Rawhide alternatives

It is well known that the sourcing of rawhide can be difficult as well as the manufacturing process. That's why we are here to help! Let's take a look at how rawhides are made, why they are better options available, and options we have available.

How is rawhide made?

Rawhide is typically from cow or a bull after all of the meat is removed. Overseas rawhide is often given a chemical bath to preserve the product (as with any sourced from anything living at one time), this allows for easier transport. In the United States most rawhide is transported in refrigerated trucks. Typically because of refrigerated trucks, US sourced rawhide tends to have less chemicals.

During the process of making beef or cow hide into raw hide, it is dipped with an ash-lye solution to remove hair and fat. It is then after “cleaned” with water or bleach, and/or hydrogen peroxide. Overseas arsenic is often used, and at at times formaldehyde, which is banned in the United States. It is apart of the reason why we only use trusted suppliers for all of our products. Finally it can be smoked, added with artificial flavors and colors, and is sometimes left natural.


Why do you not recommend rawhide?

Rawhide often has poor sourcing, can be bathed in chemicals, but most of all, they’re not digestible if your dog gets a piece off it. That means if your dog gets a chunk off, it may not digest, cause blockages and can cause serious illness or even death. Some of the heavily flavored rawhides may cause issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Dogs do have a natural urge to chew. Puppies explore their enviroment particially when they are teething. Dogs also have a natural instinct to scavenge, to satisfy the need to gnaw as a means to clean their teeth, as well as playing! Also, some dogs will chew as a reaction to be anxious or stressed.


What do you recommend?

There are many options other then rawhide, but today we’ll focus on just a few of the many alternatives for your dog. North Winds Premium offers a bunch of healthy chews that are always responsibly sourced from trusted suppliers.

1) Peak Chaser

Peak Chaser chews are a favorite both online and in our store. Peak Chasers are a hard cheese chew made from yak milk, cow milk, and a pinch of lime & salt. Smoked to perfection, these are great because they’re also pretty clean! If a chunk comes off, you can microwave it for 45 seconds and it turns into a cheese puff.

2) Pork Skin Rolls

North Winds Premium Pork Skin rolls are NOT rawhide but made from pork skin that has been rolled up like a retriever roll. Then they are naturally baked without any artificial ingredients. The best part is that they break down easily and are digestible.

3) Pig Ears

North Winds Premium Pig Ears are a simple and super digestible way to give your dog a healthy snack. Often people think of pig ears as a fatty treat, but they are mainly made of cartilage, so they’re typically high in protein and low in fat. Our pig ears are also 100% digestible as well, so you do not need to worry about stomach blockages like you would a rawhide. Pig ears also contain glucosamine and chonodroitin as well as being a great way to clean their teeth. These pig ears do not contain additives, artificial ingredients, and they are sourced and produced in the United States. Because they are baked, we do not need to add any products. 100% pig ear is what you’re paying for, it’s what you’re getting.

4) Our smoked bones

All of our bones are dipped in liquid smoke and then oven baked to perfection. Why does this matter? Often with smoking a bone through a smoke, the smoke can permeate the chew making it more brittle, making a harder bone softer and a soft bone even more brittle. Make sure the chew is larger then the dogs jaw, and also make sure to monitor their chewing.

1) Size: If the bone is smaller then the dog’s mouth, it’s too small. It needs to be larger then the lower jaw of the dog. Once it is chewed down to where it would be smaller then their low jaw, it should be taken away.

2) Bone density: Typically bones that support more weight such as a leg bone, knee caps, or a shin bone will be thicker compared to bone such as a rib bone. Pork & lamb bones also tend to be a softer bone which is perfect for light chewers. Heavy chewers may prefer knee caps, shin bones, or center cut bones.

3) Consumption: Bones & chews are meant to be slowly gnawed down. This is apart of why bones provide dental benefits as well as giving your dog a longer chewing experience. Look for slivers of bones, if they are large, make sure to take away the pieces or the chunks, and give a different chew or bone a try. If a dog chews too quickly, you’ll need bone with a higher density. Bones such as knuckles contain soft cartilage material that can be completely consumed and can help support your dog’s hips & joints.

4) Cooked bones vs raw bones, the details matter. Cooked and raw bones are identical in strength and maintain the same breaking points. When proper moisture is maintained there isn’t a significant different in bone consistency. Each of our bones & chews are oven baked with strict adherence to keeping a proper level of moisture. If bones have too much moisture, it can be come brittle and easily broken. All bones may splinter however and each dog should have supervision during chewing.


There are many raw hide alternatives on the market today, but we believe our North Winds Premium line of products are perfect for dogs that need to satisfy their innate urge to chew. You can have both a long lasting chew, but also one you can trust. We’re pet owners ourselves and we want to provide your dog with a safe chew that we would feel confident in using. We want to provide you with the best dog chews on the market and we look forward to helping you along the way.

Either at the park, at home, or in the wild, we’re here to keep your dog moving each step of the way, because at the head of every trail, should be a tail.