Are Rawhides Bad For Dogs?

October 31, 2020 4 min read

Rawhide is an extremely commonly used treat that is given to dogs. People give these treats to their dogs because not only does it keep your dog’s brain stimulated and helps remove bacteria and food from their teeth. However, research has shown that these rawhide bones may not actually be good for your dog. 


What Is Rawhide Made Of?

Animal Skin: 

Rawhide is exactly what it sounds like: the skin of an animal. They are predominately made from cows, but can sometimes be made of other livestock. Though, it is the process of creating rawhide bones into what we see in the pet stores is what makes it pretty questionable. 


Lye is an extremely strong alkaline chemical and one of the harsh chemicals used to separate the hide from the animal. Typically, when people handle lye, they have to wear protective gear because it can damage your skin.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

Once the skin has been separated, the rawhide is bleached using hydrogen peroxide to create the white color that you see in rawhide bones. Unfortunately, the bleach is not actually helpful for our dogs, but rather, it is to make it more appealing for us, the consumers. 

Other Toxic Materials: 

Once this process has been done, the rawhide will becoated with various artificial coloring as well as flavors
Now, you may have asked yourself, “how does this rawhide even last as long as they do?”


Rawhide has been tested that toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium, salts, formaldehyde, and more have all been detected in rawhide. These chemicals are what allows rawhide to last. 

Rawhide bad for dogs

Is Rawhide Bad For Dogs? 

The biggest reason why we recommend not feeding rawhide to your dog, besides all the other chemicals that are used for flavoring, coloring, and conserving the shelf life of these hides, is because of intestinal blockages that it can cause in your pup. 

Sometimes people feed bones that are either too small or too big for the size of their dog. Due to this,their dogs may swallow pieces that are too big for them to swallow leading them to choke or cause a blockage. 

Rawhide Alternatives: 

Raw Dog Bones

If you look intoraw dog bones, you will see just how amazing they are for your dogs! Different raw bones havevarious health benefits, such as cleaning your dog's teeth. 

Please remember not to give your dog cooked bones, as they are more prone to splinter and can lead to internal damage or intestinal obstruction.
Also, make sure that you are feeding an appropriate size bone to your dog. If you have a smaller dog, make sure to give them a small bone versus a bigger bone and vise versa.

Finally, make sure to supervise your pup while they are chewing their delicious treats.If you have a puppy, it is recommended to only give them raw bones once they reach older than 6 months old.

Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are an extremely popular treat for dog owners to give to their pups, and for good reason! They are great because they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and bully sticks are also easier to digest than rawhide bones since they are 100% digestible beef. 

There are bully sticks that are curled that are great for dogs that go through the straight bully sticks too quickly. There are also bully sticks that are shaped in more of a ring that helps stimulate the brain more, as they are more challenging to chew. 

Yak’s Milk Chews

This is a great chew for dogs that need something that is a bit tougher.Yak cheese is extremely thick and makes it a bit harder for more aggressive chewers to eat through.Due to the tough nature of the cheese, Yak’s milk chews will clean your puppy's teeth, and last extremely long which is ideal in our book! 

Yak milk has also been shown to be very rich in magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium. Although, we recommend that you do not feed this to your puppy, seniors, or dogs that have dental problems as they could risk damaging their weakened teeth. 

Fish Skin Sticks

Fish are a great source of protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids.These nutrients are great for helping the skin and coat of your pup, especially for those dogs that are prone to allergies. Plus, they are much easier to digest when compared to rawhide bones. 

Frozen Carrots

If none of these other treats are piquing your dog’s interest and you want something that you might be able to find in your fridge, frozen carrots are a great alternative. 

They are an extremely simple, one ingredient treat to give to your pup.Frozen carrots are also nutrient-rich and contain several antioxidants and vitamins such as beta-carotene--aka vitamin A.

Before feeding, make sure that the sizes are an appropriate size for your pup as well! 


This is another extremely natural ingredient that you can get at your local farmers market that is great for your pup!Pumpkin is a great source of fiber for your pup, and also contains beta-carotene. 

For dogs that have either diarrhea or constipation, pumpkin is great because of the fiber content. This vegetable is also much easier to digest than anything rawhide. 

Remember that no matter what you are feeding your dog, whether it’s rawhide bones, raw bones, or any type of chew, you are watching and monitoring their activity carefully. Pieces may break off that is too large or too small for your pup, and this can become a choking hazard.