Many of us, well-meaning dog lovers though we are, give our dogs chew treats not realizing the risk involved.
The ASPCA said that in 2006 the number of physical hazard calls increased 460% to over 3,800 and continues to grow.
Included in this group are rawhide chews, cow hooves, pig ears, Greenies, Nylabones, Bully Sticks, tennis balls, etc. They all pose choking hazards, risk of intestinal obstruction and other physical injury. Some many even be toxic. Bones made of plastic or rubber should be avoided altogether.
Rawhide is actually part of the skin of an animal and the treats are usually made from cow or horse hides, with water buffalo being very popular in some countries. It is very strong and durable and does not break down easily. In manufacturing, the hides are treated to allow shaping them and then drying or smoking them.
These products are sometimes swallowed whole or in large chunks which can lodge in the throat and cause choking, scraping and scratching on the way to the stomach, lie in the GI Tract, create a blockage which can be life-threatening.
An Ohio veterinarian, Dr. John Wedeking, adds that some hides may contain low levels of antibiotics, especially from countries where feedlots are the prevalent method of raising cattle. Buy a reputable brand and look to see if the cattle were grass fed or intensively farmed.
There are dogs that will chew these bones all their lives and have no problems. We’re just asking you to use caution . Of course if your dog has ever had surgery for a blockage or any choking problem, don’t offer these chews.
When giving your dog any of these treats, please be sure to supervise. Never leave any of these products where your dog can reach them if you are not there. Please check ALL dog toys and purchase only those made by a reputable manufacturer.