Our trained staff at Pet Factory have received and answered numerous questions from concerned pet owners and pet product distributors. Listed below are some of the most frequent inquiries we have received.
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Rawhide is the inner layer of the hide of any cleft-hoofed bovine livestock. Beef-Hide is premium rawhide made from cows raised for consumption. American Beef-Hide is derived from corn-fed cows within U.S. borders.
The animal's skin is split into inner and outer layers. The tough outer layer is used for leather shoes, garments, and upholstery, while the softer inner layer is cut and formed into different shapes for dog chews.
Collagen fibers link to make the animal's hide tough yet flexible. Human skin has the same basic structure but is much thinner.
The quality of rawhide is often related to its country of origin:
American Beef-hide: Corn-fed beef raised in the U.S. supply a thick, palatable and high quality chew. American beef-hide is considered "The Source" of choice for premium chews
Oriental Water-Buffalo: Raised to work in the fields of countries like China, Korea and Thailand, they are a common source of imported rawhide.
South American Range Cows: These animals are fed on grass and typically have little fat and a rough, fibrous consistency. They are warm weather animals with a thinner skin.
The animal's hide is transported to processing plants where it is split, washed, and cleaned. The hides are then cut, formed and dried into many varieties of rawhide you see in the stores. In less developed countries a lack of modern roads and refrigeration trucks often requires the use of preservatives to get skins from outer-lying areas to processing plants. In the U.S. fresh beef-hides are refrigerated during shipping to prevent degradation , spoilage, fouling and the need for chemical additives
When collagen in the skin dries out, it becomes stiff. As your dog chews, the saliva moistens and softens the rawhide. Foreign rawhide is often sun parched while U.S. beef-hide is oven dried to prevent over drying. Smooth shiny areas on a chew are a sign of heat breakdown indicating an extremely hard area that the dog may not be able to soften.
Natural tendencies of wild canines and their predecessors was to sink their teeth into their prey and pull away on the hides stripping the skin and meat. Inherent in this feeding processes was the beneficial action of the tugging and pressure on the teeth and gums which served to toughen the gums and clean the teeth for a continuously healthy mouth. Chews offer two valuable benefits to your dog.
Infections, kidney and heart disease can result when poor dental health gives bacteria an environment to enter your dog's body. Bacteria in the dog's mouth breaks down food particles and converts them to plaque and excess acid. The plaque can become mineralized to form a hard deposit on the tooth surface called "calculus." The excess acid damages the gums resulting in gingivitis. Unchecked gingivitis results in periodontitis, the leading cause of tooth loss. As rawhide is chewed and moistened, it wraps around the teeth and rubs off plaque and calculi.
All dogs have an inherent desire to chew, especially puppies. Aberrant chewing can be a sign of lack of exercise or a vitamin deficiency, but it is most often a normal desire to chew. This drive can exhibit itself on furniture and clothing items. Beef-hide offers a dog a safe chewing outlet.
Country of Origin is required packaging information. Look closely for indications of imitations of U.S. Beef-hide such as "Made from U.S. Beef-hide in China or Mexico" or "Product of S America." This is a further indication that even the importers recognize the value of U.S. Beef-hide.
Basting ingredients are procured from flavor producing companies that cater to the food industry. USDA and other governmental requirements ensure the quality for U.S. goods. Foreign imported rawhide must use U.S. made basting products or a U.S. approved basted products.
Some basted rawhide claims to be non-staining. Generally, the food colors used are water soluble and once wet can run and will most likely stain. Clear Basted American Beef-hide has the flavor your dog wants and is safe for your carpets and upholstery leaving only faint indications of any staining if any at all.
Rawhide is not a food, but a safe chewable toy that can be, and most often is, consumed. It is 80-85% protein, 10-12% fiber and moisture, and 1-2% fat. High in protein, low in fat, especially compared to pig ears and other pork skin products, and fewer calories per ounce than a typical dog biscuit. One or two hours of daily chewing is sufficient.
Fortunately, chews come in every size and shape imaginable. It is important that the chew be large enough and thick enough that your dog cannot easily chew off and swallow a large piece or the whole chew. Rawhide that requires more than 7 days to chew should be replaced due to dirt and bacteria buildup.
If your dog has gastrointestinal disease or is eating a therapeutic diet, you should seek a veterinarian's approval before feeding any chews. Dogs with beef allergies or that consistently swallow bones whole should probably not receive chews unattended.