Q. Does rawhide have any calories in it, or is it like chewing gum — not digestible and therefore not containing calories? Even if it did, would it be irrelevant because the calories would be burned off in the chewing?
Dear Ms. Beaudoin,
A. Rawhide does indeed have calories, and chewing won’t burn them off. A single rawhide treat that’s about 2 inches by 6 inches and just an eighth of an inch thick will generally contain somewhere between 80 and 100 calories. The calorie counts of rolled rawhide snacks are much, much higher. So no, giving your dog rawhide is not like feeding sugarless gum.
Keep in mind that if you want to give rawhide anyway and your dog bites off and swallows sizable chunks with gusto, it’s probably not the right treat. Big pieces can get stuck somewhere between the throat and the other end of the GI tract, sometimes resulting in intestinal obstructions that require surgical intervention. If that’s the case with your dog, give in to his urge to chew with chewable toys and raw vegetables, which have plenty of crunch.