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I was just sitting here doing some work, and Kaiser was chewing on a rawhide bone. I saw the piece he had was too small and went to take it from him, but he just clamped down on my fingers. I kept trying to get it out, but he finally just swallowed it...

The piece wasn't that big, but I'm concerned. Is he likely to have something go wrong? Is there anything I can/should do?
 

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All three of my dogs chew rawhide bones all the time, eating them comes along with that.

Unless the piece was ungodly in size, I wouldn't worry. Dogs digestive systems are beasts.
 

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All three of my dogs chew rawhide bones all the time, eating them comes along with that.

Unless the piece was ungodly in size, I wouldn't worry. Dogs digestive systems are beasts.


Not when it comes to rawhide.





A lurking danger to your pets

From Raw Hides to Rawhide Treats

By Dusti Summerbird-Lockey

I am an Oglala Lakota artist and craftsperson. I have been doing Traditional work such as making rawhide, tanning leather, beadwork and quillwork for over 30 years. It is because of my knowledge of making rawhide and my deep love for all four legged creatures, most especially my Great Danes, I felt compelled to write this article for you. Hopefully it will help save lives.

We see them in all the pet stores, the grocers, the feed stores. Everywhere. So we assume they are safe for our pets. They must be, they are sold everywhere. Right?

Think again.

Rawhide treats are a danger to your pets, and to your children if swallowed.

Rawhide is just exactly what it says, a raw dried out animal hide. This includes not only the rawhide bones & chews but also pig ears, pig snouts, bull tails, cow ears, lamb ears, choo-hooves, etc. The vast majority of rawhide pet treats are not made in the United States. But even those marked “Made in the U.S.” are a hazard.

A piece of rawhide purchased as a treat for your pet is a hide, usually bull, cow or horse obtained from slaughter houses, that has been scraped clean of all vestiges of meat, fat and hair. Rawhide, however, can be made from just about any animal. For Native Americans and early Europeans, it was the sheet metal, nails and binding material of the day. Rawhide was used to repair items such as horse gear and broken gunstocks. It was used in cabin construction as door hinges, windows and truss bindings and Mandan Indians used rawhide in the construction of their boats. As you can see, rawhide is a very strong, durable, heavy-duty item that does not easily break down

Still want to give it to your pets?

How is it made? Rawhide is made for commercial use from bull, cow and horsehides obtained from slaughterhouses as a byproduct of the meat industry. The flesh side is scraped clean of all remaining meat, membrane, fat, etc. Traditionally this is done by hand, using a drawknife and scraper. Modern day tanneries use a form of a band saw to speed the process up and make a nice clean piece of leather. Commercial manufacturers of rawhide products have machinery to do this. Once the flesh side is cleaned, the hair must be removed. There are two traditional ways of doing this. One is to “dry scrape” by hand. This is extremely time consuming, not to mention the amount of good ol’ fashioned elbow grease! Commercial makers of rawhide do not use this method.

The other method is to soak the fleshed hide in either an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. The Ash-Lye involves covering or soaking the hide in a mixture of wood ash and water, which creates Lye. The hide soaks for approximately. 3 days in the Lye solution, then as much of the hair as possible is scraped off. The process is repeated until all hair is removed.

The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This utilizes ordinary builders powdered (hydrated) Lime. The hide soaks for 1-3 days and the hair is scraped off. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production.

To remove all traces of the Lime solution and to sanitize the rawhide product, commercial makers then rinse the hides in a bleach solution before creating whatever shape is to be used. The bone and other shapes used to attract you and your pet are created while the hide is still wet. The “treats” are then either dried or sent for “smoking” to further entice the unsuspecting owner and pet. A processed rawhide can shrink up to half its original size when dried.

If the chemicals used to make these “treats” haven’t convinced you to stop, please consider this:

When rawhide is again wetted, usually when your pet salivates over this chew you have provided, it will slowly regain its original size. When your pet tears off and swallows a piece, that piece then has the potential to swell inside your dog’s stomach. Your dog’s gastric juices WILL NOT break down the rawhide. Once swollen, the piece then has the potential to cause anything from mild to severe gastric upset, to death.

Been giving rawhide treats for years with no problems?

My friend, you have been extremely lucky. But your luck WILL run out one day.

