Are Rawhide Bones Harmful to Dogs?

Rawhide bones are a fun chew toy option.

Rawhide bones are a fun chew toy option.

Shopping for dog treats, toys and bones can be a daunting task for new parents as well as veterans. If you are contemplating a new chewie for your pooch, a rawhide bone is one option. Weigh your pros and cons before making a decision.

Pros

As a natural instinct, dogs are drawn to chew on things. Rawhide bones provide a much better solution than your new favorite shoes. Chewing reduces anxiety and stress, as well as alleviating boredom. Chewing on rawhide bones can also help reduce plaque and tartar buildup from dogs' teeth.

Cons

There are a few things to consider before handing over a nice, juicy rawhide bone to your pooch. Although the risk is low, it is possible for your dog to get bacteria or toxic chemical contamination from the rawhide chewie. If she tends to have a sensitive stomach or allergies, you may want to choose a different type of chew toy. If she is allowed to chew for long periods of time, she may get digestive irritation, diarrhea, bleeding gums or jaw soreness. Limit her chewing to short segments of time, say 10 minutes or so, then offer a different item, maybe with a squeaker.

Choking and Blockage Hazard

Keep an eye on your little guy when he is gnawing away at his new rawhide bone. Since these break into pieces as they are chewed on, it is possible for your dog to swallow pieces that may get stuck in his esophagus or even, later on, in his digestive tract. Blockages or choking can result from this. Consult your vet immediately if you suspect your pooch is in distress. Always take the bone away when he has whittled it down to a small enough piece to be swallowed.

Warning Signs

If you notice your canine companion regurgitating, gagging, vomiting or repeatedly swallowing, or if he has fever, diarrhea, lower-than-normal energy levels or any other unusual symptoms, consult your vet immediately. If you are in doubt, call anyway. It's better to be on the safe side than to have your four-legged friend suffer needlessly.

Size

Always buy chew toys and bones that are appropriately sized for your specific dog breed. A shih tzu doesn’t need a 10-pound bone and a Bernese mountain dog will just swallow a two-inch bone whole! If you have any questions, or are looking for suggestions on which rawhide bone to get, ask your vet for advice.

 

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images