Rawhide bones are awesome treats for dogs. There is no doubt about that. Dogs need treats every now and then, and that is just a matter of fact. Just like us humans, dogs love their treats too, and boy do they deserve them. Rawhide bones do actually bring some benefits along with them, but they can also have some drawbacks.

Let’s talk about everything there is to know about your dog and rawhide bones, especially how long a dog should chew on them before you take it away.

What Is A Rawhide Bone?

Simply put, a rawhide bone is a fake bone made of horse or cow hide. When cows and horses are slaughtered, their hides can be processed, cut, and/or stamped into chewable treats such as rawhide bones. In other words, it’s a great treat for your dogs because they come from a natural source. Dogs love the fact that it still somewhat tastes like a real animal.

Why Get Your Dog A Rawhide Bone?

One of the main reasons why you should get your dog a rawhide bone is because dogs love to chew. Chewing is something they do for stimulation, for fun, and to relieve boredom. Many people opt for rawhide treats and bones because they are relatively safe, plus they aren’t too expensive either. Rest assured that your dog will chew on something no matter what.

So, instead of chewing on sofas, shoes, walls, and anything else they can fit their mouth around, giving them a rawhide bone is definitely a good alternative.

Also, chewing on a rawhide bone will act as a teeth brushing session to some extent. The rawhide bones get pretty rough, so they do a good job at getting rid of stuff stuck between teeth and plaque too. Dogs may not like it when you brush their teeth, but rawhide bones are a good way to get them to brush without them even knowing it.

This in turn will also help to keep their breath nice and fresh. Furthermore, chewing on a big and tough rawhide bone will also help keep their jaws nice and strong. As you can see, there are quite a few benefits of letting your dog chew on rawhide bones.

Some Rawhide Risks

There are certain risks and drawbacks that come from letting your dog chew on a rawhide bone, especially for too long. You do need to be somewhat careful when giving your dogs rawhide bones for several reasons.

  • Rawhide bones can get contaminated with bacteria and viruses. Yes, they can contain some chemicals from the manufacturing process, but the real worry is something like cholera or salmonella. Just be sure that you are buying a reputable brand of rawhide bone that is known for being manufactured in a safe environment.
  • If you notice that your dog has diarrhea or other digestive issues, it might be due to the rawhide. Maybe the dog did not chew it up well enough or maybe your dog is allergic to it. Either way, this is something that you will find out soon enough.
  • Thinner and harder rawhides can actually break teeth in extreme cases, something you need to look out for.
  • Some rawhide bones, when not chewed properly, can cause blockages and choking. Blockages in the esophagus can often be easily treated, but these larger pieces can also get stuck in the digestive tract, and issue that is not so easily solved.
  • Look out for signs that something is wrong. These signs include gagging, regurgitation, lots of swallowing, fever, diarrhea (possibly with blood), fever, pain, lethargy, and a refusal to eat.

How Long Should I Let My Dog Chew On Rawhide?

Well, this question is not as easy to answer as it may seem at first. This does not have as much to do with time as it does with size. Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is to let them chew on it until the piece becomes small enough to swallow whole. When the rawhide bone becomes small enough to swallow whole, you need to take it away to avoid cuts, blockages, and other digestive issues. If your dog starts vomiting, has trouble breathing, swallows repeatedly, has diarrhea, or any other related issues, take the rawhide away immediately.

Also, when the rawhide becomes soft and malleable, replace it with a fresh and hard piece. The old rawhide will dry up and become hard again, but you will have to wait until it does to give it back to your dog. The main point here is that your dog should chew on the rawhide no longer than the point where it becomes small and can be swallowed (but too big to swallow comfortably) or soft and malleable.

The main thing to remember here is that you should supervise your dog when giving it rawhide treats. While they do have a good amount of benefits, they can also be somewhat dangerous, and even life threatening in extreme cases.


Before we go for the day, something else to keep in mind is that rawhide is not a food source or substitute for food. It has next to no nutrients, calories, or anything else. Always watch your dogs when you give them these things and if you notice any signs of illness or distress, take the rawhide bone away immediately. As we said before, the time it takes to reach the point where you should take the rawhide away will differ from dog to dog and how each dog reacts to it. Just make sure to be observant.