Are you certain that you want to gamble with your beloved friend’s life?

Don’t believe me?

Take the rawhide challenge. Cut varying sizes from different rawhide products and set them in a bowl of water to soak before going to bed. In the morning you will see the sizes that they have grown to. They will vary, but the increase should be noticeable.

What should you give as a chew treat?

The following products are all digestible and safe for your pets.

Budda Chew Products- all digestible chew bones and treats

Muscle Chews- all digestible, contains no hide product.

Bull Pizzle Chews- all natural alternative to rawhide.

Healthy Edibles- all natural health chews, completely digestible and contain no sugars or fillers. Available at Pet Supplies | Dog & Cat Supplies, Pet Meds | DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Products

Raw shank or knuckle bones- these should be given only under your supervision and with some knowledge of RAW or BARF feeding methods. Contact Jacque Jordan at

214 529 8355 for more info on RAW feeding or visit You are today’s WINNER! to learn more.

Kong rubber products are great chew toys, which can keep dogs very busy, especially when a little peanut butter and dog biscuits are wedged inside for them to work out.

Distributed as a courtesy by Great Dane Angel Network Enterprises, Inc.
Danger Rawhide
 

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Gosh, I would at the very least keep a very good eye on him and by all means quit giving rawhide. I had a scare years ago when my dog swallowed an unraveled knot and it stuck in her throat shaped like a U. Luckely the curved part of the U was at the top of her throat but she lost consciousness and I had to dilate her throat with my fingers and fork my finger in the U to pull it out. There was a ton of bleeding but she started breathing right away. I always assumed it was safe since I was right there supervising her but had the U been at the bottom of her throat, turned the other way, I would not have been able to save her. Since then I not only do not give it to my dogs but I throw other peoples away when I see it. My neighbors quit buying it for my dog neices and nephew because I would go over during the day and throw it all out without appology.
 

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Almost fifty years ago, the vet school at Ohio State University removed pieces of what was then a new thing for dogs from our Irish Setter, along with several feet of dead intestines. He lived (which surprised everyone), but he was sooo hungry for the next fifteen years! It was a stupid thing to give dogs then, and it is even more stupid now. The only dried animal part amusements I give to dogs are bully sticks and beef trachea, and those with supervision.
 

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heres another article from Whole Dog Journal

What Rawhide Is
Most people are surprised to learn that rawhide is a by-product of the leather industry -not the beef industry. It might seem logical that, in a beef-producing and beef-eating country like the United States, we’d be practically rolling in rawhide for dogs; in fact, there is currently a glut of beef hides produced here. But U.S.-produced rawhide is in very short supply. How can this be?

As I said before rawhide is a by-product of the leather industry; its production starts in a tannery -and tanneries are rare in the United States today. One rawhide company representative I interviewed estimated that there are about 30 in the whole country; Mexico, in comparison, may have in excess of 3,000.

Tanneries use an enormous amount of water -and thereby create an enormous amount of waste water -to process beef hides. The cost of all that water, in addition to environmental laws, neighbor complaints, and the relatively higher cost of a relatively unpleasant business have all contributed to today’s shortage of tanneries in this country. According to Cattle Network, an information resource for the cattle industry, the U.S. exports more than $1 billion worth of hides annually to China alone; we are China’s largest source of hides from cattle, sheep, and pigs. Hides from American cattle fetch top dollar; the breeds of cattle here and our seasonally cool climate combine to produce a thick, consistent hide that, in turn, produces top-quality leather.

Cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries for processing. Like any perishable meat product, the hides should be handled in a manner that prevents or minimizes decay. Hides that will be processed quickly, in this country, are generally iced and delivered to the tannery within no more than a few days. The vast majority of hides, however, go directly from the kill floor into a brine-filled trough; the highly concentrated salt solution arrests any protein-destroying organisms. The hides “cure” in the brine bath for about 12 to 18 hours before they are packed and shipped for export.

Of course, exportation takes time -and though the brining process helps slow decay, it can’t prevent it forever. Hides sent to China are typically trucked to ports on the West Coast, where they are packed into containers and loaded onto ships. It may take weeks or months for the hides to reach the tanneries in China and continue the process that turns them into chews for our dogs.

