Are Rawhide Chew Toys Bad For Dogs? Risks and Benefits

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Choosing an exciting treat for your dog to chew and play with comes with a large variety of options. Rawhides are among these options, but are rawhide chew toys bad for dogs?

Rawhides seem to be a popular option for many due to their attractiveness to their pups. They satisfy dog’s natural desire to chew while also being a tasty treat for them.

You’re likely here because you’ve heard that rawhides might not be the safest for dogs. Is this really the case though?

In this post we’ll be breaking down rawhides and determining whether or not they’re safe for your pup.

For those looking for a quick answer whether or not they are safe, it depends on your dog and the products manufacturing!

Let’s dive into more details so we can help you decide if rawhides are right for your dog.

Are Rawhide Chew Toys Bad For Dogs? Risks and Benefits

What is Rawhide?


Rawhides are made from dried animal skin, usually cattle or pork. This means depending on the manufacturer, the ingredients can vary.

Knowing that the product is built with animal skin is not a cause for concern in itself, but how, where and in what condition the animal was raised.

In addition, we also need to consider the overall quality (thinner / drier) and safety of the product.

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and sometimes have added flavours.


Rawhides are typically manufactured in China, and can take weeks / months before making it to their final manufacture.

Once the rawhides arrive at their final tannery (place skins are produced, tanning hides into leather), it is soaked in lime, the hair is removed by chemical and physical efforts, and then rinsed again.

Make sure you always fully rinse rawhides in water before giving it to your dog.

What Are The Benefits?

All dogs need to chew! It is a part of their nature as a species. Chewing provides your dog with stimulation and helps relieve anxiety.

Especially with puppies, rawhides can be a great substitute if you find them chewing on things around your house they should not!

Rawhides also help to keep your pups jaw strong and teeth clean so are rawhide chew toys bad for dogs?

Lets find out.

Are Rawhides Actually Bad For Dogs?

It’s no secret that every dog is different. The safest products for one dog might be dangerous for another.

That is why the safety of treats and toys is highly dependent on your dog’s individual uniqueness and chewing style.

For example, puppies are much softer chewers than a full grown adult. The age of a dog plays a major role, senior pups will also have softer mouths than their adult counterpart.

In addition, the breed of your pup will also create variability in their chewing style. A Chihuahua is a lighter chewer than a Pitbull.

Thus, the treats that are safe for your dog will vary.

Rawhides are meant to be a long-lasting chew toy that breaks down over time and turns into tiny, soft pieces.

Issues arise when heavy chewers are able to break off chunks that can cause intestinal blockages or choking if swallowed. Both of which are life-threatening issues.

In comparison, if your dog takes their time to chew and does not swallow large pieces there should be no issues.

Some manufacturers make rawhides out of materials that are more digestible.

However, that means they won’t last as long, but makes for a perfect alternative if your dog has stomach issues.

Here is what makes some rawhides bad for dogs:

  • Companies with subpar quality and safety standards
  • Bacteria – If it is not properly cleaned and manufactured
  • Choking – If large chunks are swallowed whole
  • Digestive Issues – Dogs with sensitive stomach may not respond well to rawhides.

How Can I Be Sure Rawhide Is Good For My Dog?

When looking for rawhides that are safe, here are a few things that you will want to consider before buying and giving it to your pup.

Review The Manufacturer

Always check who is making the product and how they are making it! Good quality rawhides are washed and cleaned to remove chemicals during the process of removing the hide.

Companies with good quality control procedures for gathering and preparing is key for a safe rawhide chew toy for your dog.

Look At The Size

Make sure you have the proper size for your dog breed, size, and age. You want the size to be big enough for them to easily shew without harming their jaw.

You also want to make sure it is not too small that they can easily break it and swallow pieces. 

Observe Your Dogs Chewing Habits

You know your dog’s chewing habits best so take that into consideration before buying. Make sure it is not too small that they can break it or choke on small pieces.

Rawhides are meant to be chewed over time, which means they gradually get smaller over time. Consider this when selecting one.

Avoid Flavored Chews

It’s typically best to avoid any flavored variety no matter how much your pup may love the,. This will help avoid any stomach sensitivity your dog may experience.

Supervise Your Dog

Always supervise your dog when giving ANY treat or toy. It’s not worth the risk to our beloved pets. This will make sure they never get harmed from rawhides.

Some Safe Rawhide Alternatives

There are many alternatives to rawhides that can give your dog the same satisfaction. However, like all things, there will still be pros and cons to consider.

Here is a list of a few alternative you can consider giving your dog:

1) Large Organic Carrots (tops cut off)

2) SmartBones Smart Sticks For Dogs

The SmartBone Smart Sticks are peanut flavors and comes with 10-12 sticks. These are easily digestible dog chews made with wholesome ingredients.

This is a great alternative with all the benefits of a rawhide chew without the RAWHIDE!

3) Pawstruck Beef Tendon Chews

The Pawstruck Beef Tendon Chews are highly digestible and made entirely from a beef muscle. 

This product is natural, grain free, odor free, and made with no artificial ingredients, no hormones, and no chemicals from free range, grass fed cows or bulls

Final Thoughts

You now know exactly how to determine whether or not rawhide chew toys are bad for your dog.

Remember, the safety of your dog is up to you! Make sure you do your due diligence and check the manufacturer to ensure you are getting the highest quality products that are properly processed.

We hope this information was helpful in answering the question “are rawhide chew toys bad for dogs?”. Consider sharing this post if you’ve found it helpful!

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