Tip of the Month

12/28/2007 Chew Toys

Rawhide (Compressed and Knotted)

Dog owners will often be challenged when it comes to solving their dogs' chewing habits. Most likely, the moment their first pair of $200 shoes is destroyed, they will frantically call their ABC Certified Dog Trainer for suggestions and immediate help. Your trainer, in addition to providing other training advice meant specifically for chewing problems, will most likely advise you to find an alternate item meant specifically for the dog to chew on.
Redirecting a dogs attention is an essential aspect of dog training that requires careful consideration and educated decisions.

One type of dog chew to consider is compressed rawhide bones. Rawhides are made of bovine (cow) or swine (pig) hides which have been dried and processed into various shapes and sizes. As the name suggests, compressed chews are processed hides that have been tightly compressed into different shapes and often have added flavoring such as garlic, beef, or cheese for additional appeal. Some compressed rawhides have a knot tied on each end. A well-made rawhide should have some flexibility when twisted and should have been made in North America to reduce the amounts of added chemicals (such as formaldehyde). Rawhides are frequently washed in formaldehyde or bleached with titanium oxide (which turns them white), so use caution when selecting a chew. Your animal trainer, as well as your veterinarian, will warn you against bleached rawhides as they can be harmful to your dog.

As any ABC Certified Dog Trainer will tell you, rawhides are great for relieving boredom, exercising teeth and gums, and satisfying a dogs need to chew, as long as they are safe health-wise. When selecting a rawhide, consult your professional dog obedience trainer. Always choose a bone that appears too large for the dog so he cannot chew and swallow it too quickly. Also take care to make sure the dog cannot fit the rawhide completely into his mouth. When the dog is able to hold the entire chew in his mouth, its time to take it away. Some dogs manage to shred rawhide chews. This results in small pieces of rawhide hanging off the chew. If this occurs, simply cut them away with scissors as this will prevent the dog from ingesting them. Always supervise your dog while he enjoys any type of rawhide.

Pros
Dogs love the intense flavor and aroma of most rawhides.

Compressed rawhide is more durable and long-lasting than shredded compressed rawhide.

Any type of chew that is safe and that the dog enjoys is a good redirector from chewing other household items, so they can be an asset to his animal training.

Cons
An aggressive chewer may swallow large pieces or consume an entire rawhide quickly, which could cause an intestinal blockage. They can also potentially pierce the lining of the intestines or other organs, causing major medical problems.

Some dogs, especially aggressive chewers, may suffer from broken teeth or slab fractures of molars from chewing compressed rawhides, so always supervise any dog with any type of chew. If you are unsure as to whether your dog is chewing too aggressively, consult your animal trainer.

Some added flavorings (visible or not) may stain carpets, fabrics, and some porous floorings, which in turn can stimulate chewing on these items, making them an unfavorable dog training tool.

Chemical preservatives found in various types of inferior rawhide may be dangerous to your dog.

Again, if you are unsure of the safety of a rawhide bone for your dog, consult your trainer or veterinarian. Also, when battling a chewing problem, providing an alternate item to chew may not be sufficient. Always seek animal training when your dog exhibits unfavorable behavioral issues.

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