How to Safely Give Rawhides for Puppies

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A tan puppy rests its head and paws on a large rawhide bone
Nicole deVault - Author of How to Safely Give Rawhides for Puppies

Before giving a puppy anything but dog food, you should consult with your vet. Finding a rawhide that does not contain any dangerous chemicals is essential.

However, there is more to it than that. Giving your puppy the right size rawhide, and supervising them are essential to their safety. Here is some more information to help you understand if rawhides are right for your puppy.


What are Rawhides? 

Rawhides are one of the most popular treats for dogs of all ages, breeds, sizes. They are usually made from the lining of cow or horse hides. They are heavily processed-usually ground or cut, then pressed flat into all shapes and sizes. They are usually flavored with chicken, beef, or liver to make them even more appealing for dogs.

The nutritional value of rawhides is low. They are meant to be a treat. They are not meant to supplement your dog with anything vital. Giving your dog a rawhide should be a treat, not an everyday occurrence. Dogs with weight issues should especially be limited in their consumption. Consult with your vet about how often your dog should get this special treat.


Chewing in Dogs 

  • Dogs of all ages and breeds like to chew. The chewing instinct is stronger in some dogs than others, but it is a behavior that should be allowed. Allowing a dog to chew can alleviate anxiety and keep them occupied.
  • High energy dogs may have more desire the chew, and if restricted, they may turn to furniture and other household items. Rawhides are a great alternative to the leg of a couch or a pair of shoes! Other chewing toys should also be available to your dog. Most dogs enjoy having a little variety!
  • Dogs with separation anxiety can also benefit from a good chew. This activity allows them to relax and just be focused on what is in front of them. When crate training your dog, rawhide can be a tool in the introduction. Associating something positive with the crate can allow them to feel safe and secure when they are closed inside of their crate. The rawhides should be used when your dog is supervised in the crate, but eventually should be phased out.
  • Puppies teeth just like young humans. They lose their first set of baby teeth and get a new set. The process can cause major discomfort in their gums and jaws. Like young children, puppies will enjoy mouthing and chewing to alleviate the discomfort. Rawhides are great because the puppies can really dig their teeth into them and massage the gums. It also will prevent them from chewing on your hands and ankles!
  • Chewing can help keep your dog’s teeth clean. It prevents plaque buildup that would eventually turn into tartar. Rawhides are not an alternative to brushing your dog’s teeth, but it can aid in day to day plaque prevention.
  • Exercising your dog’s jaw is also a health benefit of chewing. Like the rest of their bodies, they need to work out their jaws to ensure healthy development.
  • Rawhides can be an especially good option for elderly dogs that like to chew. When they are older, some dogs have teeth issues that make them more prone to cracking or breaking. Rawhides are a softer alternative to synthetic bones, that can still exercise your senior dog’s desire to chew.

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Can Puppies Eat Rawhides?

The processing of rawhides is not strictly regulated. Like any type of meat or animal product, there are chances of contamination. Many rawhides are processed in other countries. This means from the time the process starts to the time you purchase your dog’s treat, a lot can happen. These treats can be contaminated with Salmonella and even E.coli.

Doing proper research on the brand you choose will help you stay informed about what your dog is consuming. Like many products, you usually get what you pay for. Remember, rawhide is not a legitimate source of nutrients and should be given to your pup in moderation. 

Remember when selecting a brand of rawhides for your dog, to look at the chemical process. Be sure you aren’t giving your dog any harmful processing chemicals.

Puppies are much more prone to getting upset stomachs. They are still developing, and do not always have a keen sense of what could cause them harm. Their stomachs tend to be slightly more sensitive than adult dogs. 

Diarrhea and vomiting can occur if your puppy eats too much of a rawhide. When they are young, we are still learning what they can eat. Some dogs have allergies as well. If a rawhide upsets your puppy’s stomach, it is best to avoid them in the future.

Puppies can sometimes chew very ferociously due to teething, it can pose a risk when giving them rawhides. Their puppy teeth are sharper and they may be able to tear off bigger pieces than they can safely swallow. 

Always supervise your puppy when giving them a rawhide. During teething, rawhides should not be the sole chew toy for your puppy. Make sure they have a variety of options including sturdy teething toys.

Choking is one of the biggest hazards for puppies chewing rawhides. Supervising them and removing the treat if it gets too small will prevent choking hazards. Some dogs will eat an entire rawhide in one sitting. Some will chew it for a few days before it is gone. 

Keep an eye on how much of the bone is left and If it is small enough to get stuck in your puppy’s throat, you should throw it in the trash. Blockages of the airway can be life-threatening. There are also some cases of blockages that are not life-threatening. Contact your vet immediately if your dog has something stuck in their throat. 


The Raw Truth on Rawhides For Puppies

Rawhides can be an excellent, special treat for your dog. Most dogs and puppies absolutely love them. Like most dog treats, they are meant to be an occasional reward or indulgence. They do not have much nutritional value and can be too much for a dog with weight issues. 

Always do your research on where your dog’s rawhide comes from. Giving your dog a rawhide can expose them to unhealthy chemicals and bacteria. Puppies are especially susceptible to the dangers of rawhides. 

Be sure you always supervise them while they are enjoying the special treat. If you follow these guidelines you can safely add rawhides as special treats for your pup!


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Meet The Author 

Nicole deVault - Author of How to Safely Give Rawhides for Puppies

Nicole DeVault

Nicole is a professional dog trainer who has been in the business for about 5 years. She has two dogs of her own. Milli is a ten-year-old Beagle with plenty of sass to go around, and Axel is her three-year-old Pit bull who has more energy than anyone knows what to do with. Both of her dogs are rescues who came to her with their own set of issues. Working with troubled dogs is where her passion for dog training started. She has grown to learn that teaching people how to communicate with their fur babies allows them to enjoy happy and stress-free lives together.

Working through a multitude of different dog problems has allowed Nicole to become very knowledgeable of the best products out there: collars, leashes, toys, treats, beds, crates, and even hiking, camping, and boating gear for pups with a more “extreme” lifestyle. Nicole is always learning and growing, so she can find what is best for her dogs and yours!