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If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably come across rawhide as a potential treat for your canine. Rawhide treats are made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides, which are cleaned, ground, pressed, and cut into different sizes and shapes. Some rawhide treats are also flavored.

Benefits of giving rawhide to your dog include that the act of chewing provides stimulation and natural stress-relief. Chewing rawhide can also promote jaw strength and prevent buildup of tartar on teeth.

Risks associated with giving your dog rawhide are relatively small, but worth noting. The three most common risk factors are:

1. Contamination: As with any type of pet toy or food, rawhide can be contaminated with toxic chemicals, salmonella, or E. Coli.

2. Digestive issues: Rawhide can cause digestive issues for dogs that may be allergic or sensitive to rawhide or the ingredients used in its production.

3. Blockage and choking; Large pieces of rawhide, when swallowed, can get stuck in the throat, esophagus, or digestive tract. Depending on where it gets stuck, it is often fairly easy to remove through the throat. Blockages need to be resolved to avoid serious problems or death.

The verdict? If you’re giving your dog rawhide for the first time, start with smaller pieces. Always watch for signs of blockage, such as gagging or repeated swallowing, and gastric irritation. Contact a vet if you see these symptoms. And for more information, head to the link at the bottom of this article.

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