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The Dangers of Rawhide

With the holidays quickly approaching, one thing that has always disturbed me is that so many places have gift sets for pets that contain rawhide chews in one form of the other.   Just because they are in the sets, does not mean that they are good for your pet, especially if your pet is a Boxer.  Boxers are known to be aggressive chewers, which means that the potential is very great that they will chew off pieces and swallow the hides.

I have heard since I was a young girl, that rawhide should not be given to your pet as a treat.  That you should should not only not give rawhides, but also pigs ears or any other dried body part to your pet to chew on.  These present a  terrible choking hazard and many dogs have choked to death on raw hides.  Rawhide has to go through several rounds of chemical cleanings in order to remove all the hair from the hide.  These tend to not be rinsed off fully and the chemicals thus get ingested by the dog.  

Dried body parts (especially leather) are also a bacteria hazard.  Dogs' digestion systems are designed for fat processing of meat and bones, and that speed is their natural defense against bacteria.  But dogs don't digest rawhide.  It sits around in their stomach for some time, before being passed in the same state it went in. This can result in food poisoning, the mildest symptom of which is vomiting and diarrhea. Do yourself and your pet a favor, and pass on the rawhide, pig ears or any other dried animal parts in these sets. I know the natural inclination is to scoff and say, I have used these in the past with other pets and nothing has happened, (just as some people felt about cigarette smoking when first told the dangers of their health). If you have and nothing seemed to have happened, just consider yourself lucky if they didn't shorten their time with you.  

Just as we learn each day, that things that we considered a treat for ourselves, turn out to be far from it- as more and more is studied on nutrition; so we find out what is good and not so good for our canine companions.