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  1. dogs digestive health

Dog Digestive Health Tips

Dog Digestive Health Tips

Dog digestive health guidance from Fuzzy vets to help pet parents treat the most common dog stomach issues.
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Rawhide Chews for Dogs: Delicious, But Possibly Dangerous?

Posted by Dr. Jessica on March 16, 2021

Stress and Anxiety
Wellness Care
Screen Shot 2021 03 15 At 11 44 01 Pm Png

Dogs love to chew! But no one wants their pooch to chew on table legs, couch cushions, or their favorite pair of shoes. Plenty of pet owners purchase rawhide chews for dogs, but they may also be concerned about whether those chews are the safest option. 

Overall, the risks of giving a pet rawhide dog chews are low—if dog owners follow expert tips for their furry friends.

What Is Rawhide?

All rawhide chews for dog enjoyment are made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. Manufacturers soak the skins in a salty brine for weeks. Then, a tannery will treat the hides with lime, separate the fat and hair, and rinse everything before packaging it for your pooch.

Not all dog rawhide chews are the same. Some are made in the United States, which are more expensive—but usually contain fewer chemicals than those made overseas. Most commercial dog chews in America come from China.

What Are the Benefits of Rawhide Chews for Dogs?

Both dogs and their pet parents love rawhide chew toys for many reasons.

Anxiety Relief

Chewing is a soothing, stress relief activity that can improve the mood of many pets. High-anxiety dogs can benefit from something that simply takes their mind off being left alone or other situations that may stress them out. Sometimes, however, anxiety can cause dogs to chew too quickly, which puts them at risk for choking. Other dogs may simply be quick chewers. It's important for pet parents to observe and recognize the difference.

Clean Teeth

When a dog chews rawhide, the tough hide helps to break up plaque and tartar that can build up on canine teeth. Dogs that chew regularly have tend to have healthier teeth and fresher breath.

Satisfying the Urge to Chew

Dogs have a natural, instinctual urge to chew, and rawhides provide a non-destructive outlet for this desire. 

What Are the Risks of Rawhide Chews for Dogs?

Before giving a dog a rawhide chew, it’s important to understand the risks that are associated with the treat. 


If dogs attack the rawhide and cronch away too quickly, they can attempt to swallow pieces that are too big. This can lead to moderate or serious choking events.

Digestive Problems

Most rawhide chews for dogs are not digestible, meaning they pass completely through the digestive system without breaking down, but some pieces can last for months inside the stomach, making food digestion more difficult. Some rawhide products are made from digestible materials, but they don’t tend to last as long against committed chewers.

Salmonella or E.coli Contamination

If the piece of rawhide gets dropped where dogs do their business, it could lead to unintentional passing of bacteria into the digestive tract. Always wash rawhides before giving them to a dog. Be sure to rinse between chewing sessions too, especially if the chew has been outside in the yard.

How Can You Make Sure a Dog’s Rawhide Chews Are Safe?

Here are some quick tips for dogs to enjoy rawhide safely:

  • Know your pet’s chewing habits. If they eat slowly, rawhide is a safe option.

  • Separate pets from others so they can chew in peace. Sometimes social anxiety or food defensiveness can make them swallow big pieces.

  • Try different kinds of rawhide. Always supervise to see how the dog reacts and look for clues pointing to digestive issues—such as gagging, bloating, diarrhea, or fever.

  • Take away small pieces before they become problematic.

  • Wash hands after handling chews for your safety.

When dogs tend to devour the rawhide too quickly, they may be better suited to enjoy a peanut butter-filled toy or a hard rubber chew instead of rawhides. If you have additional questions about which is best for your pet feel free to reach out to the Fuzzy team for advice and suggestions. 

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