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My Beef with Rawhide by Dr. Jeff Todd

By June 5, 2013 No Comments

Dog eating rawhide treatMost people don’t give a second thought to giving their dogs a rawhide to chew on. At Noah’s Ark we advocate the most natural diet you can feed your pet- -and we also advocate that you minimize your pet’s exposure to pesticides and chemicals. Clients are surprised when I tell them that rawhide is not a by-product of the beef industry, but of the leather industry.

The Whole Dog Journal reports that as of 2009, there were only about 30 rawhide manufacturers in the entire United States. Mexico, by comparison, has over 3000 such plants. China is by far our largest producer of rawhide. Why has the United States gotten out of the rawhide manufacturing business?

The quick answer is that the production of rawhide for the mass market involves many toxic chemicals, like bleach and formaldahyde – chemicals that the EPA regulates in this country. You may even see an American flag on packaging, but don’t be fooled. The packaging may declare “US Raised Beef”– but check the fine print for “Made in China”. Another trick is the claim “Made in America” – which can mean South America, or Mexico. Rawhide manufactured from beef raised and processed entirely in the United States is tough to find.

Not only is rawhide potentially laced with toxic chemicals, rawhide adds no nutritional value to your dog’s diet– and can often create significant intestinal problems. A much better substitute is beef or bison femur bones,  bully sticks, deer antlers, or Kongs — all available at Noah’s Ark. Bison bones last indefinitely, and when consumed regularly, can postpone dental cleaning.