Dangers of Rawhide Bones For Dogs

One gift choice every pet owner might have is the Rawhide Bones; these are popular chews for dogs and serve purposes such as aiding with their natural instinct to chew, but does it pose a danger for your dog? Some dogs?

the dangers of rawhide for dogs

Over the years, I have seen dogs come into the clinic to get blockages in the oesophagus removed, watched videos of various veterinarians aiding dog owners to solve these problems too. 90% of these blockages are a result of dogs swallowing or attempting to swallow rawhide chew toys. The sight of the pain and the emotions are usually heartbreaking.  In this article, you will read about what rawhide bones are made of and why they are dangerous for dogs. Ready? Let’s go!

What are Rawhides Made of?

Rawhide is made from the skin of cows or horse’s hides, removed and prepared for your dogs to chew on. When stripped off the animals, these hides are soaked in chemicals such as sodium sulphide, then washed, dried and pressed into these treats. There are made into different shapes and sizes; usually with the resemblance of a bone - thus the name “Rawhide Bones”. There are also made appealing for dogs by adding chicken, beef or liver flavourings. 

Why is Rawhide Bad for Dogs?

  • Choking Hazard

If your dog by any chance swallows a segment of a rawhide bone, it could get lodged in the oesophagus or other part of the digestive tract causing a blockage to the airway among other things. This is usually due to the size and firmness of these chew toys. There is even a potential risk of a tear in the oesophagus during removal of the lodged segment; therefore any attempt to remove must be c carried out by your Veterinarian. 

  • Digestive irritation

Some dogs are sensitive or allergic to rawhide or the components used in the manufacturing resulting in problems like diarrhoea. There is the potential of food poisoning from the chemicals used in the processing of the product. 

  • Contamination

Considering how these chew toys are made, they may contain traces of toxic chemicals that can cause problems for the liver, lungs, kidneys and intestinal tract. Also, bacterial contamination is possible, putting even humans in contact at risk.

It is not all bad news, there are safer alternatives for your dog, here are a few you can give your dog:

  • Go for rawhide alternatives such as carrots - Full-sized carrots are great alternatives when your dog needs to chew. They aren’t just nutritive, but also low in calories. 
  • raw meaty bones - Make sure the bones are uncooked to avoid splinters. 
  • Bully Sticks and other natural dried treats (we like ours from Willow Tree K9 and Shepherd & Friends) - Bully sticks are safer alternatives because they don’t contain any chemicals or preservatives and can also last long. 


Gifts are amazing ways to show your pooches how much you care about them and yes, they’re quite excited when they get to play with their toys and gifts.

As numerous as the choices of gifts are, you need to stay informed on certain ones that pose a threat to your dog. 

Read our article on “Gift Ideas For Dogs”, to get ideas on what to get your dog(s). Ultimately, the choice is yours but remember how much your dog means to you when making these choices, do everything you can to avoid the dangers of rawhide for dogs.


Blog post by Mark Gospel - Veterinary Assistant  

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