Is Rawhide Bad for Dogs? Yes, and Here's Why (Plus Safer Alternatives)

Is Rawhide Bad for Dogs? Yes, and Here's Why (Plus Safer Alternatives)

Posted on November 3rd, 2023

When it comes to keeping our furry friends happy, healthy, and entertained, many dog owners turn to rawhide bones. 

After all, these chews are a staple in pet stores and are often marketed as a way to satisfy your dog's natural chewing instincts. 

But, is rawhide bad for dogs? 

In this article, we'll explore the topic of rawhide for dogs, why it can be harmful, and offer safer alternatives to keep your canine companion content.

What Is Rawhide?

Rawhide is the inner layer of cow or horsehide. To create rawhide chews, this inner layer is stripped, cleaned, and then subjected to various treatments to make it suitable for dog consumption. These processed rawhide chews come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them readily available for pet owners looking for ways to satisfy their dogs' natural chewing instincts.

Rawhide chews have been a common choice for dog owners for several reasons:

  • Chewing Entertainment: Dogs have a natural inclination to chew. Rawhide chews are often used to keep dogs occupied, provide mental stimulation, and help prevent boredom.
  • Dental Health: Some believe that chewing on rawhide can help clean a dog's teeth and promote better oral hygiene by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Teething Relief: Rawhide chews can be particularly appealing to puppies during their teething phase, offering relief from the discomfort of incoming adult teeth.
  • Training and Reward: Small rawhide treats are often used as training rewards due to their size and chewy texture.

While these reasons make rawhide chews seem like a convenient choice, it's important to consider the potential downsides, which we'll explore in the following section.

Why Is Rawhide Bad for Dogs?

Now that we have a clear understanding of what rawhide is and why it's commonly used, let's delve deeper into the reasons why rawhide can be detrimental to your beloved canine companion. It's essential to be aware of these potential hazards associated with rawhide chews:


One of the most significant concerns with rawhide is its digestibility, or lack thereof. When dogs chew on rawhide, it softens, and small pieces can be swallowed. These pieces may not break down easily in a dog's stomach, potentially leading to blockages or gastrointestinal distress. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove blockages, putting your dog's health and your wallet at risk.

Chemical Processing

To make rawhide chews more appealing to dogs and extend their shelf life, they undergo extensive chemical processing. This processing involves the use of various chemicals to strip away hair and debris from the hide. Residues from these chemicals can remain on the rawhide, and when your dog chews on it, they may ingest these harmful substances. Over time, this can contribute to health problems and allergies.

Choking Hazard

Rawhide chews have the potential to break into smaller, sharp-edged pieces, especially when they become soft and pliable from chewing. These small fragments can be swallowed and may pose a choking hazard. A choking incident can be life-threatening and requires immediate intervention.

Potential for Contamination

Another concern is the potential for contamination with harmful bacteria. Rawhide is a natural product, and during processing and storage, it can be exposed to bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. If your dog chews on contaminated rawhide, they could ingest these pathogens, leading to foodborne illnesses and health issues for both your dog and your family.

Aggressive Chewing Behavior

Some dogs can become possessive and aggressive when it comes to their rawhide chews. This can lead to conflicts in multi-pet households or even pose a danger to family members. The territorial behavior associated with rawhide chews can create tension and should be carefully monitored.

As you see, while rawhide chews may offer temporary satisfaction for your dog's chewing instincts, the potential health hazards make it essential to seek safer alternatives that can provide the same benefits without the drawbacks. In the next section, we will introduce you to some of these safer alternatives that can keep your dog happy and healthy.

Safer Alternatives to Rawhide for Dogs

Now that we've discussed the potential drawbacks of rawhide, let's explore some safer and healthier alternatives to satisfy your dog's chewing needs:

1. Yak Bones

Yak bones, also known as yak cheese chews, are natural, long-lasting chews made from yak and cow milk. They are free from artificial additives and chemicals, making them a safer option for your dog.

2. Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are single-ingredient dog chews made from beef pizzle. They are highly digestible and provide a satisfying chewing experience for dogs without the risks associated with rawhide.

3. Earth Animal No Hide

Earth Animal No Hide chews are a great alternative to rawhide, as they are free from chemicals, additives, and artificial ingredients. They come in various flavors and sizes to suit your dog's preferences.

Making the Switch

Transitioning your dog from rawhide to safer alternatives may require some patience and encouragement. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition:

1. Introduce Gradually

Start by offering a small piece of the new chew to see if your dog shows interest. Gradually replace rawhide with the safer alternative over time.

2. Supervise Chewing

Always supervise your dog while they enjoy their new chew to ensure they adjust well and don't experience any issues.

3. Positive Reinforcement

Praise and reward your dog when they choose the safer alternative, reinforcing the positive behavior.

Related: Pomsky Care: 5 Major Benefits Of Raw Meat Diet For Dogs 

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, it's clear that rawhide, while popular, comes with several risks and potential dangers for our furry companions. As responsible pet owners, it's crucial to prioritize our dogs' safety and well-being. By opting for safer alternatives such as yak bones, bully sticks, or Earth Animal No Hide chews, you can provide your dog with a satisfying chewing experience without the associated hazards of rawhide.

At My Crazy Pomskys, we understand the importance of keeping your canine companion happy and healthy. While we specialize in offering championship bloodline Pomsky puppies, we also care deeply about the overall well-being of all dogs. 

If you're considering adding a new Pomsky puppy to your family, we invite you to explore our available Pomsky puppies.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (845) 866-1857 or via email at [email protected] with any questions or inquiries. Your dream Pomsky may be just a call or email away.

Discover the Magic of My Crazy Pomskys: Where Love and Paws Collide

We can't wait to hear from you and help you find your perfect companion! Contact us today to start the exciting journey of bringing a furry bundle of joy into your home. Our friendly team s is here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the adoption process. Get in touch now and let's make your dream of having a loving and loyal Pomsky by your side a reality.