Are Rawhide Bones Bad for Dogs?

Rawhide chews are popular treats given to dogs by their owners. Rawhide bones have been around for years and years, but there are mixed reviews amongst pet owners. For dogs, chewing is an innate instinct. Depending on your dog, your dog may love chewing for hours on end! For that reason, rawhide bones are great for dogs. 

In addition, chewing helps keep your dog’s jaws strong and their teeth clean. Dogs who chew on rawhide bones have less plaque and tartar build-up on teeth. However, there are some drawbacks of rawhide bones to consider.

In this overview, we’ll explore the real ingredients in rawhide bones and provide some natural alternatives to consider. This article will help you make a more informed decision when choosing treats for your dogs.

About Rawhide Dog Bones

Rawhide dog bones are made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. To make them, the hides are cleaned, cut, or ground. Then, they are constructed into dog treats in different shapes and kinds, some of which add extra flavor to make them appealing to your dog. 

Some dog owners are concerned about the other ingredients used in rawhide dog bones. Most of these dog products are made in China using chemicals in the process. There is a risk of contamination with bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. Coli. You might not really know what ingredients are in your dog’s rawhide bones. Furthermore, traditional rawhide chews sometimes have bleaching agents or preservatives to enhance their freshness. Exposure to these ingredients may be problematic for some dogs.


Another component to consider is the digestibility of dog bones for your dog. In general, dog bones can break off in large chunks and cause a potential hazard when swallowing. In addition, rawhide bones can sometimes cause serious obstructions in your dog’s digestive system. These chunks can stick in your dog’s esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, rawhides may cause some signs of digestive upset. 

In these instances, researching natural alternatives may be better to improve your dog’s digestive health. Many natural alternatives offer the same benefits as rawhide bones but are formulated to be easier to digest.

Natural Alternatives

Lots of natural alternatives exist for dogs if you are not comfortable giving your dog rawhide bones. Some dental dog chews are made from vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Another option is bully sticks, which are free from chemicals and preservatives.  With proper research and a talk with your vet, you can certainly come up with several feasible alternatives to replace rawhide bones.

Though some risks exist with rawhide dog bones, they can still be a safe option for some dogs. Your decision on which types of dog treat to use for your dog depends on personal preferences. In addition, it should also depend on your dog’s ability to digest rawhide bone ingredients. 

However, we always recommend the most natural options for all of our furry friends. See our full lineup of completely natural options here. 

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