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Rawhide Treats May Be Poisoning Your Dog. Here’s How!

by | Dec 14, 2016 | Pet Nutrition

Every time I visit a hyperactive dawgie, his parents end up feeding him a rawhide treat to keep him ‘engaged’ or ‘occupied’ for the next few minutes. Not just hyperactive, but most dogs seem to enjoy the chewy treats that are often interpreted as ‘calcium supplements’ or ‘bone alternatives’ by their parents.

Whereas the truth is that rawhide treats are far from being calcium supplements. In fact, they fail at being any kind of supplement, except for toxin supplement, maybe. To be honest, the name rawhide is a misnomer. In the words of world renowned veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, a more accurate name would be processed-hide, because the skin isn’t raw at all.

Let’s look at what the rawhide treats go through before they reach your dawgie’s jaw. This would probably help you decide whether or not to feed them to your furry baby.

Contrary to popular belief, rawhide is not a by-product of meat industry. It’s not made from bones; it’s not made from dehydrated meat. In fact, it’s a by-product of the leather industry.

As per this article on thebark.com, producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top grain is generally tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs.

The hides are treated with several rounds of toxic chemicals that ‘preserve’ the leather while it’s being shipped from the slaughterhouses to the tanneries for processing. The hides are treated with a highly toxic solution of sodium sulphide liming to remove residual hair and fat from the hides, and then washed and whitened using hydrogen peroxide and several other bleaching solutions. Few other substances that are known to be used in the processing of rawhides include lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals (all of which are known to cause cancer).

In fact, there are reports of dog skins being used alongside other hides for the production of rawhide chewable treats in Thailand.

After the beaching process, the hides are colored, flavoured with synthetic agents to make them look and smell delicious for dawgies. 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.

Since there is no regulatory authority in India to control the quality of these chews (and they do not fall under the purview of FDA – because they’re chew toys, not food), the manufacturers of these leather strips are free to use whatever chemicals they deem suitable for the process.

Rawhide treats start out hard, but as your dawgie chews on them, they become soft and eventually into turn into a lump of chewy, slimy piece of leathery bubble gum. At this point, they stop offering any dental benefit, and in fact, become a choking hazard. If your dog swallows a large piece of rawhide, it can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove it from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.

Do you still think rawhide bones are a good way to keep your dog occupied? Think again, it’s not worth putting his life at risk.

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