It’s a simple fact that dogs chew. Both a need and a nuisance, chewing fills several roles for your dog’s health: it aids in good dental hygiene, eases anxiety and stress, and provides a playful outlet for your dog’s energy. What your dog chews, therefore, becomes an important question. Providing safe alternatives to chewing up your belongings is the quest dog owners face.
For many years, rawhide chews have been the go-to accessory for pet owners. They provided a reasonably sturdy toy for a dog and an effective means of distracting pets from other items. Or so it seemed. Today there are some questions as to the benefits of rawhide chews and some alternatives which may better suit your pet.
Rawhide chews are exactly what they sound like: animal hide processed and shaped into a chewable size for dogs. Which animal is used varies, but the real issue comes not only with the conditions under which the animal was raised, but also the process used to prepare the hide. These issues may mean that what seems like an inexpensive toy for your dog can become expensive vet bills or even the loss of your beloved pet.
Rawhide pet toys manufactured outside the US are often processed with chemical “baths” designed to preserve the hide during transport to other outlets. Arsenic, or formaldehyde, which is banned in the US, may be used during these chemical baths, leaving the rawhide with what may be a dangerous combination of added chemicals. Rawhide toys manufactured in the US generally have a lower amount of chemicals used and are a better option.
Growing conditions for the animal impact the resulting rawhide through whether the hide is thinner or drier than others. A rawhide toy which is too thin can break off and be swallowed, causing a choking hazard, or creating digestive issues for the animal. One which is too dry can be brittle, creating the possibility of your dog breaking a tooth on the chew toy. Your dog could be left with dental issues which require trips to the vet.
Nylon chews are becoming the safe alternative to rawhide. A harmless yet strong plastic, nylon makes for a sturdy toy to meet even an aggressive chewer’s needs. In rare instances, small pieces may come off but they pass harmlessly through the dog’s digestive system. Nylon chews can be flavored, and should be chosen by the appropriate size that’s right for your dog. They wear down slowly and resist splintering, which gives them great durability. As with all chew toys, though, they should be replaced when worn.
Providing your pet with something to meet his need to chew is easier today than ever before. Thanks to innovation in the pet care field, you can find the appropriate, safe option that can ensure your pet stays happy and healthy for years.