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Rawhide - The Dangerous Chew

By contributor Lyndsay Marvin

There’s a dog chew toy on the market that may seem harmless; but don’t let it fool you, it’s dangerous.

We’re talking about rawhide.









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Photo made by: Rodney Habib

Rawhide is made by splitting cattle hide. The outside part is made into leather, and the inside (the raw part) becomes rawhide. At first glance, consumers don’t see anything wrong with it. Dogs are naturally interested in rawhide, and if your dog has ever had it, you know s/he loves it! It’s branded as a natural product, so what could be the problem?

Well, the problem is the way it’s made (and the serious issues it can cause).

First, the hides are sent for chemical processing to preserve it (i.e. prevent spoiling). They’re soaked in an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming.

“This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves,” according to Dogs Naturally Magazine. The extra rawhide is made into human products such as glue and gelatin.

The hides are then turned white with bleach and hydrogen peroxide (after all, hide isn’t naturally white). Artificial dyes and colors are used to turn the rawhide into different colors and smells.






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“In the case of bubble-gum flavoring alone, the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning,” according to The Bark.

Other things that can found in rawhide are arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and even parts of dog skin (usually from Thailand). So basically, your dog could be eating his fellow friends. It’s incredibly disturbing.

As if this entire process isn’t bad enough, rawhide can also cause blockages and choking. Pieces of rawhide that are too large can get stuck easily in the dog’s digestive system. Often times, emergency surgery needs to be done to remove those pieces. Unfortunately, the surgery isn’t 100% successful.

There are so many dangers associated with rawhide, yet it’s found in almost every grocery and pet store. It’s important to become familiar with these dangers, so that rawhide will (hopefully) no longer harm our furry loved ones.


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