All of us who are dog owners love to see our pets happy. We love to throw a ball, throw a Frisbee or give them a toy to play with. Some of the most cherished moments between a dog owner and their dog is walking their dog in the early morning hours and enjoying the peace. Dogs are truly mans’ (and women’s) best friend.
Last year some studies began to surface that suggested rawhide treats also known as chew treats might be less than beneficial for our dogs. In fact the very materials that are supposed to make them happy can harm them. Chew treats are made up of vegetable protein and fiber and if chewed incorrectly can turn into a pulp.
These chew treats in addition to generally giving our dog entertainment improve their teeth by cleaning them of food as they chew them and helping them strengthen their chewing muscles. It also acts as entertainment.
The problem with dog chews is different dogs eat these chews in different ways. One dog may chew it very well and get it down to a fine bite whereas another dog may rip it apart and chew bigger chunks. The danger occurs when larger chunks are ripped off and swallowed. They can become lodged in the intestinal track or lodged in the dog’s throat making it impossible for the dog to breathe.
Some of the symptoms you might see in a dog that has swallowed too much rawhide are vomiting, high fever, listlessness or choking or gagging. At this point a vet should be called immediately. In general larger dogs will tolerate chews better than smaller dogs, although certain dogs that are use to gulping their food are just as prone to having a problem.
As an example we have two dogs, one is a pointer mix and the other is a border collie. The collie is smart and will go after the pointer’s treats. The pointer knows that so typically if he gets something he swallows it right away. Additionally, that is also the way he eats his food. I think hounds will typically eat this way. Hounds will tend to ingest their foods in a rapid manner and in large chunks.
Whatever your breed when you give them a new chew it is important to watch and make sure they are chewing it in the right way so they do not end up in the emergency room.
“Don’t Leave Dogs Unattended with chew treats,” article, Labak, Kim Marie, Information Specialist, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, “Healthy Cells Magazine,” January 2010