In our tannery, we are producing an organic, chemical free rawhide which I have complete control over the manufacturing of the product, thus insuring quality for your pets. We have to trim the rawhide skins to fit our drying racks. These small pieces are saved and processed into organic pet chews.
After some extensive research on the pros and cons of beef rawhide dog chews, I have discovered that most vets do not recommend them. Domestic beef hides contain high amounts of fat and this will cause excessive swelling once the rawhide is re-hydrated in the stomach and intestines of the animal. Although thousands of rawhide chewies are sold each day and there are few cases of this occurring, it does happen.
From my tanning experience, I knew natural skins contain glues, this is the same glue used for centuries in fine furniture building and is still processed today. By boiling small pieces of rawhide, I could remove most of the glues and break down the protein fibers of the skin itself, thus making the rawhide more digestible. I also know that wild animal skins of deer, elk, moose, buffalo contain much less fat in the skin than beef skins. Look at a piece of rawhide, the dark pigment is primarily collagen, a good protein, while the lighter areas contain globules or fat cells. Unbleached rawhide of domestic animals have lighter color due to higher fat content primarily because of their diet. Drum makers prefer dark wild game rawhide as it is stronger.
Soak up enough rawhide so you can cut it into 3-4 inch or 5-7 inch pieces. Don’t worry about making them square or cutting pretty shapes, your dog does not care! Prepare a pot of boiling water and add some beef or chicken bullion for flavoring. Don’t get carried away, one jar of favoring in a five gal pot is fine and it will make lots of chews. Place the rawhide in the pot, about 1/4 full, again don’t stuff it full. Allow the rawhide to cook about 20 minutes, the pieces will begin to curl up in a roll. If you like that, fine, if not lay them out flat under a cookie sheet and weight them down to dry. This is much more work than you need to do. Allow the pieces to dry overnight. By this time your dog will be looking at you with hopeful eyes and a long drool hanging from his mouth. Just give him one of the newly cooked pieces, be sure it is not hot! He will instantly love you even more than you thought and will have it eaten in about 30 seconds. Don’t get carried away and continue to feed them to him. The dog is lying to you with his eyes!
Once you have plenty of pieces boiled up and dried, I keep mine in a plastic bag or container. Now, you ask, where do I get pieces of rawhide? You can….go kill a deer, elk or moose, skin the animal, scrap all the hair, meat and fat off the hide, wash it clean, allow it to dry for a couple weeks and then cut it up into little pieces to feed your dog. Or, you can go to craft materials in the shop online and order a few pounds of “ready to boil” rawhide. If you would like to order whole wild game skins, visit our web site at www.absarokawesterndesign.com.
Good luck, if you end up making some chewies, I would love your comments and even a photo of your dog eating them. Go to Pet Products in our store to order a pound of prepared rawhide chews.