How much do you know about rawhide treats for dogs? If you’ve been reading our recent posts about the new Buffalo Range All Natural Buffalo Rawhide Treats, you may already know a lot! To bring you the latest, we sat down with our favorite vets Dr. Laura Wiles and Dr. Sasha Naugler to weigh in on some important questions:

What’s Beneficial About Rawhide Treats?

DR. NAUGLER: Chewing on treats helps keep a dog’s jaw, bone and muscles strong and reduces tartar buildup, resulting in fewer dental cleanings. It’s best for dogs to have healthy teeth to start with. I recommend pet parents have their dog’s teeth checked first. Get them a dental if needed. Let their teeth heal, then start them on rawhide chewing.

What size of rawhide treat is best?

Man pulling stick from dogDR. WILES: Look for ones that are size appropriate. You don’t want to give a big German Shepherd a tiny rawhide, for instance, or they may swallow it whole without chewing. Big dogs need big chews! And for small dogs, if the rawhide is too large, they will be unable to chew on it. DR. NAUGLER: This will depend on your dog’s chewing speed. I like to have a treat that will last at least 10-20 minutes, so I monitor the chewing speed of my dog and adjust with longer or thicker chews as needed to give them a longer time. So small dogs and large dogs alike, it depends on how avidly they chew. My pug/chi mix uses the Labrador-sized chews.

How often can I give treats to my dog?

DR. NAUGLER: Daily is good if it doesn’t cause problems. In a study in 1999, rawhides were given three times daily with no adverse effects. Start with one and make sure there are no digestive problems – soften it in water if needed. DR. WILES: As long as there’s not a weight problem, pet parents can give their dogs chews and treats every day. For overweight dogs, cut back on their meals to accommodate the calories from the treats.

What time is treat time?

DR. NAUGLER: Just make it a routine. We give treats to our dogs every night when we watch TV. This is our family time. DR. WILES: Anytime is fine.

What precautions should pet parents take?

DR. NAUGLER: Make sure there are no toxic chemicals in the chews. DR. WILES: Be careful your dog doesn’t consume the treat whole or a large chunk of a treat whole or they could choke. This is why it’s so important for dogs to have size-appropriate chews. Also watch for any  vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy and appetite loss. Stop feeding them the chews if they show any of these symptoms and take your dog to the vet. And please, don’t give your pets any treats made by Chinese manufacturers.

What’s the safest way to give rawhide treats?

DR. NAUGLER: Never give a treat when you are not available to watch your dog. If your pooch gulps food or is food protective, I recommend keeping him separate from other dogs. That’s because they will gulp faster if another dog is around. And this increases the chances of them choking on larger pieces. DR. WILES: Monitor, monitor, monitor your dog when she has a rawhide treat.   If you have any questions you’d like to ask our vets about rawhide treats, please let us know in the comments section below.