Raw Hide: Do Not Seek

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My wife and I like to think that we’re doing well by our Lilly, the Boston terrier.

But are we? Always?

After a long-day’s squirrel-chasing and resting assured that her human parents have returned from their errands, Lilly loves to settle in for a good chew.

And we indulge her. Aside from promoting dental hygiene and keeping her as occupied as an eight-year-old playing CandyCrush, chewing is a great tension reliever for our girl.

Rawhide chips had become Lilly’s pride and joy. The introduction of each new “chippy” was enshrined in ritual. Lilly would begin by gently romancing it, licking it’s stiff, glazed edges. Over time, she gnawed gnarled, twisted and flipped it over her head like an Orca toying with its prey. Come bedtime, Lilly curled up next to us, her head resting on a now-floppy “chippy.”

Needless to say, we were horrified to learn how those “leather delights” are made - and what could be “baked” inside them.

Last June, United Pet Group (UPG) issued a recall of it’s rawhide products over concerns for chemical contamination. The move was prompted by consumer reports of reduced appetite, diarrhea and vomiting in some dogs using the rawhides as well as an unpleasant odor emanating from the product itself.

Illinois-based UPG uses manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Columbia and Brazil that were using a quaternary ammonium compound mixture as a processing aid in the manufacturing of rawhide chews. Quaternary ammonium is an anti-microbial chemical that is approved for cleaning food processing equipment, but it is not approved in the U.S. as a processing aid in the production of rawhide chews. The compound is also found in many household cleaning products.

Though UPG has said that it has identified the source of the contamination, it has recalled their product lines including American Beefhide, Digest-eeze, Healthy Hide, Petco or “Good Lovin” Hill Country Fare, Priority Pet, Exer-Hides, Essential Everyday, Enzadent or Dentalhex, Dentley’s and Companion. Affected products have an expiration date ranging from 6/01/2019 through 5/31/2020. Consumers are urged to dispose of the product or return it for a full refund.

In a press release, UPG said that it is “implementing changes across the affected manufacturing facilities in order to prevent this problem from reoccurring in the future.” UPG is also reportedly working with retailers to ensure that the affected products are no longer sold and are removed from inventory.

Given the concern over manufacturing processes and contamination risks, we decided to eschew our chews, heave our hides and seek healthy alternatives. 

No-Hide Chicken Chews by Earth Animal are made with all natural ingredients including humanely-raised chicken, organic eggs and banana. Lilly recently received one from her cousin, “Joey” the Coton, as a “just because” gift. Lilly and her chicken chew have been inseparable since; she totes it around the house -  stopping long enough to gnaw on one or both ends to unfurl its flavorful contents.

In the process, pieces of the chicken chew have broken off. So we need to supervise Lilly’s chew sessions and discard any broken-off shards to avoid a choking hazard. When we leave Lilly alone at home, the chew gets put away. It returns when we do - and Lilly’s eyelids fall into a non-toxic, half-lidded bliss.

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ it’s rawhides out we’re throwin’!