Hi, I’m Doctor Fiona Caldwell, and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering questions for pet owners today for Pets Best. And this question is, “I have a new puppy, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about giving a dog rawhides. Do you think rawhides are safe to give to dogs?” This is a really good question. It’s a little bit tricky for me to answer because it really depends on the dog.
So rawhides are meant to be kind of gnawed on, and then when they get a little soggy, you should really take them away. They should never be swallowed whole. They should never be eaten very quickly. They are just meant to be kind of chewed on for awhile.
So if you have a dog that does that, and just gently chews on them, gnaws on them, then leaves them alone and then comes back, great. Rawhides can be useful for boredom. You can get rawhides that have ingredients that help with dental issues so they can be helpful to keep the teeth clean.
However, if you have a dog that gets possessive over treats, or inhales them, or swallows them whole, or makes them really soggy and then swallows them whole, you’re probably going to want to avoid rawhides in these dogs. They can cause GI upset; I’ve seen vomiting and that type of things, so it really depends on the dog.
She even uses some of the key phrases I use like “it depends on the dog” and “if your dog inhales them…”
I would add that I make sure to seek out American produced rawhide products. There have been so many problems with pet products produced in other places that it’s better to be safe than sorry. I also never recommend the kind of “rawhide” that looks like lots of bits smushed together into a cute shape like the lollipops in the photo. They remind me of furniture made out of particleboard. These are too easy for dogs to bite off in big chunks.
If your dog does eat rawhide (or other chews) too quickly, try buying a size larger than recommended for his size. I always do this with Greenies anyway. It makes the chew more challenging and should slow down your dog. But continue to keep an eye on him since once it’s small enough he may still swallow the whole thing.