How to Soften Rawhide

How to Soften Rawhide – The Ultimate 2024 Guide

It is a universally acknowledged truth that dogs are man’s best friend. Indeed, man loves playing with dogs and likewise dogs too. Time and again, you want to treat your dogs, whether it is a reward for obedience or to keep your dogs’ busy while you work. Rawhides are the most popular and enjoyable chew for dogs.

To prevent your dog from choking, here’s how you can soften your rawhides from the comfort of your home.

  • Soak in cool water
  • Boiling
  • Use of Proteolytic enzymes

In this article, you will first try to understand what a rawhide is, how it is made, how to soften rawhides if they are safe, and other available alternatives that are safer for your dogs.

What is Rawhide?

Rawhides are made from processed cattle horn/hooves, bones. (or other livestock species too) Raw hides are produced by drying in the sun, making it hard for your dogs to chew on. Raw hides are available in different shapes and sizes. They are rolled into different varieties and glued together so that it doesn’t come apart. They are decorated to make them appealing to your pets. Some manufacturers apply tinted colors and add synthetic flavor that exudes a pleasant aroma.

When your pets chew on hard rawhides, their saliva moistens them, and they chew off pieces that are harmful to their stomach. Rawhides contain certain chemicals like sodium sulfide, hydrogen peroxide, which can be toxic for your dogs.

How to Soften Rawhide
what is rawhide
are rawhides safe

How to Soften Rawhide

  • Soak in cool water: The containment of calcium in bones makes rawhides strong. Rawhides are generally sun-parched, which makes the bones harder. So to soften and make it safer for your dog, you can dissolve the calcium by adding vinegar or other additives.
  • Boiling: If your dog is not habituated to chewing on hard rawhides, then boiling the Rawhide will help to soften it. Subjecting Rawhide to heat will lessen the hardness of the bones, and thus your dog can chew without breaking its teeth.
  • Use of proteolytic enzymes: Proteolytic enzymes break down proteins. Plants, animals, and fungi produce them. Proteolytic enzymes include chymotrypsin, Bromelain, papain, Ficin, and trypsin. Studies show that Bromelain, present in pineapple juice and stem, is used for bating hides.

Rawhides contain fibrous proteins called collagen and mineral calcium phosphate. These components add to the strength of the bones and harden the tissues. Studies also show that proteolytic enzymes such as papain and Protease (neutrase) soften and make the meat soluble. Papain degrades collagen by attaching directly and decomposing the collagen target protein.

The above steps are easy ways on how you can soften rawhides. These approaches will soften the hides and make it safer for your dogs to chew.

Are Rawhides Safe?

It is necessary for you to know what kind of a chewer (light or ferocious) your dog is, and depending on it; you provide them with the apt rawhides. If you have a smaller dog, you would require a softer rawhide- the twisted ones are smoother and safer for small dogs. According if you have a bigger dog, you give them bigger rawhides. Dogs have approximately 0.1mm to 1mm of enamel. Chewing on a hard substance can damage enamel.

Many groups or nutritionists/ scientists say that synthetic rawhides are not safe for your pets. Rawhides are hard to process in the digestive system of your dog that causes blockage. Since rawhides are not digestible, they can expand inside their stomach mad make it difficult for them to pass it.

Benefits of Chewing for Your Dogs

Chewing is a fun activity for dogs that involves a lot of concentration. Chew toys and interactive dog toys are excellent ways to stimulate your dog’s brain!

It’s a method of relieving pain caused when teeth come in young puppies. For older dogs, chewing is nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can reduce the level of anxiety or restlessness.

Accumulation of Plagues can afflict the dental health of dogs. It can harm the gums, and when plagues are formed, tartar begins at the gum’s surface. If left untreated, it generates dental disease that affects the rest of the mouth and body.

