know many people that have bought these and their dogs are powerful chewers. They do not break off or splinter. They are free of plastic polymers and chemicals that make up most commercial dog chews.

What are your thoughts on rawhide?

Do you allow your dog to have rawhide?

See results

Rawhide causes acute pancreatitis

This is a very sad post about two furry family friends that ended up with acute pancreatits. Luckily there were no blockages found but their pancreas and intestines were inflamed.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Susan Zutautas

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      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Melody, If it is a concern I would ask the vet right away.

      • profile image

        Melody 

        3 years ago

        Im reading through all these stories and was wondering if this could be going on right now with my 6 month old black lab puppy. IF you already gave dog unsupervised ( without knowing to watch him w that kind of bone,)..and that may be what's happenng?..Can the do get better soon on own?

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Annie, When I was growing up we'd always give rawhides to our dogs and it wasn't until about 7 years ago when I was talking to my vet that I saw the damage these so called dog treats could do. I'm so glad that I've never had a dog suffer from the results of a rawhide.

      • RaintreeAnnie profile image

        RaintreeAnnie 

        3 years ago from UK

        I think it was my parents who first told me never to give rawhide to a dog, it was something I always knew. I grew up with a dog in the home and we never gave her rawhide. There are plenty of better and safer alternatives.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        The deer antlers although expensive seem like they'd be great for dogs.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        3 years ago

        My son just switched their dog to the nylabone. Good to know it is better than the rawhide. Still, I would prefer a better chewing alternative. Good information here for all pet owners.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Glad to hear it Heidi, and thanks so much for commenting.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        4 years ago from Chicago Area

        I definitely don't give my dogs rawhides. I do use Nylabone and other chews of that type. But you gotta watch those, too. We have to monitor how much our boy dog has chewed on them and pitch them when the ends get too sharp or small. Thanks for sharing this important info!

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        ocia,Thanks for passing this information onto your brother.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        2besure, I can't understand why the pet food stores and grocery store even allow rawhide to be sold. Maybe some day in the future we will see them all removed hopefully.

      • 2besure profile image

        Pamela Lipscomb 

        4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

        I have head that this is dangerous, yet you can find them in every grocery store. It is up to the pet owners to be aware. Good article.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Crafy, I too make mine homemade dog cookies. They love them!

        I never cook the bones that I give to my dogs. There is too much chance for them to splinter if you cook them.

      • CraftytotheCore profile image

        CraftytotheCore 

        4 years ago

        Such an important Hub. I have 3 dogs. I had no idea rawhide was not a good idea for them until a dog behaviorist warned me about it. I usually make them homemade dog treats. But, I also buy the large beef marrow bones at the supermarket too. I boil them first and let them cool. I bought small ones once and one of my dogs got it stuck around her jaw. I had to take her to the emergency vet, but fortunately it fell off before they had to saw it off.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Lisa, Thanks for telling me this. I'm going to remove the link for the Nylabone products.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        When I see rawhide in pet stores especially it makes me want to talk to whoever manages the store. I think I may just do this. Hand them out several printed articles about the dangers of rawhide. See if it makes a difference.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        I don't understand it either.

      • LisaKoski profile image

        Lisa 

        4 years ago from WA

        I worked at a pet store a while back and a few customers actually complained that a lot of the Nylabone products didn't last very long. One lady's dog tore it up and ate some of the pieces before she realized what was going on. She came in to the store a little frustrated because she'd hoped to get an alternative to rawhide that wouldn't break into small pieces the dog could potentially choke on. It's definitely important to take the strength of your dog into account when looking into rawhide alternatives. I know the Kong toy in that last picture worked well for the Malamute/wolf mix I had.

        Great hub! Definitely a good read for all dog owners.

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 

        4 years ago from New York

        I don't think people can be reminded enough about rawhide! I have to agree with moonlake, I don't know what it's sold either!

        Voted up, useful, and interesting.

