Rawhide for dogs is a chewy, natural treat that pooches go bananas for. Read on to learn more about the benefits and the potential dangers of giving rawhide treats to pets.
Best Rawhide for Dogs
One of the canine’s natural instincts is chewing: unfortunately, if they don’t get a proper outlet for it, their drives can often cost us our favorite pair of shoes or furniture. That’s why chew toys and chew treats for dogs are so popular. They give our pets a way to channel their energy and the natural urge to chew stuff in a positive, sanctioned way so everyone’s happy and satisfied. You don’t have to worry about your valuable being destroyed by your mischievous pooch anymore and your pet gets to enjoy one of his favorite activities in the world. So, how do you go about choosing the right type of chews for your pet? After all, there are plenty of options out there and all of them have their pros and cons.
Why do I need rawhide treats for my dog?
If you’re big on natural products for your pet and want your pet’s chewables to have some flavor to them, then rawhide for dogs is a good choice for you. Tough and chewy, rawhide treats are available in all sizes and suitable for dogs of all ages. Rawhide treats also come in all kinds of shapes from bones to braids, so you can accommodate your pet’s preferences, as well. These dog treats are made from, as the name suggests, from a raw animal hide (usually cow or pig) and properly processed to get their signature texture and flavor. The fact that the ingredients are completely natural with minimal processing involved is what makes pet parents enthusiastic about rawhide for dogs and pooches love the rich flavor of these fun to chew treats.
In addition to being a fun chewable treat that will occupy your pet and give them something to gnaw on other than your shoes, rawhide for dogs is a great way to make sure your pet’s teeth are clean. Chewing on a tough treat like rawhide helps clean plaque and stimulates gums, which in turn promote good oral health overall.
Of course, there are potential downsides to rawhide treats, as well, the same as with all other treats and toys. For instance, your pet might not be too enthusiastic about the natural taste or rawhide (although there are flavored options available) or the toughness of the treat might be too much for them. This can be especially true for seniors or puppies- you have to take your dog’s unique needs into account. However, if you’re just unsure if your pooch will enjoy rawhide- feel free to give ‘em a try, because most dogs go bananas for the stuff.
Rawhide for dogs might be a simple enough treat but that doesn’t mean that any kind of rawhide will do. There are important things to consider when choosing rawhide treats for your pet, starting with safety precautions all the way to the chew power–you wouldn’t offer the same chew treat to a Great Dane and a Yorkie now, wouldn’t you? So before you grab a few of these tasty treats for your pet, read on to learn more about what makes rawhide treats great (and not just good!) and pick some pet parent faves from our list of best rawhide for dogs.
1. Editor’s Pick: Pet Factory Beefhide
These beef rawhide strips that are braided to make a tougher treat are made in the USA following a strict GFSI food quality standard. This tough rawhide for dogs will offer your pet hours and hours of chewing fun. With each treat being between 7 and 8 inches in size, these rawhide treats are a good fit for most dogs. To make these treats even more tantalizing–they are peanut butter flavored. Yummy!
2. Runner Up: Holsome Valley Pork Roll Dog Chew Treats
If you want best for your pet, you can’t go wrong with these premium dog treats. Made and sourced in the USA, these chews are made with human-grade USD–inspected meats. An alternative to the traditional beef rawhide, these treats are made from pork hide that’s lightly hickory smoked to get that irresistible flavor. These rawhide treats are never bleached, there’s no added sugar, salt, or any additives and preservatives. All-natural and all delicious! The size makes these treats ideal for medium and small dog breeds.
3. Best Chips: Vet Recommended Beef Rawhide Chips for Dogs
Made from USA sourced beef, these rawhide beef chips are naturally free from gluten, preservatives, and grains. As a result, you’re left with nothing but a delicious, all-natural treat that you can give to your dog guilt-free. Rawhide chips are suitable for dogs of all ages, however, the size of these chews make them a great choice for medium to large-sized dogs. Do you have an aggressive chewer? If so, you’ll be happy to know that these rawhide chips will satisfy your dog’s need to chew (without destroying things around the house).
In addition to tasting great and avoiding the unnecessary additives of many commercial treats, Vet Recommended Beef Rawhide Chips for Dogs are a helpful part of your dog’s dental care routine. The hard rawhide challenges your dog, encouraging heavy chewing which then helps to remove tartar from your dog’s teeth. In doing so, they help to improve your dog’s overall oral dental health.
4. Best Rings: Busy Buddy Natural Rawhide Rings
If your pet loves playing with one of many PetSafe’s chew toys, the reason for that is probably the tasty rawhide rings that are inserted inside. However, these rings get chewed off pretty fast if your pet is an eager chewer–so does that mean that the toy is useless as soon as the rings wear down? Luckily, there are replacement rawhide rings you can buy and ensure your pet gets many more hours of fun out of his toys. To boot, the rings come in three different sizes to suit the needs of all dog breeds, regardless of their size. Made from beef rawhide and peanut-butter flavored, these rings will extend the life of your pet’s favorite chew toys!
