Can Dogs Digest Rawhide Safely?

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Can dogs digest rawhide? Rawhides are what owners traditionally feed their dogs: the iconic ivory snack that dogs love (we think) to chew on. However, are these snacks safe for dogs? Are they digestible?

So, can dogs digest rawhide? Rawhides are not easily digested by dogs. The truth is, most dog products are digestible. It’s a matter of how digestible the treat is. When it comes to rawhides, generally speaking, dogs have a hard time digesting rawhides. These treats are meant to help calm the dog down by allowing it to chew on something, not for nutrition.

So should you keep feeding your dog rawhides knowing that it’s not digestible for them? Are there other harmful effects that you should worry about? Are there other safer, healthier alternatives to rawhides?

Can Dogs Digest Rawhides and Should You Keep Feeding Them?

can dogs digest rawhide or does it cause blockage

Though the decision is ultimately up to you, we strongly recommend that you do not feed your dog rawhides.

In general, this snack is very difficult for dogs to digest, especially for older and younger dogs. Therefore, if your dog ends up consuming a large piece of the this chew, it might suffer from blockage and other digestive problems that might cause diarrhea.

The one positive aspect its effectiveness at calming dogs down.

Rawhide chews are the canine equivalent of pacifiers for babies. Because chewing is a part of your dog’s instinct, it will help your dog adjust to new environments and whenever it is feeling anxious. As pacifiers, they’re great. However, in terms of nutrition and health, there are consequences that are as bad as or worse than an intestinal blockage.

3 Negative Aspects of Rawhide & How to Treat Each

1. Choking

Rawhides are usually very hard and difficult to break down into small pieces before swallowing a piece. Therefore, dogs that love to chew on them are more prone to choking on a piece.

When you watch a dog chew on them, pieces are not ripped off of it. Rather, dogs end up consuming pieces that are broken off of chews.

If your dog ends up choking on a piece of rawhide, it’s important to act quickly. 

In order to determine whether or not your dog is choking, check for the symptoms. If your dog is drooling excessively, pawing its mouth, or making gagging noises, your dog is likely choking. 

  1. First and foremost, call an ambulance or other emergency services that are available for your dog’s health.
  2. While help is coming, if your dog is a small dog, then grab it by the two hind legs and flip it so that its head is facing the bottom of the floor.
  3. Next, try shaking the lodged object out.
  4. If shaking doesn’t work, reach into your dog’s mouth and attempt to pull the rawhide out.
  5. If this doesn’t work, put one fist and wrap your hand around it right on top of your dog’s stomach and perform the Heimlich Maneuver.
  6. Even if the lodged object comes out of its throat and your dog can breathe fine, we strongly suggest that you still pay the veterinarian a short busy to make sure. 

2. Dental Problems

Chewing on something as hard as commercial Rawhide chews are okay for your dog’s gums and teeth to a certain extent. However, once this becomes habitual, your dog will start to suffer from unforeseen dental problems. 

First, your dog might experience weakened teeth.

This means that the root between your dog’s teeth and its gum grew weaker due to excessive stress that was caused by your dog chewing on the hard Rawhide chews.

Since these chews aren’t considered “food” for your companion, you can think of it as your dog chewing on a stick of wood. Obviously, it wouldn’t be good for your dog to ingest it but it would be worse for your dog to chew on it for prolonged amounts of time.

Moreover, the gum of your dog might experience severe agitation, aching, and, in worse cases, bleeding. While the fact that this treat is very difficult to chew on makes it a terrible chew toy, some are also very brittle.

This is especially true for Rawhide chews with pointy edges such as those shaped to resemble a bone. Whenever your dog bites into it, the gums are vulnerable to scratches caused by such pointy edges, making it a difficult product to rely on.

In the case of weakened teeth and agitation along the gum line, we recommend that you first stop feeding your dog rawhides and other hard, brittle food products that might exacerbate the effect. Change its diet so that most of it consists of soft, easy-to-chew treats.

Next, as soon as possible, pay a visit to the veterinarian to make sure your dog’s gums can be treated.

It’s best to do this as soon as you realize your dog is suffering from gum-related issues as bacterial infections along the gum line is detrimental. It might lead to more problems such as extreme toothaches and, if worse, may lead to tooth loss. 

3. Reliability

Though this doesn’t apply to all Rawhide chews that are available in the market, this is a fact that most customers should be aware of. Rawhides are not legally considered to be “food” or a type of “consumable” for your dog.

What does this mean?

This means that Rawhide chews are industrially produced under different standards. They have different levels that they have to adhere to in terms of standards that must be considered in consumables such as bacteria count, sanitation, or expiration dates.

Although this doesn’t mean all Rawhide producers are to be scorned at for not keeping regulations, these companies do not have legal repercussions or the obligation to inform the consumers of certain things that a company for regular consumables would have.

Because of this little loophole, there still is a risk of some corporations taking advantage of this to reduce production costs.

It’s ultimately up to the owner to decide whether or not Rawhides are the right product for their dogs, but there are some inherent risks that come with the consumption of Rawhides for your dog.

Alternative for Your Dog

Greenies is the best alternative when it comes to consumable dental care products. It’s just like Rawhide chews, except these are easier on your dog’s gums as they are much softer. Moreover, they’re digestible as their products are wheat-based.

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If you want you let your dog chew on something that is as resilient as Rawhides but also digestible and nutritious, Greenies is definitely the way to go.

Related Questions

Is it OK for dogs to swallow rawhide?

If it’s in very small amounts, then yes, it’s okay to swallow rawhides. However, it’s just like swallowing a small piece of bark; it’s doesn’t really have negative effects, but that doesn’t mean that your dog should.

Is rawhide fattening for dogs?

No, because it contains very little to no fat. Traditionally, Rawhides are made with dried protein and fiber, so your dog shouldn’t see much fattening effects from eating Rawhides.

Can rawhide kill dogs?

Yes, they can. It’s important that your dog doesn’t swallow large chunks; it can lead to choking or fatal blockages.

Will rawhide eventually digest?

Yes. As most dog products, Rawhides are digestible. However, they take very long, so it’s strongly advised that you prevent your dog from swallowing large pieces.

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