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Is Rawhide Safe for Dogs?

By Colleen Williams
published: August 27, 2018 - updated: July 27, 2020 • 2 min. read
is rawhide safe
is rawhide safe

What is rawhide?

Rawhide is exactly that – the raw hide from the inner layer of a cow or horse’s hide. The rawhide is cleaned and pressed into different shapes and sizes, and then formed into dog chews and treats. These chewy strips, ropes, and braids start out hard, but as your dog works on it, the chew becomes softer. While it’s obvious that dogs love these treats, we have to wonder – are they safe?


Are rawhides safe for dogs?

Depending on where you look, there tends to be stark differences in opinion regarding whether or not rawhide is safe. If the rawhide you choose is not over-processed with toxic chemicals then rawhide can be safe, depending on your dog’s chewing style. If your dog is a “soft chewer,” then rawhide is deemed okay to chew due to the breakdown that comes with soft chewing. On the other hand, if your dog is a “heavy chewer,” there is a more likely chance that your dog will break off large chunks of rawhide and swallow, which can cause choking, intestinal blockage, or even intestinal tears.

Rawhide alternatives for dogs

Because of the risk, we recommend safer alternatives to rawhide. A good substitution for a rawhide roll is faux-hide, such as Earth Animal’s No-Hide Chews (they even come in different flavors like chicken, salmon and beef). These chews are healthier, easily digestible and allergic-pup friendly. An even better choice? Carrots! Carrots are a great option as they are completely natural, easy accessible, and are a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.

Additional alternatives:

  • Bully sticks (available odor-free)
  • Yak’s Milk Chews
  • Edible Dental Chews
  • Fish Skin Sticks
  • Antlers

While these are all great alternatives, it truly comes down to your preference and your dog’s chewing habits and health. When giving a new treat, make sure to keep an eye on him and make observations on what works and what doesn’t. Find out more about safe chews and toys in our article, How Safe are Your Dog’s Treats & Toys?

If you love your dog like family and would be unprepared to pay thousands of dollars for an unexpected accident or illness, consider pet health insurance. By enrolling as a puppy, you can bypass pre-existing conditions exclusions, so your furry family member and your wallet are protected. Start by getting a free quote.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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