Is it O.K. to give my dog rawhides to chew?

Companion Animals April 18, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Yes. There appear to be no negative effects of offering rawhide chews. Feeding rawhide chews is an effective method of maintaining dental health, specifically in preventing gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums due to bacterial plaque. Chewing rawhides helps keep plaque from forming by scraping teeth to clean them. Rawhides can also prevent or decrease the severity of periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease is seen over a long period of time as a buildup of plaque, tartar, and gingivitis. It can affect the gums, bones, and ligaments, and can lead to tooth loss.


However, it is important to consider a few items when providing rawhide chews. Make sure the size of rawhide chews are suitable for the size of your dog. A large dog may choke on rawhides meant for a small dog. In addition, you should supervise your dog while it has the chew to make sure that no large pieces are swallowed. 

Choose a quality rawhide chew that has been stored in a clean, cool environment. You may want to try a variety of chew sizes and types to determine which best meets the needs of your dog.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.