Rawhide bones are natural chew toys that most dogs like to gnaw on. Most vets agree that rawhide bones are good for a dog and have several benefits, but you need to be aware that there are also some health risks.
The rough surfaces of rawhide bones make them an almost irresistible treat for a dog to chew on and your dog can stay busy gnawing away at the bone for hours on end.
Most rawhide bones are good for your dog’s dental health. An added benefit may be that they can help in preventing a dog from chewing on your furniture and shoes.
If you’ve given your dog a rawhide bone or are considering buying one, you should be aware that these bones can also be bad for your dog. Larger pieces of rawhide bones can choke your dog by blocking its respiratory passageway. If your dog breaks off small chunks that can be swallowed, it could result in stomach problems or blockages of the dog’s intestinal tract which often requires surgery to remove.
Some dogs also develop allergic reactions to rawhide bones. Mere contact with the rawhide can irritate the skin of some dogs and requires treatment with medications. Rawhide bones that are sold in grocery stores usually have rough surfaces that can cause fractures of a dog’s teeth, or in severe cases could cause a fracture of the jaw bone. If splinters from the rawhide bone are swallowed without being properly chewed, they can puncture several of a dog’s organs.
If your dog is allergic to beef, don’t buy rawhide bones made from cattle. Instead, try one made from the skin of other animals like pigs.
Rawhide bones can also cause bacterial infections like salmonella because the rawhide that has been used to manufacture the bone may carry bacteria from the pig or cow it was made from. Luckily, most of these types of bacteria do not cause intestinal distress in a dog because the gastric acids in its system neutralizes the bacteria upon reaching the stomach.
Only you can decide if rawhide bones are good for your dog. You might choose to give your dog safer chew toys or treats in place of a rawhide bone. If one of your dog’s favorite pleasures is chewing on one of these bones, just be sure you buy the right sized bone to prevent your dog from choking, fracturing its teeth, or developing an intestinal blockage.