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 

        4 years ago from America

        We never give our dogs rawhide. I don't understand why they still sell it in the stores. Voted up.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Gypsy, Glad your husband was able to retrieve the rawhide. I'm the same way, I panic too and am always glad if there's someone else around to help me out.

      • Gypsy48 profile image

        Gypsy48 

        5 years ago

        Informative hub Susan. Rawhide bones can be dangerous. Last month I was taking care of my daughter's dogs while she was out of town, which are her babies. Sadie was gnawing on a rawhide bone and somehow it got caught on her tongue. I was in absolute panic mode. I tried to ease it off her tongue but couldn't. My husband the calmer one in these situtations managed to ease the bone off her tongue with no injuries. I didn't realize that could even happen. No more rawhide bones for her!

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Glimmer, Good thing you were able to retrieve the rawhide from your dog. I know my two would gobble the rawhide if they had them. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        heidithorne, Every once in a while I'll go to the butchers and get my dogs a very large raw ham bone. That keeps them happy for a long time.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Deborah, All the dogs that I had growing up used to get rawhide bones, and they never had a problem with them. My two Newfs will take a bone treat that I've purchased in a store that is supposed to last for days, or so it states on the packing, and the treat is gone in a matter of minutes. No rawhide for my two.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        We gave up rawhide a long time ago. My dog chews it for a while and then swallows it whole. Luckily I've been able to grab it out of his throat before it gets to his stomach. Really useful hub! Shared various ways.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        5 years ago from Chicago Area

        We've also banned rawhide at our house. One of our dogs got very possessive with it, but not other things. Others wouldn't swallow whole, but could eat 'em up in short order, causing digestive upset. So we're a Nylabone and Kong house now. Thanks for sharing these important reminders!

      • DeborahNeyens profile image

        Deborah Neyens 

        5 years ago from Iowa

        My husband always expresses concern when I give my dog rawhide. She doesn't get them often, but I do give them as occasional treats. She just got one on Friday because it was her birthday. I took it away Saturday morning because it was down to almost nothing. I may have to think twice before I give her another one.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Vicki, You're more than welcome.

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        Susan, I may have read this before, but it's a good reminder for me and my little guy! Thanks!

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Janice, I've been looking at the Antlers that the pet store have been carrying and thinking about getting my dogs those.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        GoodLady, Most dogs do love the rawhide bones. Some are okay with them. I know I've had dogs in the past that never had a problem with them, but since my Vet alerted me to this I thought it best to cut them out.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Judi, Mine have a toy basket beside my desk and every once in awhile they'll dig out the Kong. I get them these huge denta bones that are supposed to last for some time. They go through those in five minutes tops :)

      • Janis Goad profile image

        Janis Goad 

        5 years ago

        My dog loves bully sticks--they are digestible, and still give a good chew.

        Voted up! Vet surgery for foreign objects stuck in the digestive tract is pricey, not to mention the risk to the dog's life if it perforates.

      • GoodLady profile image

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        It's so incredible how much one doesn't know. I wonder if my sister knows this. She has two amazing dogs and I think they love their rawhide bones. Oh dear. How awful. Thanks so much for this invaluable information! Voting interesting and up and shall tweet it.

      • Judi Bee profile image

        Judith Hancock 

        5 years ago from UK

        I stopped giving Emmy rawhide treats early on - she seemed to get bits stuck in her throat and I worried she would choke. She had a Kong toy like the one in your photo but she seems to have lost interest in chewing these days.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Pamela, Thanks. After hearing about some of the dogs from my vet that he'd operated on, that was enough for me to not allow my dogs to have them.

      • Pamela N Red profile image

        Pamela N Red 

        6 years ago from Oklahoma

        Great story, Susan. Just because they sell them for dogs doesn't mean we should buy them.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        6 years ago from California

        Good to know--my dog loves bones---

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        thejeffriestube, Yes, cooked bones are a no no.

        ktrapp, All my dogs that I had growing up got rawhides. Luckily nothing bad happened to them because of it.

