Rawhide Dog Treats Can Kill
While I covered this topic under dog toy safety tips, I think it warrants repeating. Rawhide dog treats are dangerous and can kill. I know I know; you've used them for years and never had a problem. I hope you never do but they are not only dangerous, they are unhealthy. Even though you may have never had a problem, every year thousands of dogs do often requiring expensive life saving surgery to remove rawhide from their stomach or intestines. Not every outcome is happy. Some don't make it and some are never even brought to the vet and end up dying. So the potential to be affected is very real.
Rawhide dog treats come in all shapes and sizes; bones, twists, hooves, pig ears and snouts, bull tails, flat and round chew sticks and more but they all go through the same process, more or less before they make it to the store shelf.
How Rawhide is Prepared
The hide, usually from cows, bulls or horses and in the case of some imports, dogs, have to go through a process to remove the hair from the hide. This involves soaking the hides in a lye solution for several days. Do you know how caustic Lye is? There are drain de-cloggers and paint strippers that are lye based. It is a very caustic and dangerous chemical.
After all the hair is removed the hide is washed in a hydrogen peroxide or a bleach solution. You can buy bleach in any supermarket but do you know what bleach is? Its chlorine and caustic soda created by applying an electrical current to a sodium chloride solution which is nothing more than common table salt and water. Chlorine is very caustic and dangerous and the "caustic soda" created in this process is LYE. This is how the hide your dog chews on and swallows is prepared. This process alone is enough reason to not give these to your dog but that's not the end of it.
While still wet the hide is shaped into whatever shape needed for the final product. It's then dried or smoked and other chemicals for flavor may be added. Once dry it is approximately half the size it is when wet.
What Happens to Rawhide in Your Dog?
When your unsuspecting dog starts chewing on this crap it gets wet again. What happens to these rawhide treats when they get wet? They swell back up to there original size. Anyone who has seen a dog devour one of these items knows that they not only chew it, they eat it. So now your pooch has a swelling piece of rawhide somewhere in its body anywhere from the throat to the stomach and then the intestines. Now you have a potential hazard for choking or a blockage in the intestinal tract. Your dogs digestive juices do not break down the rawhide and as this swollen piece of rawhide moves along it can easily become a dangerous blockage that will require emergency surgery to remove. If it isn't removed your dog faces the possibility of death and even if the surgery is performed, any time a dog undergoes surgery there is always the potential of an unhappy outcome.
If these facts aren't enough to convince you to stop giving this junk to your beloved best friend then consider this. Most rawhide treats sitting in your local pet store are imported from China and Thailand. The fact is that in these countries dogs, and cats face unbelievable abuse and are brutally murdered for the fur industry. The by-product of that industry is of course dog hides which are then used to make those rawhide treats sold around the world. This is not hearsay and if you have a strong stomach you can check it out for yourself at http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/DogCatFurBooklet.pdf I caution you that this material is graphic and disturbing.
So please carefully consider whether or not the risk is worth it. You may have dodged the bullet for years as far as choking or blockages are concerned but what effect is chewing and swallowing these chemicals having on your dog in the long term. For me it's not worth the risk and beyond that I won't support an overseas industry that does the things they do to dogs to make a buck.
Always be conscious of the qualty of dog toys and chews you buy and be sure they match the chew strength of your particular breed.
There are plenty of safe toys and chews available for your dog to enjoy. Many are available right here on this website so please make the best decision for your furry friend.
To find safe dog toys you can click here. Then click on the category "Safe Dog Toys"