Chances are, your dog absolutely loves a rawhide chew. However, rawhide seems to have received a lot of bad press lately, and you might be reconsidering the chew toys that you give your dog.
Cooking your own rawhide chews is an excellent way of making sure you know exactly what your dog is playing with, and they still get to enjoy their favorite treat.
Cooking rawhide for your dog is a simple process of cutting, boiling and drying, and it doesn’t take many resources at all. Read on to learn about the quick process of making rawhide chews at home.
Table of Contents
- Step One: Find Good Quality Rawhide
- Step Two: Cut Up Your Rawhide Into Manageable Pieces For Your Dog
- Step Three: Shape Your Rawhide
- Step Four: Boil and Flavor A Pot of Water
- Step Five: Place Your Rawhide In The Boiling Water
- Step Six: Prepare Some Baking Trays
- Step Seven: Remove Your Rawhide From The Water and Place On The Trays
- Step Eight: Store And Maintain Your Rawhide
Step One: Find Good Quality Rawhide
Cooking rawhide for your dogs can be a really fun activity, and it’s rewarding to watch your pet enjoy something you have made for them with the peace of mind that there are no chemicals in the chew that could bring them any harm.
If your reason for making your own dog chews is to avoid the additives that those you find in the pet shop contain, then it really is essential that you find good quality rawhide to make your chews.
Your local butcher will most likely be glad to give you (or will sell to you relatively cheaply) edible rawhide that Is ready to boil. Be sure to buy rawhide that has the outer layer removed so that it does not have animal hair on it.
Step Two: Cut Up Your Rawhide Into Manageable Pieces For Your Dog
It’s essential that the pieces of rawhide are an appropriate size for your dog. Your dog should not be able to swallow the chews whole, but they should be small enough that they can fit their jaw around it in order to chew it and perhaps carry it.
I would recommend cutting your rawhide into strips, much like those you find in the pet shop. About 4 inches wide is the correct width, but the strips can be of varying lengths depending on the size of your dog and whether you intend on shaping the rawhide.
Step Three: Shape Your Rawhide
This is an entirely optional step, but it can make the chews much more exciting for your furry friend. You can tie your strips of rawhide into various knots or tie a knot at either side of the strip of rawhide.
If you’re feeling really creative, you could plait thinner strips of rawhide to make a fun, different chew toy to keep your dog entertained.
Step Four: Boil and Flavor A Pot of Water
Fill a pot of water about half-full. To flavor the rawhide for your dog, you can add some stock or broth that is safe for dogs to consume. If you can, try and opt for a reduced salt option, as too much salt will make the chews quite unhealthy for your dog to chew on consistently.
Step Five: Place Your Rawhide In The Boiling Water
Carefully place each piece of rawhide in the water using some tongs, ensuring that each piece is fully submerged in the water.
Let the rawhide boil in the pot until the chews begin to curl and soften at the edges. This can take up to about 20 minutes, but this depends entirely on the size of the pieces you have cut up.
I would recommend giving the rawhide a stir occasionally to make sure that all of the chews are boiling at the same speed and that no parts are exposed.
Step Six: Prepare Some Baking Trays
Whilst you’re waiting for your rawhide to soften in the boiling water, you can prepare some baking trays from your home-cooked rawhide to dry on.
You’ll need enough space for each of your dog chews to dry without them touching each other. The rawhide should be able to lie flat and let the water run off of them.
Step Seven: Remove Your Rawhide From The Water and Place On The Trays
Once it seems as though your rawhide is cooked, use some tongs to remove each piece from the pot and place them gently on the baking trays. Your rawhide might now look quite pale or have changed color a little if it has been boiling in a broth.
After this, it is best to leave your rawhide to dry overnight to dry and cool completely. It will harden a little in this process, but it should seem more supple than when it was first purchased from the butchers.
Step Eight: Store And Maintain Your Rawhide
It is recommended that you store your rawhide in an airtight container. Rawhide chews have an impressive shelf-life if you cook and care for them properly, so it’s really worth making sure you keep these treats in a dry place.
After your dog has enjoyed one rawhide chew for a little while, you can swap it out for a new one, but rather than throwing the old one away, you can store it in a dry place, and it will harden again.
You can even re-boil rawhide chews in a tasty broth for your dog to regain interest in them and give them a longer life. Follow the same process as given above, from Step Four, to do this.
However, when a strip of rawhide has been significantly gnawed down, know when to say goodbye. Small pieces of rawhide can be dangerous for your beloved pet, as they can get stuck in their throat and are difficult to digest.
Throw these away to prevent your dog from accidentally swallowing their chew, and if your dog does do this, keep a watchful eye on them and ensure they are able to breathe, eat and drink properly for the next 24 hours. Never hesitate to contact a vet about your dog eating rawhide.
As a general rule, rawhide that your dog has been chewing on for a week or more should be re-sterilized in boiling water or thrown away to prevent the build-up of bacteria that could be bad for your dog to have in its mouth.