Rawhide is bad for dogs, despite the popularity of rawhide-based dog treats. Rawhide is full of chemical contaminants and can cause some series health issues for your beloved pup.
According to WebMD (yes, there's a WebMD for pets), rawhide can:
- Contain Contamination. Rawhide chews can contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals (i.e Salmonella or E. coli contamination)
- Choking or blockages. This is a big one. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.
- Digestive irritation. Some dogs are simply sensitive or allergic to rawhide or other substances used in their manufacture. This can cause problems, including diarrhea.
Rawhide is a byproduct from the cattle industry.
"To get from cattle to dog treat form, the rawhide is processed in chemicals, cleaned in water, bleach (do you really want your dog ingesting toxic chemicals like bleach?), or hydrogen peroxide, and dried. Sometimes they are smoked for added flavoring." - Canine Journal
Because of these issues (primarily the risk of choking and blockages), which we've seen plenty of horror stories about, we decided not to give our dog rawhide chews, and looked for alternatives.
Our goldendoodle is definitely a huge fan of treats, but its clear that he favors some over others.
Our Dog's Favorite: DreamBone
We're just going to start with our top recommendation. Of all the treats we've given our pup, one brand and type reigns supreme: DreamBone Twist Sticks.
Our dog absolutely ADORES these treats. And we like them too because they're not messy and easy to portion out. We even like to cut them up and use them for mental stimulation exercises and toys (our favorite is this Nina Ottoson puzzle).
If you haven't tried these yet, we highly recommend it. They're affordable (under $5 on Amazon, which comes out to just 9 cents per treat!) and they're easy to give your dog. Another pro is that these treats are in-between hard and soft, so they won't damage your dog's teeth and they take some time to go through. Plus they're rawhide-free!
Bully sticks are one of our dogs favorite chews, and when we get them from Amazon, we go for the Bark Worthies brand. This particular chew has the highest ratings we've found online and worked pretty well for us.
One recommendation is to get the 12" packs so they last longer. You can also buy a bully buddy to make sure that your dog doesn't choke on the small bits of the bully stick at the end. Sometimes our dog goes a little too hard on these, so we like to give them to him in moderation and with supervision.
Yak Cheese Treats
A little on the pricier side, but still highly regarded and recommended (maybe for a special occasion) are these Gold Yak Dog Chews. They're cheese based, and when your dog gets to the end, you can pop them in the microwave to make a little doggy cheese puff!
Pro-tip: Sometimes stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx will have discount versions of these treats available. I like to snag some Yak Chews and Bully Sticks when I see them there in the dog section.
Hope this helped! There's a whole world of healthier options out there for your pup and they don't have to be more expensive either. Happy days!