Safety Concerns About Pet Chews

Some toys we so thoughtfully buy for our dog or cat can actually be quite dangerous. At the top of the list for dogs are most rawhide chews.

Even though they give pooches a long-lasting treat, keep them amused when you are too busy to take a walk, and can help in reducing dental problems, they have latent dangers as well.

Dogs can choke on rawhide ends and can sustain intestinal blockage; if you do give your dogs these toys, you should supervise their happy chewing.

But there are problems with the rawhide material itself. How are these things made?

Fresh hides must be preserved, the hair removed, and the hides cured to prevent them from spoiling. Many of the least-expensive chews come from Asia, where uncontrolled chemical usage has caused massive pollution in rivers and aquifers. Some of the residues found in poorly processed animal hides are lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, and formaldehyde.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has jurisdiction over animal products imported into this country but requires only an import license and a certificate of origin.

Perhaps U.S. rawhides are safer, but chemical processing happens in all these products.

Some U.S. companies claim that no chemical treatment or preservatives are needed to prevent rawhide spoilage, because everything is done here – that is, more quickly. But many skeptics disagree, and many people no longer buy these chewies. If you do decide to give a rawhide chew to yoru dog, buy a high-grade product made in your own country.

Adapted from Why is Cancer Killing Our Pets? by Deborah Straw (Healing Arts Press, 2000). Copyright (c) 2000 by Deborah Shaw. Reprinted by permission of Healing Arts Press.
Adapted from Why is Cancer Killing Our Pets? by Deborah Straw (Healing Arts Press, 2000).

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago


Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

Wow! I never heard of this and always thought rawhide chews were great for dogs, thanks for opening my eyes!

Mm M.
MmAWAY M.3 years ago


Mary Emmons
Mary Emmons4 years ago

I substitute pig chews instead of rawhide because it digests easier, but not sure about safeness in those either. Most rawhides say Made in China.

Siouxz Fyrethorne

I've always been suspicious of poorly made rawhide products.
now I know why.

Marian D.
Marian D.4 years ago


Paula Powers
Paula Powers4 years ago

Didn't know that-my dog absolutely loves those rawhide bones, loves to chew and I want her to have clean teeth. There aren't many alternatives to the rawhide bones that will clean her teeth and give her pleasure-Kong toys don't clean the teeth and she doesn't like to chew rubber. This presents a real dilemma for me-I used to give my dogs raw knuckle bones but can't find them anymore.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago