Dog Treat Safety: Are Rawhide Bones Healthy?

By Amy Loeffler      

There's been a whole lot of talk lately about whether or not it's safe to give your dog a rawhide bone. There's no reason to deprive your pooch completely of rawhide-y goodness, but there are some facts every dog owner should know. Giving your dog a rawhide chew is not only a good way to keep your pet occupied, it's also a convenient way to exercise his choppers and maintain healthy teeth between dental cleanings at the vet. But every rawhide is not equal. Choosing which ones are safe for your pooch can be a daunting task. So Save.com has pulled together our guide to picking your pet a perfect rawhide treat.

Natural Colors Are Preferred
Bad dye jobs aren't limited to beauty mishaps. Steer clear of chews that are fake, day-glo colors or sterile bright white. Most likely these chews contain unnecessary dyes, as well as toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury that have been used to treat the animal hide itself. Chews should look organic, like they came from an animal, not a factory. (Gross, right? But true.)

Which Chews Digest Best?
Chews should also break down easily in the digestive track. Part of the reason some folks get concerned about the safety of rawhide is that larger pieces can get lodged in your pet's stomach at any point of the gastrointestinal system. If pieces are small, then they will pass through your pet's system. Many pet owners decide they'll simply watch their pet while they enjoy their rawhide, to be sure the pieces going in...will be able to go down. A good general rule is to give your pet a bone (rawhide or otherwise) only when you'll be home. Don't throw one on the way out the door. For that purpose try a regular dog treat. Save bones for a time when you'll be able to supervise.