What are rawhide treats made from?
Rawhide chews are made from the inner layer of a hide from any split hoofed animal, such as cattle and horses in the United States, water buffalo in China, Thailand and Korea, and range cows in Central America.
These hides are intended for use by clothing manufactures that will transform them into purses, shoes, luggage, and more and are shipped to manufacturers in China who only use the byproducts of the leather industry to make rawhide chews.
Depending on which country the hide originates from and the quality of the hide, it can be rough, fibrous, thick, thin, and diseased. They can takes days or weeks to arrive in China and are often black and rotting without refrigeration upon arrival.
Chemical Processing of Rawhide Treats
Once the hides arrive, they are cleaned and soaked in a toxic concoction of sodium sulphide liming, a standard practice used to treat the rotting hides.
After the hides are soaked, they are then washed and bleached using a solution of hydrogen peroxide to make them more visually appealing.
After the manufacturers remove the best parts of the hide to make leather goods, the remaining byproducts are cut, pressed, ground up, and subjected once again to toxic chemicals, carcinogenic food coloring, dyes, and flavorings to make the lip smacking treats that will be shipped back to the United States and around the world.
Toxic Marketing Gimmicks of the Rawhide Chew Industry
To make these toxic goodies even more appealing, they are then flavored with artificial chicken, liver, beef, peanut butter, sweet potato, bacon, and other yummy chemically induced flavors.
While making the chews even more palatable to dogs and appealing to humans, manufactures have unbelievably discovered a way to expose dogs to even more toxic contaminates that infiltrate their bodies as they chomp on the yummy rawhide treat.
What the FDA has to say about rawhide treats
The FDA has issued risk warning about rawhide treats from China, yet, imported rawhide chews are still classified as food under FDA law. In addition, as long as the manufacturer’s label doesn’t contain a reference to nutritional value, manufacturers don’t have to follow the AAFCO minimum pet food regulations.
In a nutshell, the FDA considers the risk of injury or death from rawhide bones, chews and treats not significant (when compared to the amount of rawhide consumed each year by dogs) and has deemed rawhide safe, despite their own warnings to pet owners regarding risks of feeding rawhide chews from China.
Rawhide chew labeling tricks
Manufacturers of rawhide chews are not required to list the country of origin for the ingredients in the treats.
Rawhide chew toxicity
Rawhide chews contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals and can also be contaminated with E. coli or salmonella.
It is common for veterinarians to warn people to wash their hands after touching rawhide and often warn parents of the dangers of allowing children to handle rawhide chews since the immune systems of children are not strong enough to withstand the risk of handling toxins in rawhide.
Rawhide choking and blockage dangers
Rawhide chews and treats may be made from cut or ground up rawhide that can easily break into the perfect sized chunks for a dog to choke on and pieces that may be easily caught in the digestive tract and cause a life threatening blockage.
Since rawhide expands and becomes slimy when wet, it can be very dangerous and difficult to remove from the throat of a choking dog.
In the same way, what may seem like a small chunk of hide can also expand requiring abdominal surgery to remove them.
Some dogs are allergic to rawhide as well as the chemicals and flavorings they are processed with and may suffer from digestive problems, itching, and diarrhea, and more depending upon the severity of the allergy.
Symptoms of rawhide sickness
If your dog has ingested or been chewing rawhide and develops any of the following symptoms call your vet immediately:
Diarrhea, with or without blood
Lack of energy
Seems to be in pain
Refuses to eat
Suffering from weight loss