CHOOSING SAFE DOG CHEWS By Dr. Michael W. Fox
I would not advise giving dogs rawhide chews imported from abroad unless there is an indication of country of origin. This is because of the many steps in processing from various countries of origin include cow hides from India where widespread cruelty has been documented in “cow shelters”. For details see review on this website. Hotspot Pets 6-7 Inch “USDA Certified Facility Rawhide Dog Chew Bones from Grass Fed Brazilian Cows” raise another issue. Should we be importing these and the beef from Brazil because of its assault on the Amazon forest to clear land for agriculture and beef production?
There should also be a statement, as with Master Paws Rawhide from Mexico, distributed by Menard Inc. Eau Claire WI “Contains no chrome, arsenic or other toxic elements”.
Tannery industries are listed as the most polluting activity due to the wide type of chemicals applied during the conversion of animal skins into leather. Chromium salts, Phenolics, Tannins, organic matter, Azodyes, Cadmium compounds, Cobalt, Copper, Antimony, Barium, Lead, Selenium, Mercury, Zinc, Arsenic, Polychlorinated Biphyenls (PCB), Nickel, Formaldehyde resins, and Pesticide residues. are constantly released to the environment in tannery wastewater. Many of these chemicals pose a significant health risk to workers in tanneries and may be retained in rawhide chews given to dogs.
Some dogs enjoy chewing Nylabones and the Chewbrush which is FDA food-safe and durable plastic with no BPA, latex, or impurities and has tooth-shaped slots designed to fit and clean all sides of your dog’s teeth at once. Raw beef shank or rib bones are acceptable. Cooked bones can splinter and are harder, like antlers, sheep horns and hooves also sold for dogs to chew can result in costly cracked teeth problems. Check www.earthanimal for safe, non-hide dog chews. Whatever chews you decide upon, limit chewing time to 10-15 minutes daily and remove any small pieces the dog might swallow and have an intestinal obstruction especially with the knotted end of raw hide chews.
Cattle penis “bully” sticks, tracheas (wind pipes) and beef tendons, if from the U.S. and simply dry-processed, may be safer and help keep teeth clean. Widely sold dried pig parts for dogs to chew should be avoided because of the not infrequent recalls because of Salmonella and other bacterial contamination that can put entire families at risk. All such animal parts may have been subjected to atomic radiation which can result in radiolytic break-down products which could be toxic. Top of my list for safe and nutritious dog chews are the No-Hide dog chews in various sizes and flavors developed by veterinarian Dr. Bob Goldstein from www.earthanimal.com
Dogs enjoy chewing and it is a relaxing activity that does help keep teeth and gums clean, but often only on one side since many dogs tend to chew more on one side tan the other. So regular teeth cleaning with a brush and veterinary approved paste or a home-prepared paste of equal parts salt and baking soda in equal parts aloe vera gel and Green tea, with a drop of essential oil of Thyme every evening is advisable. Get puppies and kittens used to having their teeth brushed early in life can make this health-care maintenance a breeze later in life. The costs and suffering from dental problems especially in cats and small-breed and flat-faced, (brachycephalic) dogs is a major health issue as per my posting, Dental Problems in Companion Animals, on this website.