Chewing can be a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and all the B vitamins!

benefits of rawhides
alternatives to rawhides
pros and cons of rawhides

Benefits of Rawhides

There are many similarities between man and man’s best friend. Just as chewing gum helps strengthen teeth and muscles in man, similarly chewing rawhides makes dog jaws stronger. By nature, dogs are canine animals, and they love to chew. Chewing rawhides releases endorphins. It also relieves their anxiety and protects them from the plague. Chewing helps in improving cardiovascular health as well as oral health.

As canine beings, whenever dogs feel anxious and restless, they want to chew. If they aren’t provided with any toy or hides to chew, your sofa or your shoes might be their resort. To help prevent this and to help them explore their environment, rawhides are beneficial.

Alternatives to Rawhides

Rawhides are termed dangerous for dogs for their risk and other attributes prone to harm your dogs. There are various options in the market for your dogs’ in place of rawhides. For example, compressed rawhides are safer and better as they are enveloped with multiple layers of hide. This layer makes it hard for dogs not to chew it off or to swallow it entirely.

  • Himalayan Churpi

Over the years, the Himalayan Churpi has also gained much popularity with the dogs’ chew ecosystem. Churpi is made of buttermilk which is cooked, and the solid mass is separated from the liquid. Churpi is considered to be the safest chew for your dogs as they are cent percent digestible. It doesn’t harm the digestive system of the stomach. When dogs chew on it, their saliva softens it and breaks it into tiny bits which are easily digestible. In India, several companies have started to make yak chews for pets.

Yak milk Yak milk is high in protein, which is necessary for dog growth and development. Yak milk is high in magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, all of which your pet requires to stay healthy. Manufacturers claim they are safe because they soften as they are chewed. Yak and Himalayan chews are completely digestible, long-lasting, not overly stinky, and will not stain your teeth. They are rich in calories.

  • Beef tendon

Beef tendon chews are 100% dried beef tendons. These are entirely natural and organic for dogs to chew. There are no preservatives or chemicals, unlike rawhides. Tendons serve as a healthy, nutritious diet for dogs.

  • Bully Sticks

Bully sticks, also known as Bull’s Pizzle or Pizzle sticks, are healthy chews sticks for dogs as they are rich in protein and contain low fat. They are usually sun-parched, but oven-baked bully sticks are known for their better taste. There are chews available for all-size dogs that are long-lasting. So you need not worry if your dog would chew it off before you finish your desk work.

Kong classic chew toys are better alternatives instead of rawhides. They are durable rubber toys that undergo vigorous testing and are proven to be safe. Kong classic toys can be stuffed with goodies and frozen, and it comes as a remedy for teething puppies with sore gums.

Pros and Cons of Rawhides


  • Rawhides help dogs release their anxiety and the obsessive need to chew.
  • Rawhides improve overall Oral health.
  • It keeps them busy and active.
  • It cleans the teeth where the brush fails to reach.


  • There are several toxic chemicals involved in the production of rawhides that can prove to be harmful.
  • It can choke your dogs to death if not monitored.
  • Rawhides can cause diarrhea.
  • It can cause Gagging, vomiting, regurgitation.

We cannot ignore the pros and cons of rawhides. It has its positive as well as negative impact. So it is up to you to consider what’s best for your dogs. Consulting your local vet is recommended to understand in what environment your dogs might grow best.


We have understood how, through natural ways, we can soften hides for dogs to prevent them from choking and jeopardy. There are multiple alternatives you can provide your dog instead of rawhides. As rawhides in the long term possess risks, bully sticks, chhurpi, and other chew alternatives are encouraged.

Your dog can’t go without chewing any chew toys. Withholding these privileges can negatively influence acquiring total growth. It can create deficiency concerning oral, dental, and other development in the body.

In conclusion, for the safety of your dogs, be watchful over what they chew, as even harmless objects or chews can be a threat to them. And now you know what you need to do if your hides are too solid for your pets. Also, you have found safer alternatives that will keep your pets happy, healthy, and active.

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