Although rawhide treats are known for how effectively it reduces your dog’s stress levels and, in some cases, improves dental health, there’s a significant amount of dog owners that have had very unpleasant experiences with the product. So is it safe for puppies? If so, what age can puppies have rawhide?
So, what age can puppies have rawhide? It is safe for your puppy to start chewing on Rawhide treats after they are 6 months old. However, if you have doubts as to how well your dog’s mouth has developed over time, we always recommend that you take longer than six months for the sake of your dog’s safety.
But what kind of safety concerns are there that discourage dog owners to start providing their puppies Rawhide treats before six months? Are these concerns eradicated once these dogs grow older? Are there other illnesses that could potentially rise from these Rawhide products that you should be aware of?
3 Rawhide Safety Concerns for Puppies
Puppies are delicate, so they have many different safety concerns when it comes to a lot of things. Rawhide treats are one of them.
In fact, these products are a larger safety hazard for puppies than they are for adults for multiple reasons:
- Their mouths aren’t as developed, so the gums are quite prone to cuts and breaking down.
- Their teeth are still delicate.
- It’s very difficult for your puppy to digest these rawhide treats.
1. Weak Gums
It’s obvious that puppies do not have gums as tough and resilient as those of adult dogs. This is the exact reason why Rawhide treats are terrible on your puppy’s oral health before six months.
Rawhide chews are meant to be gnawed on for a very long time and are made out of leather and other hard, brittle materials to make sure the treat is resilient.
Unfortunately, these very traits of Rawhide products are what can cause many different oral infections due to the puppy’s weak gum lines.
Because your dog’s mouth is full of bacteria, any cuts or scrapes can expose your dog to a high chance of contracting illnesses such as Canine periodontitis.
Usually, infections that happen in your dog’s mouth lead to inflammation in gum which further increases the likelihood of more cuts and scrapes along the gum line.
This, in turn, exacerbates the infection that can ultimately lead to tooth loss and consistent bleeding.
The other potential cause for your dog’s gums to be damaged by Rawhide chews are the debris that breaks off of the chew.
Because of how hard Rawhide chews are, pieces break off involuntarily instead of them ripping off into smaller pieces under the dog’s control. Because these pieces tend to be very sharp, your dog’s reckless way of chewing on the treat can lead to deep cuts!
If these problems are problems for your puppy or your dog, we recommended that you immediately take away Rawhide treats and stop providing them to your dog until its oral health improves.
Instead, start giving it soft, chewable, and digestible food before you take it to the veterinarian to make sure that your dog’s condition isn’t getting worse.
Though these injuries can heal over time, if the bacterial infection is left unattended, it can be devastating to your dog’s health.
2. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is another concern for puppies when they are chewing on Rawhide treats.
As it is commonly known, these chews are not completely natural; instead, they use many different types of chemicals that are not necessarily healthy when consumed in large amounts.
In fact, this is an especially large problem because Rawhide treats are not regulated in terms of standards for consumables since they are not considered “food.”
This means they are legally able to include excessive amounts of poisonous chemicals that help with the treat’s aesthetics and preservation.
If your dog ends up getting chemically poisoned from these treats, there is not much you can do at home. Immediately start the detox process by feeding it lots of water; it’s the best way to release all of the harmful chemicals out of your dog’s system.
However, this is a good idea only if you have already visited the veterinarian and was told that there shouldn’t be any problems. It is important that you go to the doctor immediately when your dog seems to be struggling with anything.
As all dog foods go, there is a risk of choking, especially if your dog is still a puppy with a tiny throat. This is because, more often than not, Rawhide treats break off. If a large piece ends up lodged in your puppy’s throat, it can be fatal unless you act quickly!
In the case your dog begins to choke, especially for puppies, you should hold them by the hindlegs and flip them upside down to see if you can get the lodged object out of its system. If this doesn’t work, resort to using the Heimlich Maneuver. Place your fist over your dog’s stomach and proceed to make push up motions to get the stuck object out.
Does It Get Better After 6 Months?
For most of these illnesses, not really.
However, food poisoning gets better and the risk of your dog facing gut obstruction decreases dramatically because first, your dog has a stronger immune system and second, it’s digestive system is so much more robust than it was before.
Unfortunately, Rawhide chews are still choking hazards and open your puppies up to so many other unnecessary risks.
Therefore, we recommend the softer, chewier alternative that has a lower risk of indigestion problems and blockages: Greenies.
Greenies is equally chewy and takes long for your dog to completely finish the product. However, it’s made out of soft materials, which completely eradicates the oral infection risks that are present with Rawhide treats.
Moreover, because these snacks are great for your dog’s dental health as it cleans plaques and other residues in the process, they have additional nutritional benefits that your puppy and dog can greatly benefit off of.
Also, Greenies come in many different sizes and compositions, so you even feed your puppy some of the chewy treat!
Not until they are at least 6 months old. And even then, they pose a choking hazard and can be the cause of other digestive issues.
Though all chews have their pros and their cons, we strongly recommend Greenies, especially if you are keen on making sure that your dog’s dental/oral health is well-maintained. Greenies also focuses on getting rid of bad breath, so there’s that for another plus.
No, it’s very difficult for dogs to fully break Rawhides down. In fact, at times, they even swell up after they enter the dog’s system, becoming a threat of intestinal blockages.
Though we mentioned Greenies as a consumable, medical chew treat, there are safe chew toys in the market. If you are looking for something for your puppy to chew on, we strongly recommend toys because they pose almost zero health threats unless they are consumed.