5. Best Bone: Castor & Pollux Good Buddy USA Rawhide Bone
All pooches love gnawing on big bones- and the size of this rawhide bone-shaped treat is ideal for small and medium breed size dogs. Made in the USA from USA-sourced grass-fed beef, this premium rawhide for dogs is all about quality and safety. The treat has a natural chicken flavor, too, so your pooch will love it even if he’s a picky eater. To meet the need of all the pooches, these rawhide bones come in various shapes and sizes ranging from 2”-3” for puppies and mini breeds all the way up to 10”-11” for extra large doggos.
6. Best Twists: Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists
Pig skin rawhide treats are a great alternative to beef hide, and many dogs prefer them over cattle-sourced chewy treats. These particular treats are made from real pig skin that has been baked, smoked, then baked again to provide a superior tough chewy texture and trademark smoky flavor. The 5-inch twisted rolls are a great choice for medium and small breed dogs. And since one pack holds 20 tasty treats, they are pretty budget-friendly, as well.
7. Best for Small Dogs: Dentley’s® Traditional Rawhide Chew Chips
Chew chips rawhide is not always a good choice–but for light and moderate chewers and small to medium dog breeds, these thin pieces of rawhide can be a lot of fun to chew on. Made from beef but with chicken flavor to make the treats more palatable to pooches, they will keep your pet occupied and their teeth plaque-free.
8. Best Long-Lasting: Chunky Chews Jumbo Braided Rawhide Ring
Who said that large dogs can’t get to enjoy rawhide? When you pick the right size and toughness of the treat, even a big dog can have hours of chewing fun with his new treat–instead of crushing it up in seconds as it usually happens. This beef rawhide is braided and shaped into a ring to prolong the chewing time, and made from grass-fed, free-range Brazilian beef. Ideal for big dog breeds such as German Shepherd, the Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, and many others. Just make sure your pooch is not an aggressive chewer before you leave them alone with the treat!
9. Honorable Mention: Pet Factory American Beefhide Bone
This is another good choice for large breed dogs. Measuring 15 inches and 1.5 inches in width, this extra large dog bone will give your pooch something to chew on- and for hours at a time. Made in the USA from American beef hide, this big dog bone is both safe and appealing to dogs (the combination of tough texture and chicken flavor leaves no pooch indifferent). And if you prefer thicker but shorter treats for your dog, you can opt for the 12-inch version that the company offers as an alternative–it’s 2 inches wide.
10. Best Rawhide Alternative: The Honest Kitchen Beams Ocean Chews Wolfish Skins
Now, for something that’s completely different- yet it will appeal to pooches that love rawhide treats. Made out of dried wild-caught Atlantic Catfish skin, this chewy natural treat will ensure your pet gets all the important essential fatty acids through fun play. Made in the USA with human-grade quality ingredients, these treats are a healthier, low-fat alternative to chew treats and beef rawhide. Just a fair warning: these fish skins stink like nobody’s business! Needless to say, your dog will go bananas for them but the smell might be too pungent for you. This might be just the treat to be enjoyed in the backyard or on the porch!
What are the benefits of rawhide bones and treats?
There are so many different dog treats out there, so what makes pet parents choose rawhide for their pets? These treats have many benefits, but their main advantage is their chewability. There’s a reason why puppies love to gnaw on leather shoes, after all- and rawhide for dogs can be a perfect substitute for those mischievous pooches. The toughness and the unique texture of rawhide make it especially tantalizing to dogs, whose natural instinct is to chew things- when they are teething when they are bored, or simply when they want to ‘explore’ something with their mouth. That’s why it’s crucial to redirect your pet’s attention from your valuables to appropriate outlets such as chew toys and treats. Similarly, pet parents appreciate that rawhide is made from natural materials.
As the name suggests, rawhide for dogs is the untanned part of an animal’s skin–in most cases, the source is cattle, but there are pig rawhide treats as well. To make rawhide treats, manufacturers use minimal processing: the inner part of the hide (outer is tanned to make leather goods) is split, washed and subsequently shaped into different forms. In some cases, flavoring may be added to improve the taste and make treats more palatable for picky pooches.
Naturally, not all rawhide for dogs is the same quality and often, if you don’t choose properly, rawhide treats might be more bad than good for your pooch. There are many concerns about the safety of rawhide treats, but once you know what to look for, you will know how to make sure these natural chew treats are completely safe for dogs.
Is rawhide for dogs dangerous?
It’s more likely than not that you’ve heard somewhere how rawhide is bad for dogs and that you should avoid giving it to your pet, that’s not necessarily true. Yes, rawhide treats have some significant downsides but they are not universal: it depends on the individual situation. For some pooches, rawhide is a fantastic choice and some could have serious health issues if they nibble on these treats. So how do you know when is rawhide dangerous for your dog?
