In my constant search for a rawhide bone that’s safer for my dogs, I came across Pork Chomps, a line of chews from Scott Pet. These chews have been around since 2006 and all are made with pork skin, which breaks down in the dog’s digestive system much faster than ordinary rawhide.
For those who don’t know, rawhide chews are usually made from beef hide. Hides are split into two layers; a sturdier outer layer that is made into shoes, furniture, etc. and a thinner inner layer that is often used for dog chews. Most U.S.-based rawhide manufacturers oven-dry their hides to get the tough, dry consistency that dogs can work on for a long time (this also helps extend perishability). As the dog chews the dried hide, saliva and the warmth of the dog’s mouth act to soften the hide.
Why would I look for a safer rawhide? My dogs love working on a rawhide bone, but rawhide may cause blockages in dogs who ingest large pieces. You know, like that big, pasty, gooey piece that’s left when your dog is almost done? That’s the nasty piece you should take away from your dog, because it can take two weeks to break down completely in the dog’s gut. Because it can leech moisture from the intestines and swell up to five times its original size during that time, it can cause all kinds of mayhem before it’s finally broken down. The pork hide used in Pork Chomps is thinner than beef hide. It breaks down faster, presenting less chance for creating a blockage as it moves through the dog’s digestive system. Independent studies show that dogs prefer the taste of baked pork skin to beef hide 9 to 1. Dried chicken also factors highly in the Pork Chomps product line, often combined with pork for texture and flavor variety.
The Pork Chomps that my dogs tested were two types. The first was made of small pressed particles of hide. My dogs were all over the package when I opened it. The flavor of the 8″ bone I tested was pepperoni. I had a contractor coming over to put up a wall and enclose a room, and I had to keep the dogs in their crates with something to do while he was there. The crunchy bone kept them busy, and they attacked those bones. As the dogs worked on them, small pieces did come off, but the dogs snapped them up without any trouble. This item is also available in peanut butter and bacon flavors.
The other item we tested was the Chicken Dipz, a small knotted bone made of pork skin wrapped in chicken. Again, a bit taste hit with the pups. They consumed them faster than rawhide, but at $8.69 for four, I think the health and safety advantages are worth it. You can find a retailer at http://www.porkchomps.com. Pork Chomps are made in China. They do not stain carpet or furniture (or dog’s fur) … yay!