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The Dog Blog

Dog Bones: Is Rawhide Safe To Give To My Dog?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

What Is The Difference Between Rawhide And Pressed Rawhide? When Should I Give My Dog A Bone? When Do You Take A Bone Away?

Giving a dog a bone is one of the easiest ways to mentally exercise your dog. Like many self engaging chew type toys, they also help with dental health. While a bone does assist in maintaining healthy gums and teeth it does not replace regular brushing and any other routines your vet has recommended.

Elliot the dog with pressed rawhides

Finding a bone that will actually last and is worth the price tag is hard. You come across issues like the strong smell, pieces breaking off, it lasting under 20 minutes or it costing an arm and a leg.

You hear it often, "A tired dog is a good dog." and that can be so true! A dog not only needs physical exercise but mental as well. Getting on top of your dog's exercise needs dramatically shapes their behaviour. It's important to remember that a bored dog will find their own way to have fun, like destructive outlets.

Rawhide: What is it?

A rawhide bone is made of exactly what it sounds like, rawhide. Typically cow hide that gets split to manufacture the bones. While the top layer is tanned and turned into leather the bottom/inner section is what goes into dog bones. This is one single sheet rolled into the bone shape. As the bone gets chewed on it becomes a wet and squishy mess that gets on what it touches. The biggest danger to a dog comes from how the rawhide expands when it is wet. When a dog swallows pieces they will expand further in their stomach and digestive tract and can cause blockages that would require an expensive trip to the vet to fix.

Pressed Rawhide: How is it different?

While pressed rawhide is still rawhide, it is the change in how it is manufactured that makes the dramatic difference. A pressed rawhide bone is constructed of multiple thin, tightly pressed sheets all rolled together into the bone shape. This does not expand when it is wet which also reduces the wet and sticky ends that plain rawhide gets. These are also 100% digestible.

When & Where: Do they need supervision?

Bones are often given as a reward, but why not give it to benefit the dog and yourself? Interactive toys/puzzles, treat balls and bones are all excellent ways to engage your dog when you can't. Is it raining out? Do you have a zoom meeting? Company Over? Trying to watch a movie uninterrupted? These are all great reasons to provide your dog with mental engagement/enrichment.

When you do give your dog a bone, someone should always be there to supervise. Although they are safe to ingest, some dogs try and swallow the end when it is still quite large as it is hard to still chew at this point. This can lead to choking. Contrary to belief but it is not always obvious if your dog is choking. It is in your best practice to either take away a bone once it is small or hold it for them to chew.

Putting It To The Test: How long does it last?

In my own home, I can attest for a German Shepherd and a Maltipoo.

Elliot (2yr, 105lbs, male) : Elliot can finish a 10" long, 1/2" wide cylinder shaped pressed rawhide bone in one sitting. Start to finish non stop chewing lasts 1 to 1.5 hours. For off and on chewing it can last a few days. Pet store brand bones/chews that were quoted at lasting 1 -2 hours lasted under 15 minutes.

Lucy (8yr, 13lbs, female) : Lucy has never finished a bone in one sitting, even with non stop chewing. a 5" long, 1/2" wide cylinder shaped pressed rawhide bone will last 3 - 7 days. Each day consists of 3 - 4 chew sessions, each lasting between 1 -2 hours of continuous chew time. Pet store brand bones/chews that were quoted at lasting 1 -2 hours lasted 30 minutes.

Purchasing: Where can I find pressed rawhide?

The safest place to get anything your dog is going to ingest is from your veterinarian. A 5" and 10" bone range between $1 - $3 at the animal hospitals in my surrounding area. There are different lengths and shapes available depending on the individual clinic.

Purchasing products online can be tricky. It can be hard to get the information of who made it, where it came from and the quality of the product. If you do choose to purchase pressed rawhide from somewhere else, make sure you take the time to go over ratings, reviews and even do your own research.

Have any questions? Reach out or comment on the post to get the answers/advice/help you'd like. We would love to hear from you!


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