Is It Safe to Give My Dog a Rawhide?

For that reason, I only recommend rawhide products made in the United States. Dr. Johnson also prefers domestically made rawhides. Don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer and ask if their rawhides are completely sourced and made in the U.S.

Like any product from an animal source, rawhides can also be contaminated with salmonella, says Dr. Wismer. The same is true for pig ears, cow ears and similar items, she adds. Salmonella typically affects younger dogs and those with compromised health, and healthy dogs tend to be less prone to salmonella infection than humans. But it can be an issue for people in the household who come in contact with the rawhide. Young children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. Don’t let little kids play with or chew on rawhides, not even long enough for you to snap a photo for Instagram. And wash your hands after giving your dog a rawhide or putting one away.

The Upside

So is there an upside to giving your dog a rawhide? There may be. Chewing a rawhide helps to keep dogs mentally stimulated and out of trouble.

What about a rawhide's rumored teeth-cleaning properties? Anything that rubs against the teeth can help, but letting a dog chew a rawhide is no substitute for daily tooth-brushing or a professional cleaning that gets under the gumline where bacteria lurk.

What’s the verdict? For the vast majority of dogs, I’ve seen very few accidents from chewing rawhides other than digestive upset. If you choose to give your dog rawhide treats, know his chewing style, select one that's large enough that he can’t swallow it whole and only provide it when you can monitor the chewing. If he’s a gulper, not a gnawer, keep an eye on him while he’s chewing to make sure he doesn’t break off and swallow pieces. Put the rawhide away when you can’t supervise. Chew on!

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