A traumatised pet owner has warned others about the dangers of a popular treat after her dog was found to have intestinal damage from a buildup of the product in its stomach.
The woman said her two-year-old cocker spaniel Charlie ended up with a huge blockage after ingesting chunks of rawhide, which in many cases, is not digestible.
Rawhide pet treats are most commonly made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. They have beef, chicken, or liver flavourings, and a stiff, leathery texture.
The British woman wrote in a post to Facebook on Friday that had she not rushed Charlie to the emergency vet the previous Sunday, he might not have lived much longer.
Having begun his road to recovery, Charlie’s owner has now called on the sale of the popular treat to banned from sale.
“Charlie is now on the mend but may have to have another operation as he has damage to his intestine,” she wrote in her post.
In a photo she shared along with the post, a disturbing number of rawhide chunks pulled from Charlie’s stomach filled a sizeable cup.
“The picture show just a small amount that they removed from his stomach. There was a lot more not shown in the picture,” the woman wrote.
Fortunately, Charlie’s $3000 vet bill was covered by insurance, but she worried what might happen if others weren’t in such a favourable position.
“Luckily we could pay and claim back on our insurance but not everyone could afford this and it would be heartbreaking for them if the only choice they had was to put their pet to sleep,” she wrote.
“All sale of rawhide should be banned.”
The risks of rawhide as a treat for dogs
A similar position was echoed by Sydney vet Dr Leigh Davidson, director of yourvetonline.com, who warned pet owners to avoid giving their pets raw hide as a treat.
“It’s quite horrible and can be very scary,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
The risk was particularly high for dogs with shorter faces, and especially if they were overly rambunctious around food.
The treat can get lodged in the animal’s throat where part of it is hanging out their mouth, and the other in their gut, creating a choking hazard, Dr Davidson said.
“Some dogs just want to swallow it without chewing, that’s when there tends to be an issue.”
She said rawhide might be less hazardous to pets who took a subtle approach to treats and were unlikely to try and swallow it.
Alternatively, pet owners could try holding the treat in their hand while their dog enjoyed a lick and nibble.
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