It pains me to say this but rawhide is still 1 of the most popular treats available on the market. 

It is true that it keeps your dog entertained for hours chewing on the rawhide treat but do you know the real dangers and what your dog is actually digesting?

So, What is Rawhide?!

Unfortunately rawhide is described as a “Natural Treat” but the truth is that it isn’t a nice piece of natural beef rawhide that is moulded into “fun” shapes and dyed in bright colours. Rawhide is made from left overs within the leather industry and goes through a pretty nasty process to make it into these “fun” shapes!

The Process:

The leftover rawhides are put into a brine solution - this is not only to stop them rotting but it also slows the process down.

Rawhides aren’t only made from beef, they can be any animal that is used in the leather industry meaning that when you buy these “treats”, it may say “beef” but in reality, you don’t even know what you are giving your dog!

Once the hides have been put in brine, they are shipped to a tannery where the fat and hair is removed and this is done using chemicals such as ash-lye solution or a sodium sulphide liming which is highly toxic. 

Remember.. when you give your dog 1 of these “treats”, they are digesting these toxic chemicals!

If you thought they were the only chemicals being added to the rawhide, you are wrong, even more are added to allow the hide to puff up so they can split it into layers.

You are probably wondering why they need to split the hide into layers. The hide has 2 uses - The top layer is used to make leather goods like car seats, belts, handbags etc and the inner layer is used to make that “fun, coloured treat” that people seem to love! Not only do they make rawhide chews from that layer but it is also used to make other products such as glue, cosmetics and gelatine.

Now you are probably sat there thinking, that must be it! You are wrong..

The layers have been split and the inner layer is now ready to be washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide, bleach or stronger chemicals! Another reason that they bleach it is to stop the hide rotting and the smell of rot! Remember when you are reading this… if your dog has these “treats”, they are digesting all of these chemicals!!

Time to Make it Look “Pretty and Fun”:

If the manufacturers left the products white, they wouldn’t be as appealing to the consumers so they add colours to make them look “Pretty” and “Fun”! 

So what is added to them I hear you say.. surely not more chemicals!? 

Rawhides are basted with flavours and smoked and “painted” in different colours. To make them look white, they are “painted” with titanium oxide.. another chemical!

Other chemicals used.. yes there are more.. are toxic products such as FD&C Red 40 - this is a petroleum based food dye that is heavily linked to ADHD in children.

How Are They Preserved?:

Ready to hear about the further chemicals that are used on these so called “treats”?..

The rawhides have to be preserved so more chemicals are added! These chemicals may include formaldehyde or chromium salts. Shockingly when these rawhides are tested, they contain things like lead, arsenic, mercury and many other toxic metals… again.. your dog is digesting all of this!

Now to make them “Fun”…. The rawhides are now full of chemicals and toxic metals and are ready to be made into shapes to make them more appealing.

Do you ever notice that especially around Christmas, rawhides are available in the shapes of candy canes, Christmas wreaths etc.. well in order to make them into these shapes, they have to use different types of glues!

Why Is Rawhide The Worst Thing You Could Give Your Dog?! 

As if the chemicals weren’t a big enough reason for you to not give this horrible treat to your dog, there is also the horrific choking or blockage issues!

Let’s start with the chemicals. You have hopefully now read everything I detailed above in regards to the countless chemicals used to make rawhide so now, if you see rawhide and it says “natural”, you now know that is a lie!

Choking and Blockage of Internal Organs:

If the chemicals still haven’t put you off rawhide then hopefully this next section will! Rawhide is a “cheap treat” but may actually cost you £1000’s in vets bills.. not so cheap now is it!

Rawhide can’t be digested and 1 of the many issues of the rawhide is that it remains in the stomach for months on end is that not only is it uncomfortable for your dog but it can also cause digestive problems and in turn, it can create dangerous intestinal or bowel blockages! How do you get it out? Expensive emergency surgery by your vet!

Suddenly you realise that this “cheap treat” is actually a lot more expensive than you first thought!

Rawhide Used as a Dental Chew?!:

Rawhide is often described as a dental chew and great for dogs to chew on to strengthen and clean their teeth… that is hugely untrue!

Rawhide will start off as this hard, thick chew but after a bit of chewing, it turns into a stringy, elastic type consistency a bit like chewing gum which stops it from becoming this hard chew which is supposedly good for the teeth!

Your dog then swallows this “elastic” type treat and as it goes down the digestive tract, it wraps around the intestines causing it to tangle and again causing further issues requiring emergency surgery!

What Can I Give My Dog Instead?!:

Here at Happy Paws and Claws we provide only 100% natural dog treats! Our treats are sustainably sourced and use all the offcuts that would usually get discarded but are parts that our dogs absolutely love!

Our meat treats are exactly what we say there are.. pig snouts, chicken feet, cow tails, fish skin twirls, fish skin cubes.. there are no hidden preservatives, additives and definitely NO chemicals added!

Many of our treats are perfect for chewing on and you can be safe in the knowledge that your dog is digesting no chemicals, metals or toxins and are not going to require emergency surgery!

Feeding Supervision:

Remember that even though our treats are 100% natural, when given to your dog, you should always be around just incase they swallow a piece of their treat and choke. Dogs are like us and can choke when we eat too much in 1 go, too quickly in excitement or a piece of food goes down the wrong way!

October 02, 2022 — Sophie Lamb

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