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Is this common treat putting your dog in danger?

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Is this common treat putting your dog in danger?

Chewing on rawhide distracts dogs from gnawing on its owner's shoes and other belongings It's a common dog treat served to canines across the country. But what are the risks rawhide poses to pooches? Manufactured as chews for dogs, rawhide—the tough inner layer of cow, horse, buffalo or bull hide—is used to clean canine teeth, freshen breath and relieve anxiety. But despite the benefits it can offer, rawhide is a byproduct of the meat production industry that's made through a highly corrosive process—and isn't entirely safe for dogs. How it's made During manufacture, the flesh side of the hide is first scraped of meat and fat before the skin is stripped of hair. This hair-removal process involves soaking the hide in ash-lye (a.k.a. potassium hydroxide) or lime solution, neither of which is safe for consumption. Once the hair is removed, the hide is then soaked in bleach (to remove traces of the ash-lye or lime solution) before it's shaped into pet chews, which are then dried, shrinking them to half of their original size. The dried treats do expand again when wet, posing a risk when dogs chew off and swallow pieces that can swell up to four times their size inside the stomach. These fragments can become lodged in the esophagus (a choking hazard), stomach or intestines (causing blockages that require surgical removal). Since rawhide isn't considered an edible food item, it isn't subject to the same labeling or content laws as other pet treats. As a result, it sometimes contains contaminants such as arsenic, formaldehyde, chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT, antibiotics and insecticides. Needless to say, rawhide can lead to digestive irritation caused by substances used in the production process. This can manifest as diarrhea, constipation or gastric irritation. Moreover, as with other food items, there's also potential for contamination. If you feel the benefits outweigh the risks, make sure your pet is supervised while enjoying the use of rawhide and practise proper handling techniques to avoid contamination. Photo courtesy FlickrCC /jhofker
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Is this common treat putting your dog in danger?

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