“Is rawhide bad for dogs?“ “Are rawhide chews bad?” “Is rawhide digestible?” The internet is flooded with these and similar queries from canine guardians. But what about chews dubbed “No-Hide” that allegedly contain rawhide? According to a class action lawsuit, this is the case with Earth Animal No-Hide Chews—a consumer lawsuit says that the treats, which the brand refers to as a “healthier … alternative to rawhide,” are really made using rawhide. So what’s a well-intentioned guardian to do?
What to Do If You Spot Earth Animal No-Hide Chews in a Store
If you are shopping and see Earth Animal No-Hide Chews or STIX, kindly draw the store’s attention to them—make sure it’s aware of the lawsuit.
As far as what you purchase for Fido or Lassie, be sure to avoid any products made using rawhide or processed animal bones as well as most jerky-style treats. Animal-free treats from retailers such as v-dog and Wild Earth are great options, as are the other brands and products listed in our vegan dog food guide. Or treat your best buddy right with homemade dog goodies made of safe, yummy ingredients like peanut butter, pumpkin, carrots, and oats.
What Is Rawhide? Is Rawhide Really Bad for Dogs?
Rawhide is skin that’s torn from animals’ bodies—including from horses, cows, and pigs—and then dried and processed. Cows who are killed for rawhide dog chews are often the same ones who are killed for leather used to make shoes and other products. But while animal-derived leather is made of the outer layer of animals’ stolen hides, the inner layer is used for rawhide—and separating the two and processing the skins require some seriously scary chemicals, including lye, a sodium hydroxide solution that’s also used for disinfecting floors and toilets.
According to information reportedly obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture found trailers full of rawhide products (which looked strikingly similar to Earth Animal’s No-Hide products) that had been imported from China at the company’s manufacturing facility. In China, animal-skin industries are governed by murky regulations or are sometimes not regulated at all. (The manufacturer of the chews also admittedly sells rawhide.) A PETA Asia undercover investigator even documented that dogs were slaughtered for leather—their skins were sold to unsuspecting customers all over the world.
PETA will be closely watching the outcome of the class action lawsuit, eager for any information that it might reveal about Earth Animal and the rawhide chew industry.
Is Rawhide Digestible?
It shouldn’t shock you to learn that the chemically processed skins of animals aren’t gut-friendly, but “Is rawhide bad for dogs’ digestion?” is still a way-too-frequently googled query—and the answer is a very simple yes. Dogs can have allergies or sensitivities to rawhide, which can cause diarrhea. Some dogs break off large chunks of rawhide chews with their teeth and swallow them, putting them at risk of choking or obstruction—the pieces can get stuck in the esophagus and cause blockages, which can require surgery or even lead to death.
It’s vital that we know what we’re feeding our animal companions.
Join your dog—remove the bones and flesh from your own diet, too:
Update: July 27, 2021
In response to a consumer lawsuit’s claim that Earth Animal No-Hide Chews, which the brand refers to as “The Healthy Alternative to Rawhide,” are actually made using rawhide, Earth Animal sent PETA the following statement:
Earth Animal is energetically defending the integrity of its No-Hide® Wholesome Chews and re-asserting the truth of the facts stated on all of its packaging and marketing materials – No-Hide® Chews do not contain rawhide. Rather, the No-Hide® Chews are made with wholesome ingredients such as brown rice flour, eggs, and olive oil which, when combined, resemble the appearance of rawhide. We have compiled extensive evidence and research validating this fact, which is available on our website. Other responses to the allegations can be found here, here, and here.
At this time, the lawsuit mentioned in the article has been temporarily stayed by the Court, as Earth Animal and the claimants have agreed to work closely together to engage a mutually agreed upon third-party expert to observe the production process and analyze the contents of No-Hide® Chews according to best available scientific methods.