        Audrey, My vet actually recommended the raw bones and even told me which butcher to buy them from.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        6 years ago from California

        I also give my dog only uncooked bones although my vet worries about the bacteria in them--

      • ktrapp profile image

        Kristin Trapp 

        6 years ago from Illinois

        This is the second hub I've read on this topic today. We have always given our dog rawhide and now I am afraid to even though we haven't experienced any problems yet. At the very least I am going to throw them out when they get small where they might be swallowed.

      • thejeffriestube profile image

        Dave 

        6 years ago from United States

        I know my Husky mix has a sensitive stomach and can't handle them, or beef, for that matter. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs just like humans. Ours gets alot of chicken and rice, and he loves it! Generally though, giving a dog ANY kind of cooked bone you've made at home is a bad idea.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Audrey, Thanks.

        Sunshine, My dogs love bones. But they only get them uncooked. So sorry to hear about your neighbors dog.

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 

        6 years ago from Orlando, FL

        My neighbor gave his dog the bone from their Christmas Ham, poor dog didn't make it to New Years. The bits and pieces of the bone shredded up his insides...it was very sad. Informative hub Susan!

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        6 years ago from California

        Great info--I tend to stay away from it--although our dog loves it--we give her bones instead--

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        7 years ago from United States

        Great information. Thanks.

      • Chatkath profile image

        Kathy 

        7 years ago from California

        Learn something new every day! Thanks for the info! Good Job, whatever makes puppy happy!

      • Daffy Duck profile image

        Daffy Duck 

        7 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

        That's interesting. I used to give my dog those, but I stopped doing it because she got a piece lodged in her mouth keeping her from closing it. I had to reach in and get it out.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Maria, Your poor dog, I can only imagine the pain he must have been in. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this. Yes there are many safe treats and toys available. Thanks again.

      • profile image

        Maria J . Hines 

        7 years ago

        Maria J Hines One of those cow hooves they sell for treats got stuck in my dogs intestinines,he had emergengy surgery,and my Vet still has it in his office to show clients.Rawhide is dangerous too ! There are plenty of safe toys to spoil our beloved dogs with that are safe !

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Ruby, Thanks for stopping by to read this.

        Merlin, Yes we do have Bovril. I never thought about using Bovril, thanks for the great tip!

      • Merlin Fraser profile image

        Merlin Fraser 

        7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

        Hi Susan,

        Do you have Bovril over there ? It's a beef extract paste in a jar for making beef tea or gravy.

        All my dogs used to love it spread on their Kongs really did keep then safely happy for hours.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        7 years ago from Southern Illinois

        Susan, I don't have a dog now, but it's good to know what's good and what's bad. Thank you.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Raidioguy, Do you go hunting with Skeet? Brittany's are beautiful dogs.

        Spirit Whisperer, There are many great chew toys and healthy treat options. Thanks for your comments.

        suziecat, Were the stomach problems related to the rawhide? Hope that your dog is doing okay now and thanks so much for your comments and vote up.

        Bukarella, It would be nice if they would take them off the shelves but I suppose because the rawhide does not bother some dogs they will be there to stay.

        Merlin, I had bought my dogs Nylabones at one time and it stated on the package that the dog would get hours and hours of enjoyment from these bones. No word of a lie they were gone within ten minutes. I should have written the company and told them their bones didn't last long for giant breeds.

        My dogs love the Kong too especially with peanut butter.

        Thanks so much for all your input, always nice to hear from you :)

        FishAreFriends, Please come back and let me know what your vet says. What breed of dog do you have?

      • FishAreFriends profile image

        FishAreFriends 

        7 years ago from Colorado

        My dog swallowed small things laying on the floor when she was a little puppy. She seems to eat them slowly and actually chew on them, not just swallow. But, I am still due for an appointment to the vet (for a check-up) so I will discuss it then.

      • Merlin Fraser profile image

        Merlin Fraser 

        7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

        Hi Susan,

        I think it depends very much on the size of the dog, little dogs probably get more enjoyment out of them, however big dogs tend to treat these things as food and often swallow large chunks whole.

