Keeping up with your dog’s dental hygiene can be an uphill battle. One thing humans and canines can agree on is that dental procedures are no fun! And we’re willing to bet your pup isn’t the most agreeable when it comes time to brush his teeth. That’s why many sources have touted rawhide chews and treats as the surefire way to not only keep his teeth and gums healthy but keep his mind active as he chews away. What makes rawhide chews even more attractive to pet parents is that they tend to be long-lasting.
So, what’s wrong with rawhide treats? After all, they must be popular for a reason! Well, Homescape Pets has been in the business of pet health for quite some time, and we want to make sure you know what you’re signing up for when you decide to give your pup a rawhide treat.
Rawhide Chews: Behind the Product
We’re not afraid to shout it from the rooftops… we love all things natural, and we’re committed to serving real ingredients to our pups and yours, especially when it comes to meat. One reason that rawhide is so popular is that so many pet parents believe that it’s a beef by-product.
Actually, rawhide is a leather by-product. Usually derived from cattle hide, the top layer of the hide is given over to mainstream leather products, while the second, inner layer goes to pet products like rawhide. Unfortunately, rawhide is still shipped to tanneries to be soaked and treated in extremely toxic chemicals to clean the product. And the process doesn’t stop just there… there’s a post-tannery process that involves more chemicals, including bleach.
From that stage, rawhide chews are usually coated with artificial dyes and flavors to make them look, smell, and taste scrumptious to your pets. This often includes toxic preservatives—there’s a reason why they last so long! When tested, many rawhides have been found to contain toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, formaldehyde, and even arsenic. Let’s face it: if you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t want to be feeding your dog these ingredients!
The Dangers of Rawhide Chews
We mentioned that rawhide is popular for its claimed dental benefits. Except, rawhide can actually cause dogs to break their teeth, especially if you give your dogs pressed rawhides, which are harder to chew.
The thing about rawhides lasting so long is that they break down over a length of time. The more they break down, the softer and gummier they get. Pieces tend to break off, and your dog can unwittingly swallow them whole, presenting a huge choking hazard.
Even if your dog manages to swallow entire rawhide pieces without choking, rawhide is ultimately an inedible product. They’re only meant to be chewed, not digested. Many vets have seen pets coming into their care who have pieces of rawhide swollen and lodged in their GI tracts, causing a variety of serious issues. It’s never a guarantee that your pup can simply pass rawhide when he goes to the bathroom.
We’re never here to scare you… but we have to wonder, is it worth the risk? We want you to ask yourselves these important questions too, especially when there are so many safer alternatives on the market.
Saying No to Rawhide
If you’ve already given your dog rawhide, there’s still time to make sure he has a safe experience. Simply supervise him whenever he is chewing, and take the rawhide away completely when it starts to break down or become stringy. But after that, you may want to try these great alternatives in order to keep your pooch active and healthy while maintaining great dental hygiene:
- Frozen carrots: Most dogs love carrots as an all-natural treat, especially since they’re already hard to chew through. But if you stick them in the freezer for a while, they can last even longer and give your pup a delicious activity that’s also great for his teeth.
- Raw bones: Not only great for dental hygiene, but raw bones also provide a great source of the nutrients and minerals your pup needs for a healthy lifestyle. Look out for hip or femur bones from large animals, and make sure they are raw and uncooked. Cooked bones can splinter and cause serious injury in pets.
- DIY frozen treats: If you don’t consider yourself a chef, you can simply freeze foods like peanut butter, fruit, or broth to keep your pooch busy and happy. But if you do like a good DIY cooking project, check out homemade dog treat recipes online! This will provide plenty of fun for both you and your furry friend.
At the end of the day, nothing beats a good meat treat. That’s why we’ve been so excited about our new Homescape Pets Simply Natural Chews, which are the best alternatives to rawhide yet: all meat, raw, and fully digestible.
We offer air-dried duck feet as well as beef and lamb trachea which are all nutrient-rich and completely preservative-free. Not only are our natural chews excellent for scrubbing plaque and strengthening gums, but they’re great natural sources of chondroitin, calcium, and cartilage for joint health and mobility support.
Head over to our page to try out these delicious, single-ingredient protein snacks for your pup! And in the meantime, follow us @HomescapePets for more news and important information about giving your pets a holistic, healthy, and happy lifestyle.