The Hidden Dangers of Rawhide Chews!!

Hey, fellow pet lovers!! 

Today’s post is all about rawhide and I’m sure you’ll have come across this readily available toxic treat, which comes in many shapes and sizes but is certainly not a treat that is safe or good for your canine friend in any way!!

In today’s post, I want to talk about the many hidden dangers of giving your pet rawhide and the process of how it is manufactured with the hopes of helping pet owners realise that it is something to be avoided at all times!!

Let’s jump straight in and learn all about rawhide and the many health hazards that could with this terrible treat!!


Rawhide, The Hidden Dangers!!

So what is rawhide??

We’ve all seen it for sale in pet stores or online as a safe and tasty treat for your canine companion but do you know what it is and the process that the raw material e.g. hides the skin of an animal, has to go through to become that tough white bone-shaped treat?

You most likely don’t because if you did you certainly wouldn’t give your pet this horrible stick of toxins!! To understand what rawhide really is and the hidden dangers that this well-marketed by-product from the leather industry can have on your pet, we need to start at the very begging of the manufacturing process and move through each and every step.

How is Rawhide Manufactured?

There are various steps for turning rawhide into a processed treat for our canine companions and below you’ll find the scary list of steps that are taken to make this extremely unsafe treat!!!

  • Step 1, Acquire Rawhide from the Slaughterhouse.

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Photo Credit, Jasmine Jade.

Rawhide is made using the hides from various animals but mainly from cattle, while doing the research for this post I came across some very horrific information as apparently, during an investigation from the Humane Society International it was found that

“The skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” -dogingtonpost.com

Habib, R. (n.d.). Why Rawhide Is Dangerous For Your Dog!. [online] Dogs Naturally Magazine. Available at: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/rawhide-dangerous-for-dogs/ [Accessed 5 Jan. 2019].

I wish I could say the information within this post gets better as we go on, but the truth is rawhide is a by-product of the leather industry and companies solely care about making a treat that can be clearly marketed and sold to pet owners to make profit, rather than a product that is safe and fit for consumption by our beloved pets.

  • Step 2, Add Preservation Chemicals for Transportation to the Tannery.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now that the manufacturers have acquired their rawhide it is time to transport it to the tannery so it can go through the remaining steps and be turned into the final product that we all know.

But they need to make sure that the rawhide doesn’t spoil and go rancid during transportation, so to be extra sure that this doesn’t happen it’s best to add a mixture of preservation chemicals.

  • Step 3, Once at the Tannery soak Hides in Chemicals.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now the rawhide has arrived at the tannery, it’s time to start turning it into that familiar hard chew. The first thing to do is to treat and soak the hide in a myriad of chemicals to help remove any remaining hair or fat from the skin.

The hides are treated with a mixture of Ash-Lye Solution or a toxic mixture of Sodium Sulphate Lyming and once soaked they are then rinsed to remove any excess chemicals. The reason the hides are soaked in chemicals is to ensure all hair and fat is removed before moving on to the next step which is splitting the hides into two parts.

Another thing on the toxic to do list is to treat the hides with various chemicals to help them puff up, which in turn makes the splitting process a lot easier. Also, if necessary the hides will then go through a de-meating process which will remove any remaining flesh, fat or loose skin from the hides that the chemical bath didn’t quite get.

  • Step 4, Split the Hides into Two Parts.

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Photo by ge yonk on Pexels.com

Now its time to move on and split the hides into two parts, as I mentioned above rawhide is a by-product of the leather industry so once the hide has been split into two parts, the outer portion which is higher grade goes to the leather industry to be turned into

  • Clothing Items such as bags, shoes, or coats.

  • Car interiors.

The inner layer, however, which is used to make rawhide can also be used to make a mixture of other products such as

  • Glue.

  • Gelatin

  • Cosmetics.

As you can see we use hides to manufacture a large range of goods for human use, but if rawhide chews were sold for human consumption it wouldn’t be the case for very long!! Unfortunately, the rules and regulations regarding rawhide and the manufacture and sale of such a product to our canine counterparts don’t come with many regulations to help produce a safe and healthy product for our pets.

