Trying to Avoid Rawhides? These Are the 10 Alternatives Vets Recommend
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Dogs love to chew, but some chew toys are safer than others. Rawhides in particular have some issues. They sound good at first — they are supposed to break down into tiny, soft pieces over time, making them a safe, long-lasting chew. But as Erin and Ben Schroeder, DVMs, the stars of Nat Geo WILD's series Heartland Docs, DVM, told POPSUGAR, this doesn't always happen. If your dog is a heavy chewer, they may break off and swallow larger chunks, and large dogs can even swallow the entire rawhide. Swallowing big pieces of rawhide can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage, both of which may be life threatening, according to the Schroeders.
Another issue? Rawhides aren't necessarily healthy. As Oscar Chavez, BVetMed MRCVS MBA, chief medical officer and pet nutrition expert at Just Food For Dogs, said, rawhides have "no production standards, regulations, or feed grade." Which means you don't know what your dog is getting.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to rawhides. The Schroeders emphasised the importance of choosing chew toys that are right for your dog's size and their chewing style. Dr. Chavez shared some of his favourite rawhide alternatives with us while also suggesting that "antlers, pigs ears, yaks milk, or anything rigid" be avoided completely. Keep reading to find some safe options!