Once at the tannery, the hides are soaked, treated with lime (which helps strip the fat from the hide), de-haired (through physical and a chemical process), and then de-limed (accomplished by numerous water rinses). They are then treated with chemicals that help “puff” the hide, making it easier to split into layers. (“Full-grain” leather is made from unsplit hides.)

The outer layer of the hide is further processed into leather goods -car seats, clothing, and so on. The inner layer is the source of rawhide (and collagen, which is made into gelatin, cosmetics, and glue, among other things). Very thick hides may be split into three or more layers (hence the global popularity of thick American cattle hides).

Rawhide: The inner layer
Finally, we’ll talk about what happens at the rawhide dog chew manufacturing facility. In simple terms, the rawhide is washed; sanitized; formed, cut, rolled, and/or shredded and pressed into its final shapes; dried; packaged; and shipped for sale. But the actual simplicity of the process depends on freshness and quality of the rawhide.

Truly fresh hides -those that have been iced and refrigerated and delivered to the rawhide manufacturer within a few days of the source animal’s slaughter -require far less processing with chemicals than aged (and preserved) hides. “Sanitizing” in this case generally means some time in a bath of hydrogen peroxide. Exported hides require more extensive interventions.

Even though the brining process inhibits decay, it doesn’t arrest it altogether, and most exported rawhides are literally black with rot by the time they arrive at the rawhide processor. That means, at a minimum, they have to be bleached to improve their appearance and aroma; if the decay is advanced, they may also be treated with other chemicals and even painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.

The global recession has slowed the demand for leather luxury goods; even the formerly strong market for leather for car seats has diminished as car sales have dropped to record lows worldwide. As a result, tanneries are buying fewer hides and producing less leather -which means they have less rawhide to sell to the makers of rawhide dog chews. It’s a bit ironic that these manufacturers are now scrambling to secure rawhide, even as containers of cattle hides have begun to accumulate all over the globe.

“Made in the USA”
The freshness factor alone is a good reason to try to buy American-made rawhide chews for your dog. But it’s also true that it’s less likely that illegal or toxic chemicals are used in the products’ manufacturing if the products are made in the United States. Lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals have been detected in low-quality hides.

Read that label carefully, by the way. The pet product manufacturers are aware that many pet owners see “Made in China” or other indications of foreign manufacture as a red flag, and they are ingenious at finding ways to make their products look as if they were domestically produced. I’ve seen products with American flags on the label that were made overseas. Even the phrases like “made in America” or “made from American beef” are abused; sometimes, the fine print will reveal that what’s meant is Mexico, or South or Central America. There is a difference!

Some companies have made a case for the use of South American (especially Brazilian) beef hides. They say that cattle there are raised on grass, with fewer hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics, resulting in a healthier, more natural rawhide. Their competitors in the U.S. counter that cattle raised in warm, equatorial climates are thinner-skinned -resulting in thinner, less chewy chews -and that foreign manufacturing can be dicey. Both arguments have some merit, which is why I don’t use country of origin as my sole (or even the most important) selection criterion when shopping for dog chews.

Instead, I look at the thickness of the hide itself (thicker is better, because it will take longer for a dog to chew) and its color. Extremely white hides are unnatural; they have to be bleached and/or painted to appear so white. Natural or lightly bleached rawhides are a light tan, like a manila folder. These less-processed hides retain more of the natural flavor and aroma of the hide. “Basted,” smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors, and so I avoid them.

Speaking of odor: It stands to reason that the dried skin of an animal would naturally present some aroma. However, a rawhide chew really shouldn’t smell rotten or putrid; such an odor could indicate a high bacterial load. On the other hand, neither should a rawhide chew be completely odor-free! This would indicate that the product had been subject to extreme bleaching and chemical treatment.

More selection criteria: Form and function
I admit that I have a strong bias about the form of the rawhide chews I buy for my dog, Otto. I want a chew that will take as much time as possible to chew up, provide a lot of exercise for his jaws, help clean his teeth, make it difficult to ingest a lot of rawhide in any one chewing session, and present the lowest possible risk of choking. These criteria eliminate very many of the rawhide products on the market, which seems silly to me; every rawhide chew should meet these requirements.

