My vet is fantastic. I couldn't love him more. He calmly and patiently answers every question I have, is a busy vet who also does research for UC Davis Vet School outside of his practice so I know he's up to date on what I need to know for my little guy.
During our visit 2 days ago for Ollie's last puppy shots, I mentioned that sometimes Ollie spits up a tiny little bit of foamy vomit... no food, no bile, doesn't smell, doesn't slow him down, etc. Dr. Leslie immediately asked if he gets rawhide or hooves since he's a little guy and teething? Yes, I replied, of course.
Uh uh. Wrong Answer. Dr. Leslie explained that he would really prefer that I not give Ollie either rawhide or hooves anymore.... here's why:
Rawhide: even if it's all natural, it doesn't mean it's processed naturally and preservative free.. Rawhide is also dehydrated and in contact with fluids like saliva or fluids in your dog's belly, the rawhide swells... tremendously. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases internal rupturing or hemorrhaging of the stomach or other part of the gastrointestinal system.. on my end, the rawhide can get really gross at home and i hates finding sticky little bits of it on the carpet after Ollie had chewed it up..
Hooves: other than the fact that they stick to holy hell and back (enough of a reason for me personally to want something else!) they are chock full of toxins and carcinogens... hooves also are taken long after the animal has been slaughtered for meat and is dead so is literally taken off of a decomposing animal. Hooves also splinter often and easily and little pieces are swallowed without being chewed well... these can irritate the stomach leading to vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding, etc. The splintering can also cause dental damage to the teeth or gum beds.
Another reason? I feel my dog Wellness.... so why am I feeding him fantastic food, worrying enough to seek out antibiotic free wholesome food and then giving him inferior chews? Makes no sense at all, I just never thought of it that way before!
So, better options?
Antlers are the best! They are a bit pricey but apparently last 2-3x as long as other chews b/c they don't splinter and b/c they are natural and fully digestible, they are gentler on your dog's tummy.... again, b/c they have to chew longer to wear down the antler, they are also getting more of a dental cleaning and workout from it and so for Ollie LOOOOOVES them... when they are around, he doesn't come up for air for an hr or more! So you also get a babysitter We got him a small size split elk antler and a small size deer antler, each about $6.50... so they are sized for your dog and don't seem to have any odor at all!
Other options (which I won't go into b/c a) I don't know as much about them or have experience with them and b) am not planning to pursue them are bully sticks and raw bones)
*side note, this is just my personal insight and my vet doesn't sell any of the above products and has always given us sound advice for our pets so I believe his info to be spot on :) please post if you have more info!