I put this in GQ because I’m hoping there is a factual answer but I suspect there isn’t so feel free to transplant me to IMHO.
What’s the deal with rawhide?

Our local pet store owner told us to not give it to our dogs until they’re over a year old (they are now).

I search the internet and it seems to be pretty evenly split between the rawhide-is-safe crowd and the dangerous-horrible-instant death-don’t even think about it crowd.

What gives? My mom just gave us 2 very large rawhide chews (as in longer than my dogs and about 3-4 inches around.

Are we guilty of attempted murder if we give these to our dogs or not?

I can’t speak scientifically, but I have had multiple dogs for all of my 50 years, and have ALWAYS given them nice rawhide chews. The only bad experience I have has were when one of my big dogs got a rawhide chip that was too small- I normally don’t let the big dogs have them, but she found one a small dog had stashed. She tried to swallow it and it got hung in her throat, I had to reach in and dig it out.

I know a lot of people sweat rawhide is evil, but honestly… in my opinion, dogs gotta chew, and if you don’t supply SOMEthing for them, they will find something on their own.

Different dogs will chew and swallow rawhide differently. Some try to swallow pieces too large that become lodged in their throat but usually are able to "vomit’ it back up before they begin enjoying it for a second time.

I spoke with my Vet about it and she said the worst case she has seen involved a rawhide bone where the knotted end became lodged in the intestine requiring an operation. I avoid the bones but give my dog the small strips and always keep an eye on her while she’s chewing.

Some dogs swallow pieces too large to fully digest so have a look at the dog’s fecal matter and if you see undigested rawhide, you may want to try a different type of chew. They also love pig ears but they’re a little more digestible, only come in the strip form but more expensive.

buy only US made rawhides and chews…other countries with a lot less rules uses chemicals that are banned in the US…

Multiple ellipses do not make it so. Do you have a citation to back up this assertion?

China. Lead in toys, lead in food- Why would we think they would treat dog food better than items for humans? I don’t need a cite for something that obvious.

Oh, and aren’t a lot of ellipses a sign you are going crazy?

I always heard that it was multiple exclamation points.

I’m not positive but I believe that you need a cite for any fact posted in GQ, regardless of how obvious it may be. I could be wrong though. If I am, I’m sure Gary will clarify.

Thanks for the info everyone.

I see. So the logic goes like this:

  1. There are companies in China that still use lead-based paint on toys.

  2. (some logical step I’m missing)

  3. Therefore, you should only buy certified 100% American rawhide chew toys or your dog will die from harmful chemicals.

Somehow, that didn’t clarify it for me.

China Admits Tainted Pet Food

But since that doesn’t specify rawhide chews- Heck, go right ahead. I’m sure they are harmless.

Oh, of course! They added melamine to the rice gluten used in dog food, so they must have added something to the rawhide, too! Even though there’s no rice gluten used in curing rawhide, those sneaky little Orientals found something else to add–at extra expense to themselves, I’m sure–just so they could kill some American dogs.

I bow to your superior and highly-convincing logic.

What more do you want me to say? I can’t find anything on rawhide chews, so it should not matter where you buy them.

You are right, and I was wrong.

So if you know a guy who advertises a pet-sitting business for neighborhood dogs and cats and often accidentally gets them stuck in the garbage disposal, you’re cool with letting him watch your pet rabbit because, hey, not a cat or dog, right?

Will you be shocked when you go to get flopsy back and she’s goo?

What are you suggesting they would add to the rawhide to make it cheaper to produce (there’s clearly no point in underhandedly doing something that would make it more expensive to produce)?

What chemicals might be used to de-hair the rawhide? Might there be any chemical treatment to preserve the hides and keep them from spoiling, that might be less expensive than refrigeration, or might mask the odor of a slightly spoiled hide?
I’m not suggesting that this is actually done, I’m just voicing my realistic (to me, at least) concerns.

What concerns? I thought we already covered that rawhide from any other country would be as pure as the wind driven snow? What are these possible chemicals of which you speak? They would be an extra expense!

No need to worry whatsoever.

Here’s an article describing the manufacture of rawhide chews, and some of the dangers of cost-cutting in under-regulated environments. The guy’s a little over the top, but some of what he points out makes sense; e.g., hides exported from the US need more sanitization than locally processed hides, and may not get it, or may be soaked in toxic compounds without adequate rinsing.

It’s also important to remember that the cost of quality goods isn’t just the ingredients; it’s the cost of rejecting defective product. The temptation to cover up with cosmetic treatments is ever-present, and Chinese manufacturers have a history of giving in to it more than U.S. manufacturers.

So the rawhide chews come from the same company(s) that had the pet food issues? If not, your analogy is meaningless.

Keep chewin’, chewin’, chewin’,
Though they’re disapprovin’,
Keep them doggies chewin’

I heard an entire shipload of industrial chemicals had to be returned to China. Turns out it was contaminated with pet food and toys.

No matter what you think of Nametag’s link, the post fairly eloquently mirrors my opinion.