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A lurking danger to your pets
From Raw Hides to Rawhide Treats
By Dusti Summerbird-Lockey

I am an Oglala Lakota artist and craftsperson. I have been doing Traditional work such as making rawhide, tanning leather, beadwork and quillwork for over 30 years. It is because of my knowledge of making rawhide and my deep love for all four legged creatures, most especially my Great Danes, I felt compelled to write this article for you. Hopefully it will help save lives.


We see them in all the pet stores, the grocers, the feed stores. Everywhere. So we assume they are safe for our pets. They must be, they are sold everywhere. Right?

Think again.

Rawhide treats are a danger to your pets, and to your children if swallowed.

Rawhide is just exactly what it says, a raw dried out animal hide. This includes not only the rawhide bones & chews but also pig ears, pig snouts, bull tails, cow ears, lamb ears, choo-hooves, etc. The vast majority of rawhide pet treats are not made in the United States. But even those marked “Made in the U.S.” are a hazard.

A piece of rawhide purchased as a treat for your pet is a hide, usually bull, cow or horse obtained from slaughter houses, that has been scraped clean of all vestiges of meat, fat and hair. Rawhide, however, can be made from just about any animal. For Native Americans and early

Europeans, it was the sheet metal, nails and binding material of the day. Rawhide was used to repair items such as horse gear and broken gunstocks. It was used in cabin construction as door hinges, windows and truss bindings and Mandan Indians used rawhide in the construction of their boats. As you can see, rawhide is a very strong, durable, heavy-duty item that does not easily break down

Still want to give it to your pets?

How is it made? Rawhide is made for commercial use from bull, cow and horsehides obtained from slaughterhouses as a byproduct of the meat industry. The flesh side is scraped clean of all remaining meat, membrane, fat, etc. Traditionally this is done by hand, using a drawknife and scraper.

Modern day tanneries use a form of a band saw to speed the process up and make a nice clean piece of leather. Commercial manufacturers of rawhide products have machinery to do this. Once the flesh side is cleaned, the hair must be removed. There are two traditional ways of doing this. One is to “dry scrape” by hand. This is extremely time consuming, not to mention the amount of good ol’ fashioned elbow grease! Commercial makers of rawhide do not use this method.

The other method is to soak the fleshed hide in either an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. The Ash-Lye involves covering or soaking the hide in a mixture of wood ash and water, which creates Lye. The hide soaks for approximately. 3 days in the Lye solution, then as much of the hair as possible is scraped off. The process is repeated until all hair is removed.
The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This utilizes ordinary builders powdered (hydrated) Lime.

The hide soaks for 1-3 days and the hair is scraped off. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production.

To remove all traces of the Lime solution and to sanitize the rawhide product, commercial makers then rinse the hides in a bleach solution before creating whatever shape is to be used. The bone and other shapes used to attract you and your pet are created while the hide is still wet.

The “treats” are then either dried or sent for “smoking” to further entice the unsuspecting owner and pet. A processed rawhide can shrink up to half its original size when dried.




If the chemicals used to make these “treats” haven’t convinced you to stop, please consider this:

When rawhide is again wetted, usually when your pet salivates over this chew you have provided, it will slowly regain its original size. When your pet tears off and swallows a piece, that piece then has the potential to swell inside your dog’s stomach. Your dog’s gastric juices WILL NOT break down the rawhide. Once swollen, the piece then has the potential to cause anything from mild to severe gastric upset, to death.

Been giving rawhide treats for years with no problems?
My friend, you have been extremely lucky. But your luck WILL run out one day.

Are you certain that you want to gamble with your beloved friend’s life?

Don’t believe me?
Take the rawhide challenge. Cut varying sizes from different rawhide products and set them in a bowl of water to soak before going to bed. In the morning you will see the sizes that they have grown to. They will vary, but the increase should be noticeable.

What should you give as a chew treat?

The following products are all digestible and safe for your pets.

Budda Chew Products- all digestible chew bones and treats

Muscle Chews- all digestible, contains no hide product.

Bull Pizzle Chews- all natural alternative to rawhide.

Healthy Edibles- all natural health chews, completely digestible and contain no sugars or fillers. Available at http://www.drsfostersmith.com (http://www.drsfostersmith.com)

Raw shank or knuckle bones- these should be given only under your supervision and with some knowledge of RAW or BARF feeding methods. Contact Jacque Jordan at
214 529 8355 for more info on RAW feeding or visit http://www.barfdiet.com (http://www.barfdiet.com/) to learn more.

Kong rubber products are great chew toys, which can keep dogs very busy, especially when a little peanut butter and dog biscuits are wedged inside for them to work out.


http://www.daneangelnetwork.org/rawhide.htm
 

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i have given sumya rawhide in the past.i have not for quite sometime, but what about all the raw hide they have already swallowed, does that eventually work it's way out? great article thanks heather!
 

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Wonderful article, I used to feed my last dog rawhide but Kiah has never had any (that I am aware of) and I am glad that she hasn't.  Sams Yams natural sweet potatoe chews are wonderful and I hope to be ordering the bully chews from you.
 

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Ekim would always vomit after eating a raw hide, Delila never had any. I hope the bully stix are ok as they love them, I just need to buy some that don't smell.
 

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As with anything to do with our babies it is a personal choice.  The information you provided has some very valid points.  I don't agree with everything that was stated.  There are also several sites on the web that give the other side and there are many vets who recommend rawhide treats.  

