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Safety Concerns About Pet Chews

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.

Read more: Pets, Everyday Pet Care, Safety

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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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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+ add your own
5:58AM PDT on Oct 18, 2012


3:11PM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

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

11:02PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012


11:23AM PDT on May 3, 2011

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.

7:46AM PDT on May 3, 2011

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

6:18AM PDT on May 3, 2011


7:02AM PDT on May 2, 2011

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.

1:18AM PDT on May 2, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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