NEVER Feed This Treat to Your Dog

Never Feed This Treat to Your Dog

The holidays are upon us! That means (hopefully) spending some time with family, and some definite extra time with our four-legged best friends!

It’s always so cute to encourage the dogs to shred the paper from their gifts each year. I often think they really DO know what to do, and they understand the gift is for them!

Franklin knew just what to do with his gifts.

One toy, one popular treat is resoundingly off limits: rawhide. Never feed this treat to your dog!

A Dangerous Gift

My dogs used to ALWAYS receive a rawhide bone for Christmas. They would also chomp on rawhides periodically throughout the year. Dogs love rawhide (let’s face it, most dogs love anything that’s given to them) We see all those amazing rawhide displays for the holidays, how can you even stand NOT to get your dog a bone that’s bigger than they are!

When I was a kid, our dogs always ate rawhides. None of those dogs had problems with them. What’s the difference today? I do believe, today we are more educated and have more information to make the best choices for ourselves than years ago.

In my dog health studies, I learned about the ugly underbelly to the rawhide processing industry. Like so many other dog food related items I learned about, I was shocked to realize it is so bad for our pets.

Rawhide Processing

Those rawhide chews begin at the slaughterhouse. The skins are first removed from the cattle carcasses. Then they are treated with a chemical preservative to keep them from spoiling during the transport to the tannery. Once the hides arrive at the tannery, they are treated with a toxic solution of sodium sulfide. This helps to strip off the hair and fat that may still be attached to the hide. The more desirable top portion of the hide goes to the leather industry, while the bottom is left for rawhide production.

Have you ever noticed how rawhides are so white, at least the ones that aren’t dyed? That’s because the next step in the process is to bleach them. Skins are cleaned and whitened with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, bleach and sometimes formaldehyde (remember, that dead body preservative).

The rawhides are then rolled and formed into the many shapes that we’re familiar with. To get them to stay like that and not unroll, they’re glued. GLUED! If the hides aren’t a desirable color, they can be tinted and dyed to hide the icky cowhide color. Do you need any more reasons to never feed this treat to your dog?

Then, of course, they have to taste good! Flavoring is added to make them more palatable. Your veterinarian may have rawhide dental chews. Avoid these too. They’re created with the same processing, but with the added “bonus” of having a dental chemical added at the end of the process. Yet another reason to never feed this treat to your dog.

Rawhide Processing Video

If the chemicals don’t scare you away, the choking hazard will. According to Dr. Karen Becker, the consistency of rawhides makes them have a higher choking and obstruction hazard than other types of chews. If your dog has ever chewed up a rawhide, you know how slimy and gummy they get. Dogs eat these, and the blob of rawhide can cause an intestinal obstruction that is harmful, if not fatal to dogs.

Finally, since rawhide is not part of the food industry, the processes and treatments are not regulated by the FDA, who has some oversight on healthy food production both for humans and pets in our country.

Don’t get me wrong, the rawhide by itself is not toxic. I actually think it’s great that the meat industry works to cut down on waste, and it’s also good that some parts of the animal that humans don’t eat are used in pet foods. It’s the processing, preserving, and choking hazard that makes rawhide such a bad treat. You should really never feed this treat to your dog.

Some Alternatives to Rawhide

animal dog pet dangerous
Photo by SplitShire on

Kong Toys

These are fun to stuff with peanut butter, some dog food, or both and then freeze. Never leave your dog unattended with a new chew toy. Other enrichment options include topple toys and lickmats, which stimulate your dog’s brain too.


Dogs can chew and eat most bones that have not been cooked. Bones contain calcium and nutrients your dog needs. Chewing also stimulates saliva enzymes which helps keep plaque buildup and gum disease at bay. Beef and lamb bones are large enough for a big dog, and most smaller dogs may enjoy gnawing on an uncooked chicken or turkey bone. Most vets and experts recommend against sharing weight-bearing bones with dogs, as these are too tough and can break teeth.

It’s very important the bones are uncooked, as cooked bones can splinter and cause damage to your dog’s esophagus or stomach.

Some dogs may be overzealous upon getting such a decadent new treat! If your dog hasn’t enjoyed a big meaty bone before, monitor her and take the bone after 15 minutes or so. Store bones in the refrigerator.

Remember to consult your vet regarding new diet additions such as bones.


Carrots pack a nutritious crunch, are low in calories, and are a rewarding treat for your pooch! Freeze a large carrot and reward your best friend with a healthy chew. Always remember to monitor your dog with new chews!

Himalayan Dog Chews

I recently learned about these fancy cheese chews and made some for Wally. Himalayan chews are usually made with yak or cow milk, lemon juice, and a bit of Himalayan Pink Salt. Dogs chew on them and soften them, in turn the treats last a long time and are an effective tooth and gum cleaner.

The batch I made were not pink like the commercial product. They had the consistency of hard plastic and looked like large, blocky yellow french fries. Wally enjoyed them thoroughly, Oliver not so much.

A potential con with this treat is that they are quite hard. An older dog or dog with any dental issues could break a tooth on one. The treats I made also seemed to splinter apart fairly easily. The treats are intended to soften up when they become wet, but I wonder about them being a choking hazard as well.

Pros to Himalayan dental chews are that they are made with only a few ingredients, and the milk used helps with digestion. It is also high in protein and low in calories. This is a good gnaw treat for a dog who is watching her figure.

The holidays are quickly approaching! No doubt, if you’re a dog lover like me, then your list probably includes a gift or two for the dog(s) in your life. What are some of the favorite treats and gifts that YOU like to share with your best friend?

shallow focus photo of long coated white and gray puppy
Photo by the happiest face =) on

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  1. Pingback: Do Dogs Like The Holidays? | Best Friends Kitchen

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