        I stopped giving them to my German Shepherds for that reason, pigs ears were given pretty much the same treatment... gone in a couple of minutes so you know it went down in lumps.

        Little dogs can't do that and probably have more fun and enjoyment out of them.

        The Kong on the other hand was a great sense of fun neither dog ever tried to eat it... My big male Shepherd when he died his ashes were buried under his favourite shady tree complete with his Kong.

      • Bukarella profile image

        Lyudmyla Hoffman 

        7 years ago from United States

        No rawhide for my dog as well. I don't get why they are allowed to be sold.

      • suziecat7 profile image

        suziecat7 

        7 years ago from Asheville, NC

        I stopped giving my dogs rawhide a few years ago when one of them became ill with stomach problems. This is indeed useful information. Rated up!

      • Spirit Whisperer profile image

        Xavier Nathan 

        7 years ago from Isle of Man

        Thank you so much for writing this hub. I had no idea and though I have only given our dog only one rawhide so far I will not be giving her any more. I will go with your other suggestions and am truly grateful for this very useful information. Voted up.

      • Radioguy profile image

        Radioguy 

        7 years ago from Maine

        No rawhide for Skeet! Too much of a chance for a slimy bit to get stuck in her throat! Besides she becomes too excitable with rawhide ( she's a Brittany ) but some dogs seem to settle down and act "grown up" while toying with rawhide. In the end, I suppose it does depend on the dog.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        nightbear, I agree it does depend on the actual dog. Swallowing it whole wow! I remember when we had dogs while I was growing up and they all had rawhide and I never gave it a second thought until that one day talking to my Vet.

        It was funny the other day my mother in law came to visit and Bruce(my male Newf)nudges her and walks over to the kitchen cupboard where his treats are. It was as if to say "You know where they are, please get me one"

        Thanks so much your comments are always appreciated.

      • nightbear profile image

        Susan Kaul 

        7 years ago from Michiagn, USA

        I think the rawhides depend specifically on the dog. Our Vet said they were a calorie-less treat that satisfied chewing and snacking IF the dog could handle it. My Golden retriever would unroll it and swallow it whole, in a matter of minutes. YIKES!! once that was discerned no more for her. My Belgium sheepdog, very meticulously takes it apart into tiny little pieces. It takes her hours of fun chewing to get this accomplished. She gets them whenever she wants one. And yes, she can ask for it and apparently does a great job speaking human, because we always understand. hmmmmm. :)

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        RH I tend to think the pig ears are about the same as the rawhide but I am not 100% sure on that.

        Cardisa, I give mine raw bones and after talking to my vet and having him tell me about the rawhide I was amazed as so many stores sell them.

      • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Zutautas 

        7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        FishAreFriends, Many dogs are fine with rawhide. I have Newfoundland dogs and they are one of the breeds that my Vet told me tend to have problems with the rawhide. Best to discuss it with your vet.

        dahoglund, I always try to give my dogs raw bones or the smoked ones.

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 

        7 years ago from Jamaica

        Our dogs get bones, no fancy treats or anything but I hate any animal being hurt by something like that.

        Good information.

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 

        7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Oh I didn't know this! Thanks for the heads up. I do give the dogs pig ears - I wonder if those cause issues? I'll have to ask the vet, I did give them rawhides but it isn't worth the trouble if there is any possible way that could happen.

      • dahoglund profile image

        Don A. Hoglund 

        7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

        My wife gave our dog lots of rawhide. I tend to be wary of them but now the dog has lost interest in them.I tend to favor plain old fashioned bones we used to get from the butcher shops. For some reason they don't seem available around here.

        Our dig is of unknown age but probably aroudn two years. She may have just at the end of the teething stage.

      • FishAreFriends profile image

        FishAreFriends 

        7 years ago from Colorado

        That is scary! I did not realize this... and I gave my dog rawhide. I guess I am due for a trip to the vet to discuss this with her. Other than that... great hub!

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