Did you know one of the most popular dog toys in the world is also one of the most dangerous? At supermarkets, in pharmacies, in discount bins at the pet store—rawhide chews can be found everywhere. From how they’re manufactured to the ingredients inside, these common treats are far from the natural chew toy they’re marketed to be. In fact, rawhide products often become a dog owners worst nightmare, resulting in vet visits for choking, poisoning, even emergency gastrointestinal surgery. Here’s why you should never give your dog a rawhide chew again.


From grimy warehouses in China, Thailand and Korea, to sketchy outfits in Central America, rawhide toys come from all corners of the earth. Because rawhide manufacturers are not required to list the origin of their ingredients, there’s virtually no way to tell where a rawhide chew was made, or how. Which is alarming, especially given that most U.S. pet owners are well aware of the risks associated with foreign-made, poorly regulated dog treats.



Turning animal skins into rawhide pet products is a long and winding process, with additional chemicals and toxins introduced at nearly every stage. To remove the hair and fur, for example, a surprisingly poisonous cocktail of sodium sulfide is used in what’s called the liming process. In another stage, the hides are washed and whitened using either bleach or hydrogen peroxide (remember, these are the same hides your dog chews and eventually eats!). Arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, and mercury commonly show up in tests of rawhide ingredients. And that’s not all—countless artificial preservatives, flavorings, dyes, paints and glues are used by manufacturers to give rawhide bones their trademark shape and look.


Rawhide pet products are typically made from cow or horse hides, but that’s not the whole story. In a shocking revelation, an investigation by Human Society International uncovered skins from slaughtered dogs were used in certain rawhide products from Thailand. Manufacturers informed investigators that these specific chew toys are commonly found for sale in U.S. stores. The thought of feeding your dog another dog’s skin is not only immoral, but just plain gross! If that doesn’t make you second guess rawhide pet products, nothing else will.


Perhaps the most common danger associated with rawhide chew toys is choking. Firstly, the knots at the ends of most rawhide toys are notorious for lodging in doggy’s throats. Secondly, as the rawhide softens into that infamous and disgusting goo substance the toys become a serious choking risk for your pup. These slimy, pliable pieces can get stuck everywhere from the roof of your dog’s mouth to deep down in their esophagus. It’s no wonder rawhide toys are among the leading causes of emergency veterinary visits.


If a consumed rawhide treat makes its way safely through the throat to the stomach, even more frightening complications can occur. Rawhide products can be difficult for many dogs to properly and entirely digest. Once stuck in the stomach or intestine, rawhide chew toys can swell, requiring immediate medical attention. Even when treated in time, long term damage is not uncommon in these cases. There’s a laundry list of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with rawhide consumption—such as diarrhea, loose stool, stomach pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, and more.

Looking for safe alternatives to rawhide bones and toys? This resource will help!

Jonathan Patrick
Tagged: Pets