So, to start, I won’t buy any rawhide products that have small or intricate pieces. I examine “knotted” products carefully; the best ones are made from a single sheet of rolled and knotted rawhide, whereas inferior products are made with separate, smaller pieces of rawhide forming the knots on the end of a rawhide “roll.” After just a few minutes of chewing, the knots loosen and separate from the roll; these small pieces can be swallowed whole, presenting a serious choking hazard.

Neither do I buy products that are made of shredded and pressed-together tiny bits of rawhide. The makers of good-quality rawhide chews say they use natural (and beneficial) collagen as a binder for these products. But since ingredients panels are not required for these products -which, despite the fact that dogs ingest them, are not considered a food item by the Food & Drug Administration -there is no sure way to know what binding agent has been used as the product’s “glue.”

The rawhide products that seem to best fit my selection criteria are the “rolled” products, made from a square of rawhide that’s been rolled up like a newspaper and dried. As the owner of a big dog, I look for the longest rolls I can find, so they last as long as possible before they are chewed to a length that my dog could possibly swallow. Then I take them away. Owners of smaller dogs could probably start with shorter rolls, but what’s the point? The longer the roll, the longer it will last.

The first thing I look at when buying a rawhide roll is the end of the roll. That’s the only way to see whether it has been made from a single, long sheet of rawhide -or whether a smaller sheet has been wrapped around a lot of bits and fragments of rawhide. As with the knots that are separate from the roll on some knotted products, these bits will be quickly released from their rawhide sheath as the dog starts to chew. And what do dogs do with small chunks of edible matter? Most dogs swallow any chunk of rawhide they can chew free, whether it is soft and safe or sharp and dangerous


 

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Good article on rawhide. Koa had a rawhide retriever stick when he was younger and got a piece stuck in his throat, he coughed and coughed and coughed and I finally had to reach in and pull it out - since that second he's never gotten another rawhide of any kind. I usually stick with the all muscle stuff now, a small shop here carries a really good bully stick - and even with those I watch him like a hawk.
 

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Rawhide is too risky for my taste. We use bully sticks and raw bones.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I only use the rolls because I know the knots were often just small pieces wrapped around each other, but it got pretty small, and like I said, when I went to take it, Kaiser thought he'd get cute and just swallow it instead. I slept with him last night in hopes that I'd be able to hear or notice if anything went wrong, and there were no problems. He ate his breakfast and his dinner, and has pooped twice today. So, I don't think there's any sort of blockage.

I'm going to say no to rawhide from now on, though. Thanks, everybody! And thank you for not just flaming me for feeding him rawhide, too :p
 

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Don’t believe me?

Take the rawhide challenge. Cut varying sizes from different rawhide products and set them in a bowl of water to soak before going to bed. In the morning you will see the sizes that they have grown to. They will vary, but the increase should be noticeable.
Why would you soak them in water? A dogs stomach contains Ph levels that can drop down to 1. Pure hydrochloric acid has a Ph of 0, for reference. Place them in a diluted form of that, say with a Ph of around 2.5-3.5 and see what happens. ;)

I checked the bones I give my dogs and they say made from pork skin. Usually the pieces they get off are tiny and negligible, in my opinion. Better to be safe than sorry though right?
 

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Wow, I learned something about the pig ears/snouts. I have been giving those beMy cause I thought they were digestible, but probably NOT, so now I have to check out the bully sticks.

I started another thread about Dexter's gastroenteritis attack - he's in the vet's office now & overnite for observation, with IV and catheter. I gave him a new ground up stick that was supposedly made of chicken, only I didn't notice in small print "ground up? rawhide". My vet said a lot of dogs are allergic to chicken, by the way.

I also tried deer antler chew. Both of my dobes yawned, and it's just a doorstop now.

I have to have something for them to chew, Kaleesi is teething, and Dexter is a 23 month old chomper. I have tried the Kong w/ peanut butter & kibble (frozen) -- it works, just time consuming and messy!

Rawhide bad. Pig ears & noses will be missed by my dobes, tho.
 

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I used to give raw hide a time ago. I believe they are dangerous. Why not give him a raw turkey neck instead? The ones from the grocery store are small but if you go to a meat market they are a very nice size. For inside I use nylabones. Hopefully there will be no problems. Cujo in the past has swallowed some pieces of raw hide with no issues. But since learning the dangers we pass on them now.
 
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