How safe are rawhide chews for dogs?
As is often the case, this is not a simple question with a black or white answer. The answer to this question depends on what type of Rawhide chew you give to your dog.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before answering the question let’s start by reinforcing the fact that there is an inherent danger to a dog from any type of chew, if left unsupervised whilst enjoying it. The most common injury or death involving a dog and a chew is choking. It is important to restate here that a dog should always be supervised when eating any type of chew.
Basic facts about rawhide chews.
So back to the question. How safe are rawhide chews for dogs?
Firstly, lets think about a couple of extra questions.
- Do you think that a rawhide chew is simply a chew made from rawhide? You are wrong!
- Are you clear on what rawhide actually is? Probably not!
There is a vast selection of products to choose from being sold as rawhide chews, in pet shops all over the world but the differences between them are huge.
Are rawhide chews really all the same?
It is these variations that will distinguish between a safe and truly natural rawhide chew and a highly processed and potentially toxic and thus dangerous one. The variations can be found right across the production process starting from the base material “rawhide”, through the processing of the hide and ending with the process of creating the final chew product.
What is rawhide?
Rawhide is the hide of a cow. The type of raw hide, and how it is processed after it is removed from the cow, is what makes some rawhide dangerous. Most commercially available rawhide chews are made from chemically treated and processed yellow rawhide and these are indeed potentially dangerous for your dog, due to the chemical processes they go through.
If you want to read about the yellow rawhide chew manufacturing process then follow this link. It is truly shocking to read!
What is the difference between yellow and white rawhide?
There are some naturally white rawhide treats on the market. These are truly natural and have not been chemically treated at all. They are indeed a natural treat in the true sense of the word.
There are different layers in a cow rawhide The difference between naturally white rawhide and yellow rawhide is that naturally white rawhide is the second layer of skin, that is fully digestible and already white, as opposed to the top yellow layer of the skin which is effectively leather and needs chemical processes to soften it in order to turn it into a palatable dog chew. Yellow rawhide is cheaper and not naturally digestible. The white rawhide is more expensive, naturally white, unbleached and unprocessed rawhide. It is not chemically treated, bleached or dipped in toxic substances.
So is a white rawhide chew always safe for my dog?
It is not enough to use the colour of the chew to differentiate the natural and safe chew from the toxic alternative.
Unfortunately, once the larger chew manufacturing companies realised that naturally white rawhide was safe and so was selling well, they started to bleach the inferior, considerably cheaper, yellow rawhide to make it appear white and to confuse the consumer. This made the product even more dangerous to pets, because now it was not only indigestible but also bleached and laden with further chemicals. This practice is still common today.
Where can I buy a white, truly natural rawhide chew?
There are only three companies that supply natural and high-quality white rawhide chews. Unfortunately, there are many, many more companies that buy cheap yellow rawhide and treat it chemically to make it look like the more expensive, natural product. One is 100% digestible and the other isn’t! This chemically treated and processed yellow rawhide (even later when bleached white) is dangerous.
The Woof Club only source their rawhide chews from Anco. Anco is a Scottish family company with 30 years’ experience in the pet industry, specialising in natural dog treats. Their raw material is the white rawhide and they do not use any chemical at any point before, during or after the production process. Their cattle are slaughtered on site, so the hides are fresh and do not need to be chemically treated to preserve them before production begins.
How are Anco Rawhide chews made?
Their production process can be seen in the chart below and the hydrogen peroxide used to disinfect the hide as referred to in step 1, is 100% food grade and the concentration is <3%.
Are all chickens the same?
To describe all rawhide chews as chemically processed and dangerous is not correct. It would be the same as classing a farmer who raises free range organic chickens the same as one who raises antibiotic-laden battery hens who spend their lives in the dark, unable to move. Both produce chickens, but there is a world of difference between them!
Be a responsible consumer
Until stricter standards are applied across the industry with respect to chemicals used in dog treats, it is up to the consumer to educate themselves about the quality and origins of the chews that they buy and to satisfy themselves that they are indeed natural.
We are confident that the natural rawhide chews supplied by Anco are indeed exactly that – natural, and thus safe for your dog to enjoy under your supervision.
The Woof Club are happy to answer any questions you may have about the products that we supply. Please do not hesitate to contact us via the contact form on our site or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also love to see your photos and hear your comments. Please keep them coming! You can send them to us using the email link above.