Destructive chewers that annihilate any kind of chew toy and chew treat in seconds shouldn’t be indulged with rawhide treats. The reason for this is that rawhide for dogs is supposed to be broken over time and if a dog is too aggressive with chewing and manages to break off larger pieces and tries to swallow them, they could pose a choking hazard or lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. That’s why you should always supervise your pet to see if he’s gnawing a bit too rough- you don’t want them to eat the treat.
Rawhide for dogs is not easily digestible and swallowed pieces can swell in the intestines and cause a blockage, so it’s important that your pet doesn’t ingest larger pieces of it. Of course, for most regular dogs this won’t be an issue as they’ll use the rawhide as intended: a chew toy that’ll last them for weeks, if not months.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you get rawhide from untrusted sources or pick those that are not rigorously inspected before being placed on the market you risk giving your pet contaminated treats to chew on. The way rawhide is made and processed varies greatly and sometimes, the hide can be subjected to harsh and toxic chemicals that could harm your pooch. This is often the case for rawhide treats from China that could be treated with formaldehyde or coated with titanium oxide to get a lighter color.
The way to ensure rawhide treats for dogs are safe for your pet is to supervise them during play, avoid giving these treats to power chewers, and pick US or local made rawhide over cheaper alternatives sourced from dubious factories.
What to consider when buying rawhide for dogs
If you want rawhide treats that are safe, durable, and tasty to boot, you’ll have to pay attention to different factors, such as:
Country of origin
A good rule of thumb is to avoid unregulated chew treats from China as you can never know with certainty if they are completely safe for your pet to put in his mouth- the risk of contamination and toxic chemicals being used for processing is far greater. When you buy rawhide for dogs that has been sourced and processed in the US, you can rest assured it went through rigorous controls before it comes into your pet’s paws.
Needless to say, when it comes to chew treats, you don’t want to give your pet too much of a challenge as it beats the purpose, nor do you want a treat that’s too small and poses a choking hazard for your large doggo. Choose according to your pet’s breed- if you have small and toy breeds, go for small or puppy size rawhide treats, and if your pet is large and has a strong jaw, the big bones and strong large rawhide braids are the choices for you.
Believe it or not, the color of rawhide treats says a lot about how processed they are. The lighter the treat is, the more chemicals were used to get it to that color–which is why experts recommend going for natural, darker rawhide. White rawhide treats are often bleached and even though it doesn’t have to necessarily mean that they are toxic for your pooch, the goal with rawhide is offering your pet a natural treat which means minimal processing.
Rawhide treats are usually made from beef, but there are exceptions- pork, horse, and buffalo are some other available options. Naturally, the rawhide has a leathery, natural flavor that most dogs seem to like, but if your pet is more used to commercial dog treats that are artificially flavored, rawhide might be too bland for his liking. In these cases, you can opt for flavored rawhide–there are plenty of options from chicken to peanut butter.
Is it OK to give my dog a rawhide everyday?
It all depends on the dog! If you have an aggressive chewer that breaks down rawhide treats in a matter of hours, giving them one every day isn’t a good idea – they might ingest it and that could cause a gastrointestinal upset. If your pet chews it moderately, as they are supposed to, you can give them one everyday, for an hour or two – a rawhide treat given in this manner should last for up to a week.
What if my dog eats rawhide?
Rawhide isn’t meant to be eaten, as it is not easily digestible. If your pet has broken off and swallowed a large chunk, it could lead to a blockage in the intestines and life-threatening complications. In the case that you notice that your dog has eaten rawhide, the first step is to check if you can see a piece of it lodged anywhere in the mouth or the airway, and remove manually or perform a Heimlich maneuver on your dog. The next course of action is calling your veterinarian to see what to do next – they might tell you to wait and see (monitor the pet’s poop and behavior) or ask you to bring in your pet for a visit to determine the gravity of the situation.
Why do dogs love rawhide?
Dogs love to chew – it is something that comes naturally to them – and rawhides are not just a perfect outlet for their chewing instincts, but they also have a tantalizing smell and flavor. Rawhide is just what the name implies: a raw, untanned hide (skin) of an animal, usually pig or cattle. When your dog chews rawhide and soaks it with saliva, it only becomes chewier and the aroma intensifies – it’s clear why they go bananas for it!
When can I give a dog rawhides?
Rawhide is tough and can be too much of a challenge for young puppies – not to mention it could damage their baby teeth. A good rule of thumb is to introduce your pet to tougher chew treats around 6 months of age, and it applies to rawhide as well. Just be sure to monitor them carefully to prevent them from biting off and swallowing pieces as it could lead to a world of trouble in no time.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
More by Angela Vuckovic