We give our boxers rawhide.  All four of ours have had them (three from little puppies).  Not once has any of them ever had a problem with them in the 17 years they have been chewing them.  If you do a search you will find that there are more dogs with blockage from swallowed balls, torn or broken toys, etc. than from rawhide.  I do agree that you shouldn't just give your dog a rawhide (or any toy for that matter) and just leave them.  When our dogs have rawhide treats we are with them and take them away when they get too small or too sloppy.  There are also rawhide bones made in the USA that have been processed without chemicals.  Our dogs love to chew and go through the recommended treats in the article in a matter of minutes.  Yes they do get them occasionally but the rawhide bones last much longer and help with their urge to chew.  Our dogs have also all had very good and clean teeth ...even Calli who died at 14 and 11 months.
 

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Buck & Tia used to get rawhides all the time til I found one that Buck had thrown in the pool :roll: and it was huge!!!!! After that no more rawhide..Good article Heather
 

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Yeah Willow...I was going to say the same thing. Anyone that is curious to see what happens to rawhide when ingested, just throw one in a sink of water overnight, then look at it the next morning. Would you want to give your dog that????  8O
 

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:eek: :eek:  8O

I did not know this!!

I just went to the kitchen and checked out the 'treats' of rawhide. They are called Choostix - and they market it as the 'perfect' treat for dogs! "They satisfy the natural need to chew whilst reducing tartar and promoting healthy teeth and gums. Choostix are made from quality rawhide and is ideal for all breeds"!

Ok, so now I am officially freaking out!
 
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I felt this same way when I read this.  My dogs used to ALWAYS get rawhide bones.

What I don't understand is why they sell them if they can be bad for your dog.  You would think they would KNOW.  

:?
 
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bingasmom\";p=\"86991 said:
I felt this same way when I read this.  My dogs used to ALWAYS get rawhide bones.

What I don't understand is why they sell them if they can be bad for your dog.  You would think they would KNOW.  

:?
$$$$$$$$
 

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Has knowing ever stopped money-makers from lining their pockets? I am getting a bit angry now, thinking about it. I mean people really are that hideous that they sell these things? and come to think of it, I was stupid and complacent enough to believe everything that is written on the packaging, without checking it up.

Just wanted to ask - are kibbles okay? Zoe has kibbles for one meal and a home-cooked meal as dinner. I have started wondering about the Pedigree kibbles we give her.
 
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you are so right aquagirl...    sad but true.

its hard now to buy anything for my dogs without researching it first.  i'm going through a struggled deciding what food to get them   :(
 
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kibble is ok, but I would shy away from pedigree...it has a lot of fillers such as corn, wheat and soy- many of which are allergens to boxers.  I am not sure about 1 meal home cooked and one kibble- I read somewhere they need to be fed certain hours apart to prevent bacteria buildup?  I definitely could be wrong- I know there are a lot of home cookers and raw diet feeders here- Hannabanna, Sully, Newcastle to name a few.
 

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If you want to give a chew bone, try Healthy Edibles from Nylabone. They come in a lot of flavors and are ok for them to digest :) Mine love them
 

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That's interesting that they still sell rawhides, the breeder I got Oscar gave me a list of things he shouldn't have, rawhide bones was on it.
 

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JettaAndOscar\";p=\"87085 said:
That's interesting that they still sell rawhides, the breeder I got Oscar gave me a list of things he shouldn't have, rawhide bones was on it.

Good for your breeder for taking the time to compile that type of list  :)
 

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Zoe has always been fed cooked food - nothing raw. Even the meat that we put into her dinner is boiled and then mixed with the other ingredients. But kibbles are basically sold by Pedigree here in India. We don't get any variety of brands for dogs here. Which is a sad fact. Zoe is also allergic to chicken (she gets small lumps, like pimples, over her skin) - so the kibbles have to be that of meat and rice.
 

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Rish\";p=\"87129 said:
Zoe has always been fed cooked food - nothing raw....   Zoe is also allergic to chicken (she gets small lumps, like pimples, over her skin) - so the kibbles have to be that of meat and rice.
Considering how expensive meat is (I assume the same is true in India), you probably want to get the most bang for your buck.  To that end, I'd strongly suggest you consider giving Zoe raw meat rather than cooked, as cooking destroys a lot of the nutrients that are beneficial to Zoe's health.  The same is not true for vegetables, however.  Dogs cannot break down the celluose in vegetables so they must either be cooked or pureed to a slop if you want to include them in her diet (which I don't think is terribly necessary, but there's a lot of disagreement in raw-feeding circles about that).

Also, I just read a post yesterday on one of the raw feeding lists from a woman whose dog showed allergic reactions to cooked chicken but handled raw chicken with no problem at all.

Honestly, if Pedigree is your only option for kibble, I'd seriously consider switching Zoe to a raw diet.  Do some research to make yourself comfortable with it first, though.  


AnnA
 

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aquagirl900\";p=\"87007 said:
I am not sure about 1 meal home cooked and one kibble- I read somewhere they need to be fed certain hours apart to prevent bacteria buildup?  
The need to separate feedings by several hours applies only if you're feeding kibble and raw meat.   Because cooking destroys the bacteria (AND nutrients) in meat, there should be no problem feeding cooked meat right along with kibble.  

The reason it may be less-than-safe to feed raw and kibble at the same time is that the carbs in kibble reduce the acidity in in the digestive system, thereby allowing any bacteria that may be in the raw meat to sit in the system for longer periods of time.

AnnA
 

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Whoops!  Just went back to the main forum page and was reminded this topic is RAWHIDE, not diet!  Sorry for the hijack!  

Related to the rawhide though... I read somewhere that bully sticks are okay, so I picked up a couple for Atticus yesterday and he loves them.  But I have no idea what they're made of.  Anyone...?

AnnA
 
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