Are Rawhides Safe for Dogs?

A corgi dog insured with Pets Best Insurance chews a rawhide.

Dr. Fiona is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats

Hi, I’m Doctor Fiona Caldwell, and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital.  I’m answering questions for pet owners today for Pets Best.  And this question is, “I have a new puppy, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about giving a dog rawhides. Do you think rawhides are safe to give to dogs?” This is a really good question. It’s a little bit tricky for me to answer because it really depends on the dog.

So rawhides are meant to be kind of gnawed on, and then when they get a little soggy, you should really take them away. They should never be swallowed whole. They should never be eaten very quickly. They are just meant to be kind of chewed on for awhile.

So if you have a dog that does that, and just gently chews on them, gnaws on them, then leaves them alone and then comes back, great. Rawhides can be useful for boredom. You can get rawhides that have ingredients that help with dental issues so they can be helpful to keep the teeth clean.

However, if you have a dog that gets possessive over treats, or inhales them, or swallows them whole, or makes them really soggy and then swallows them whole, you’re probably going to want to avoid rawhides in these dogs.  They can cause GI upset; I’ve seen vomiting and that type of things, so it really depends on the dog.

If you have questions for me, feel free to post below or Pets Best Facebook page.

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  • Robert H.

    I will never feed my dog rawhides again. The pieces he would bite off would get stuck in his throat. I would have to reach in there to get them out. If you choose to feed them to your dog, they should never be unsupervised while eating rawhides.

  • JONI

    Oh yes, i had a chihuahua who got her rawhide bone soft enough to get the knot off one end and swallowed it. She ended up with a blockage but luckily we put off surgery and a few days later it came out, so to speak. I no longer give my dogs rawhide at all.

  • Josh

    What about antlers? They don’t get all that soggy and we throw them out when they get small enough to be a choking hazard, but are there any risks in just letting the dog go to town fresh from the store?

  • Jason Bishop

    What about pig ears or bully sticks?

    I was told, not sure how accurate this information was, that those two are digestible and far better for dogs than regular rawhide.

  • Thomas Fry

    We give our dog Virbac Home Dental Car which are flat beefhide chews coated with substances that promote enzymatic oral hygiene. Our dog gets one each day in the evening. We have been doing this for well over two years with absolutely no problems. She chews them and swallows them…in bits and pieces. Since we get purchase these directly from our vet, under his recommendation, should we assume we are OK?

  • Donald Weckstein

    Dr. Caldwell:

    Are “beefhides” the same as “rawhides”?

    Thank you very much for your reply.

  • Howard OKeefe

    I have a Shepard/Chow mix. She has an allergy and I get shots for her. But continues to return and a couple of our kids(adults) are bothered by her they get a stuffy nores, and eyes tear. Is there a spray to use to ease this deal. I know there is one for cats. Or what else can be done for her allergy?
    Thanks in Advance

  • Crystal

    Its funny this topic popped up today. I gave my 4 yr old doberman a rawhide yesterday. He has eaten them since he was a puppy. I didnt realize there was such a threat with them til reading on it this morning after he threw up small pieces along with some bile. I am now watching him to make sure he eats and drinks which he has not done yet since 6 am. He has had a bowel movement and been playing. My question is he out of the woods as far as a possible obstruction and if not how long should I wait before taking him to my vet

  • Carole

    We have a year old chocolate lab who does like to chew and gnaw – destroys every toy we have given her. She doesn’t normally swallow them but tiny pieces might slide down. We gave her a rawhide when leaving her alone and it was pretty much gone in half a day. What do you suggest we give her.
    We are pleased that she only destroys her toys not any of our things.

  • Gerald

    What about pig ear’s? I’m interested in knowing…

    • Jacqui

      My dog died after eating a pig ear. She ate it too quickly and did not chew it up properly. I did not realize something was wrong until a few days later and she was off her food. She went to the vet and had emergency surgery but it had ripped her open inside and gone septic. She died a couple of days after surgery. I would not recommend pig ears or raw hides.

  • Sergemaster

    My GF and I will not give either of our dogs, (7 & 2) rawhide’s for various reasons. We recommend giving your dogs a raw bone containing marrow that can be purchased at any super marke. Better yet, Yak milk bones that can be chewed as well as swallowed. Once the pieces get small enough, you can microwave them and then you’ll have puppy popcorn. Check out your local organic pet store like CherryBrook and others..

  • victoria

    I have a question about dog food,I have tried science diet dry ,blue dog food dry,my mixed breed female chi/poodle mix won’t eat none of them,but found fresh pet refridgerated food she eats it all,she tried ceasar moist food picked at it ,then and now she loves the fresh pet moist food I need to know if this is a healthy food or not for her I want the best which I thought the blue food would be but she didn’t care for it all.pls any info would help.

  • sergemaster

    We use for both of our dogs the raw diet. We pick up several pounds of various meats, (Tripe, Chicken, Beef, etc.) that come in the form of Chubs, which sorta look like gigantic frozen Salamis. We feed each dog 8 ounces or about 1 pound per day with positive results. One of these is the absence of any nasty chemicals, or by-products especially corn based additives that are terrible for your pets. Also it has them drinking water less, since the hydration they need is contained in the meat itself. The raw diet is better also because in kibble, all of the nutrients are cooked out of it. So the raw diet will contain all of the vitamins and minerals that they need. I would also recommend adding Turmeric powder to their meals, as well as fish and a tablespoon of coconut oil. About 1000 milligrams total worth for the Turmeric powder, and a capsule for the fish oil twice daily.

  • Tom Bosch

    I dont give my dog regular rawhide, but the compressed rawhide from the bulk section at Winco. I’ve read online that the compressed is better because it digests easier than regular rawhide. I have a Great Pyranees/Lab mix, about 2.5 yrs, 121lbs. I get him the BIG compressed bones, which usually take him 2-4 days, depending on how interested in it he is. Thank you.


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