Why would they though, if they did it would seriously have an impact on the profit companies get from the sale of rawhide but hopefully one day the industry will be forced to move away from producing a highly toxic treat and make all natural rawhide chews instead!!

  • Step 5, Wash and Whiten the Inner layer of the Hide with more Chemicals.

Now that the hides have been spilt and the top portion can go to the leather industry, it’s time to start turning the inner portion into rawhide chews. First, the hides need to be properly cleaned and whitened which is made possible by adding even more chemicals to the mix.

The chemicals that are normally used to clean and whiten the hides are

  • Hydrogen Peroxide.

  • Bleach.

  • And Formaldehyde.

As you can see just the usual chemicals that should be inside your pets treats, not!!

By doing this it will help to remove any nasty smells or discolouring that may be there due to rotten hides.

  • Step 6, Shape the Hides.

Once the hides have been bathed in a myriad of chemicals, rinsed, put through a de-meating process to remove any remaining hair and fat, then finally split in two, it’s time to move onto the second last step which is shaping the hides.

Apparently, while I was doing the research for today’s post hide chews can be shaped using glue to make them last longer, what the hell!! If this is the case then we need to spread the word by sharing today’s post so pet parents become aware of the hidden dangers that come with these toxic chews.

If you’ve been in a large pet retail store or ever bought rawhide for your pet then you will be aware of how many different shapes and sizes these treats come in, you can get small shaped bones, large rings or extra-large shaped treats. It safe to say that your options are limitless and there is a rawhide treat perfectly sized for any small, medium, large or extra-large dog.

So once the hides have been shaped to look pretty and attractive with the hopes that pet parents will pick them up and treat their canine friend with a tough chew stick that comes with a mixture of health risks, we can move onto the final stage.

  • Step 7, Add Artificial Flavourings, Colourings or Dental Chemicals.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Now that most of the steps bar the last have been completed it is time to add the finishing touches which are plenty of artificial flavourings, colourings and if you’re purchasing a more expensive rawhide for your pet then maybe some dental chemicals to help keep their pearly whites lovely and clean.

If raw hides are off colour at all then manufacturing companies can baste the hides in a mixture of colourings or smoke them to give them an appetising smell and add a little bit extra colour. Thinking about it they really have to do something to make that white tasteless stick look palatable, otherwise, you wouldn’t buy it!!

Once the finishing touches have been added, it’s time to package the final product and ship it out to countless pet stores all around the world for our lucky canine friends!!

My Conclusion on Rawhide!!

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Photo by Linda Eller-Shein on Pexels.com

Stay the hell away from it!!!

If you do feed rawhide and weren’t aware of the many dangers that come with this hazardous chew, then you know now and can cut it out of your canine friend’s diet altogether. When feeding rawhide chews there is a large chance that your pet could choke due to the consistency of the chew and unfortunately, many pets around the world have died from consuming rawhide.

Check out this great video to recap on the many issues that come with rawhide treats or head over to Dogs Naturally Magazine to read an informative article. I plan on doing a post very soon all about safe and healthy dog chews such as Deer Antlers, Yak Chews and Natural wood chews so stick around for that.

However, while researching for today’s post I did come across some natural hide chews that are made out of camel skin and aren’t bathed in chemicals so they may be worth giving a try.

Green & Wilds Camel Hide Dog Chews 100g

To order your pet these natural camel hide chews simply follow the link above and let me know what you think in the comment below.

*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site. I only ever review products that are tried and tested by my girls and I think are great!

Also, don’t forget to check out our many raw feeding friendly treat recipes that we have on the blog, here are a few of Nia and Lily’s favourites


I hope everyone enjoyed today’s informative post, and if you did make sure to hit that like button and also give it a share to help inform pet owners all about the hidden dangers of giving your pet rawhide. A massive thank you to Jasmine Jade for providing me with some great photos for today’s post!!

If you haven’t checked out last Saturdays post then head over there now, The Role of Carbohydrates within our Dog’s Diets.

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