I am compelled to write this blog after a grassroots effort to debase rawhide products as unhealthy or bad for your dog and would like to dispel some misconceptions.
When I joined the pet industry in 2012, rawhide dog chews were by far the most popular chews on the market with hundreds of manufacturers and millions of customers a year in the US. I entered a small and fledgling market of natural dog chews (body parts) that included bully sticks, elk antlers and yak cheese. The business concept was through the humanization of pets, consumers would select more "natural" options in the market. However, that wasn't enough: we needed to create an all-out marketing plan to attack our largest competitor: rawhide. We wrote blogs, creating marketing campaigns, told the industry experts who ultimately told consumers and after years of getting the word out, we saw rawhide start to decline while natural chews saw tremendous growth.
I started working with SUMMMA, the parent company of Canine Chews, a few years ago and realized that many of the negative perceptions of rawhide came directly from those negative marketing smear campaigns years ago. With perspective, I can debunk many of those claims now.
First, there are many claims that rawhide is not digestible. This is completely false. Scientific studies show that rawhide, which is made from the natural hide of cows and bulls, is about 70% digestible, which is 2-3 times more digestible than other "rawhide free" options, which have 20-35% digestibility. Dog have been eating and digesting rawhide for hundreds of years.
Second, that some rawhide is easier to digest than others. I have seen manufacturers start to "puncture" the hide, but this is also false. Rawhide is the skin of the animal and manipulating it by puncturing has no material effect on digestibility.
Third, that digestibility is directly related to safety. While this is a matter of perspective, it is generally false. Consumable items like rawhide, when properly treated, will not negatively effect the dog's health. If a dog has specific medical issues that effect the digestive tract then a vet will need to be consulted but generally rawhide, like many other natural items from an animal, are completely safe to consume. Just like other long lasting treats if large chunks are consumed it could cause gastrointestinal issues but this is not unique to rawhide. However, rawhide is extremely long lasting, which is one of the reasons that it is a great long lasting chew.
Ingredient origination is a major concern for rawhide as well as all other dog chews. Unfortunately, China is still a major exporter of rawhide chews and the country has been entangled in risky manufacturing practices in the pet industry for years, including FDA warnings. Canine Chews is manufactured in our family owned and operated facility in Aguascalientes Mexico and is currently the largest dog chew manufacturing facility in North America with over 2,000 employees. We manufacture for most of the largest retailers and many of the largest brands in the world driving a large number of audits and a high degree of trust in the market. Our hides are from the USA and Mexico.
The public has seemed to forget the benefits of rawhide dog chews, some of which are:
1) Value: rawhide is by far the best bang for the buck in the market with extremely long lasting chews that dogs can snack on for hours. The chew time to price ratio absolutely beats all other dog chew categories
2) Vet Approved: rawhide has been deemed to be so safe that USDA veterinarians do not even require an import permit into the USA. The risk of harmful bacteria like salmonella and e-coli are extremely low
3) All Shapes and Sizes: rawhide is hand worked into a variety of shapes and sizes to fit all dog needs, such as large knotted bones, retriever rolls and twist sticks. Rawhide can also be coated with flavor enhancers like chicken or beef
4) All Natural: rawhide is all natural and dogs have been eating it for hundreds of years. We proudly place the all natural claim on every bag
There have been many articles and policies written as of recent based on public perception, including Petco's removal of traditional rawhide from the shelves. While this is clearly a reaction to public sentiment, we believe the public has been misled to believe rawhide is inherently harmful to their pet.
As you see on our website, we do not exclusively sell rawhide so we are happy to sell your furbaby bully sticks, elk antlers or other natural chews but hope you consider this article to be helpful. We are always available over email or chat to discuss further and as always, make the fun last longer with a Canine Chews treat.