Many pet owners enjoy giving their dog rawhide chew toys. Rawhide is made from the hide of cows or pigs, and it can be chewed by dogs for hours on end. It may seem like a great way to keep your dog occupied, but many veterinarians warn against using these chews due to possible health risks related to impaction and toxicity.
Read on to learn more about why some vets advise against giving your pup any type of rawhide chew toy.
Overview Many pet owners give their dogs rawhide chew toys because they believe it’s safe and healthy for their pets. But according to Veterinary Partner, “Some veterinarians suggest not giving any type of hard treat or toy because of the risk that the dog might swallow it and get an intestinal blockage.”
The Animal Clinic of Clifton is more pointed in its warnings about rawhide. They simply state on their website, “Dogs should never be given any type of rawhide chew toys or bones because they can obstruct your pet’s intestines.”
Summary There are many medical reasons why some vets warn against giving dogs rawhide chews, but the main reason is that they can cause intestinal obstructions in dogs. When ingested, these chews have the potential to pass through the digestive system in one piece instead of being slowly broken down into smaller pieces by stomach acid.
If your dog does swallow a whole rawhide chew, you’ll likely see symptoms including vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or a decreased desire to drink water. If your dog does swallow a whole chew, you should take him to the vet immediately for surgery and follow-up care.
Pros & Cons The main benefit of giving dogs rawhide chews is that they tend to enjoy them and will spend hours chewing away at them. Some pet owners say that their dogs become so fixated on these chews that it’s difficult to get their attention or stop them from chewing. However, there are also several cons associated with using rawhide chews. For starters, many veterinarians warn against using rawhide due to the health risks involved with intestinal obstructions or toxicity.
Also, if your dog doesn’t digest rawhides completely, he might pass them in his stool. In this case, it’s important not to get attached to the chew because you’ll have to take it away from your dog when finished.
Prevention As with many other things in life, prevention is key when it comes to using rawhide chews. The Animal Clinic of Clifton advises pet owners, “The safest way for a dog to enjoy a chew treat is if the owner selects the right one and then supervises consumption.”
This means choosing rawhide chews that are soft enough to be easily ingested by your dog but hard enough so they don’t break apart into smaller pieces. Make sure you read all labels on any type of rawhide chew before giving it to your pup and monitor him for any possible side effects.