RAWHIDE and Dog's Chewing Habits
1. What Are Your Dog's Chewing Habits? When deciding on the chew item you'd like to give your dog, first take a look at his chewing habits. Would you consider your dog to be an aggressive chewer, a semi-aggressive chewer, or a light chewer? Aggressive chewers can polish off some rawhides in record time. Because these dogs get a lot of satisfaction out of chewing, make sure they always have at least one or two rawhides to keep them busy. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, we suggest you provide him with compressed and knotted rawhides. They would provide the greatest chewing satisfaction and are the best value for you. Semi-aggressive chewers enjoy a good chew now and then, but they won't demolish a rawhide as fast and furiously as would an aggressive chewer. These chewers can handle any type of rawhide, from hard to soft, but the best for them would be knotted rawhides. These rawhides are softer than compressed rawhide, but will not come apart as easily the granulated bones. Non-aggressive or very light chewers are less destructive and tend to exhibit more finesse when chewing. They take their time and enjoy every inch of their rawhides. These dogs can generally handle all different types of rawhide, but typically prefer a softer chew over a harder chew. Puppies and senior dogs can definitely appreciate a softer chew item, which includes granulated, small knotted and some novelty rawhides. 2. What Type Of Rawhide Should Be Given? Pressed Bones (Also known as Compressed Rawhide) This is rawhide that has been pressed into shape, making it very dense, hard and long lasting. Because there is more rawhide per bone, they tend to last longer and soften slower than any other type of rawhide. They are a good value for very active, aggressive chewers. Round Knot Bones These are sheets of rawhide that are rolled then tied at each end with a round knot. These are only slightly softer than pressed bones, and are good for moderately active to aggressive chewers. Flat Knot Bones Flat knot bones are just slightly softer than those tied with round knots. These are good for the average chewer since they are moderately easy to soften. Novelty Rawhides Yes, dogs love novelty just about as much as we do. Rawhide can be formed into lots of fun and interesting shapes, such as footballs and candy canes. They soften fairly quickly, so they are recommended for light to moderate chewers. Granulated bones (also known as Extruded Rawhide) Granulated chews are made up of ground rawhide that are molded into sticks or various shapes. These chews break apart easily, and are easily softened. These are good for light chewers. They are quickly consumed and should be given in small amounts. Smoked and Basted Bones and Chews>B Dogs often love the added flavor of these bones. Because dogs tend to chew longer with basted or smoked bones, the bones will soften faster and be consumed quicker than the same bone that is not smoked or basted. When the bone gets wet, the basting may bleed and stain light-colored carpeting, as well as the paws and muzzles of light-colored dogs. Therefore, basted products should be given where there isn't a concern of bleeding, such as outdoors, or on tile or cement. Chew Strips, Flips and Chips Chew strips, flips and chips are made by simply cutting the rawhide into smaller pieces before drying. Because the strip is not dense, it is easily softened. If your dog chews off small pieces of rawhide, then these chews are acceptable. However, if your dog is an aggressive chewer, avoid the chews and consider a more dense bone, such as the rolled or compressed bones. 3. How Long Does Your Dog Spend Chewing a Single Rawhide? As a dog chews on rawhide, it begins to soften and breakdown from the dog's saliva and from the chewing action. This makes it easier for the dog to chew off a section and swallow it. An active, aggressive chewer will quickly consume a softer rawhide, and may even try swallowing pieces that are too large, possibly causing it to get caught in the throat. Therefore, if your dog is an active chewer, he will benefit from rawhides that are harder and less easily softened. 4. How Often Does Your Dog Like to Chew? If your dog enjoys chewing rawhide often, make sure she always has at least two or three rawhides to keep her busy. Providing variety makes the chewing more interesting. If your dog does not chew often, one or two rawhides may suffice. Infrequent chewers often leave a partially chewed rawhide, and then lose interest. If this is the case with your dog, keep a fresh supply of new rawhides available to give every now and then. Infrequent chewers tend to enjoy softer rawhides. 5. Do You Have a Puppy? Puppies tend to get themselves into a lot of trouble because they love to chew, chew, chew! Puppies need to chew to cut their new teeth and develop strong jaws. Do not punish a puppy for chewing. Instead, remove the inappropriate chew item and provide the puppy with plenty of appropriate chew objects, and change them regularly. Reward the puppy with verbal praise when he chews on his chew items instead of household items. Puppies need soft chew items to hold their interest. However, you should always supervise a puppy when chewing to make sure it is not chewing off large pieces that could get caught in its throat. Also, do not give a puppy large amounts of rawhide, as their digestive systems cannot handle protein excesses well. 6. Safety for Your Dog When Chewing When giving rawhide, you should always supervise your dog until you are comfortable with his chewing habits. If your dog likes to chew a hunk of rawhide and try to swallow it, trim off the large softened pieces so they don't get caught in your dog's throat. If you aren't familiar with your dog's chewing habits, you are better off starting with a harder rawhide such as a compressed or knotted bone and moving to a softer one, if need be, rather than giving a chew that is too soft at first. 7. How is Rawhide Processed? Rawhide comes from the beef industry and is made from the inner layer of the animal's hide. The hide is cleaned by tumbling it in huge drums (like giant washing machines) using water, and in most cases, hydrogen peroxide. It is then rinsed in water for a minimum of one hour and dried. Then it is cut, rolled and shaped. The manufacturing process for rawhide involves no chemicals detrimental to the health of a pet. 8. Rawhide and Dental Care As mentioned earlier, chewing on rawhide is good for keeping tartar from building up on the teeth, which in turn helps prevent bad breath. The Animal Resources Center at Harvard Medical School also published an article about the dental benefits attained using rawhide as part of a dog's diet. Rawhide showed to have a significant effect on the removal of dental calculus from dogs.