You see it everywhere, and almost always on sale at your local pet store.
Not only is it Not Natural, but it's also Not Safe.
My veterinarian explained it to me once by saying, the way it goes in is how it comes out. Eeeeewww! Rawhide doesn't digest well and poses a serious risk of internal blockage and chocking. According to a study done by the Journal of Animal Science -
"Gastric digestibility of rawhide chews was low at six hours (7.6%) and slowly increased over time, reaching a maximum of 41.6% at 18 hours."SOURCE: De Godoy, Maria R. C. et al. “In Vitro Disappearance Characteristics of Selected Categories of Commercially Available Dog Treats.” Journal of Nutritional Science 3 (2014): e47. PMC. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
18 hours and still not even halfway digested! Which is surprising when you think about it because it's a by-product of the beef meat industry right? Actually that's only a partial truth. It's more closely related to the leather industry than it is beef and A LOT of it comes from China.
To put the whole digestion issue into perspective for you:
- The canine digestive tract is much shorter than a humans. Average passing time for a dog is between 24 to 48 hours, whereas a human can take up to three days.
- As for digesting food? It all depends on what is eaten; kibble, bone, grass, etc... A dogs stomach will work on the food for about 8 to 10 hours before passing it into the small intestine. From here the broken down food may remain in the small intestine for up to two days (again depends on what was eaten) before moving on to the large intestine and then the colon. The whole process can take anywhere from about 10 hours to a couple days to complete.
What it's not: Raw hide is not a meat chew, it is not a baked skin chew, it is not a dried meat stick... it's a chemically processed hide often dyed to be eye catching to humans, and then glued together into fun shapes. Sound tasty?
Here is a funny yet highly informative video about the making of rawhide.
A quick summary:
Step 1 - Acquire Cattle Hide from the Slaughterhouse
Step 2 - Add Preservation Chemicals to Prevent Spoilage On The Way To The Tannery
Step 3 - Chemically Bath the Hide to Remove Hair and Fat.
Step 4 - Split the Hide (Top Grain is used for Leather, Bottom Grain aka "leftovers" is used for rawhide.
Step 5 - Clean the Hides in you guessed it More Chemicals
"Removing the hair from hides often involves a highly toxic recipe: sodium sulphide liming...In the post tannery stage, hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide. And that's just one step. Other poisonous residues that may show up in rawhide include arsenic and formaldehyde." Source: The Bark
Step 6 - Roll, Shape, Color and/or Flavor! With...**drumroll please.*** more... you guessed it, CHEMICALS!
Sadly, their is nothing "Natural" about rawhide except it's origination. On a good note their are much safer alternatives!
One of which being a fun new review we have coming up!
According to the Journal of Nutritional Science, while it may take rawhide 18 hours to only be 41.6% digestible, after 6 hours pork skins are 54.7% digested.
Stay tuned for our Friday review!
More Sources & Research:
- How Long Dogs Digest Food
- Journal of Nutritional Science "Digestability Study of Commercially Avaliable Dog Treats"
- Pet Food Industry "Digestability Study of Expanded Pork Skin and Rawhide Chews"
- Dogs Naturally Magazine "The Most Dangerous Pet Chew Ever: Rawhide!"
- Dr. Karen Becker "The Trendy Dog Chew That's and Extreme Choking Hazard"
- The Bark "The Dangers of Rawhide Dog Chew Toys"
- Dogington Post "Rawhide: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"