Whole hide cow hides and rawhides are two distinct products often used as dog chews. Here's a breakdown of the differences between them and why whole hides are considered edible for dogs:

Whole Hide Cow Hides:

  • Whole hide cow hides are typically made from the entire cowhide, including the top grain layer and the inner corium layer. This means they are composed of multiple layers of skin and collagen fibers.
  • These hides undergo a specific processing method, which usually involves a combination of washing, and drying. This process helps to preserve the natural collagen fibers and make the hide more pliable.
  • Whole hide cow hides have a dense, tough, and leathery texture. They are less processed than traditional rawhides, retaining more of their natural qualities.
  • Whole hide cow hides are considered edible for dogs because the processing methods used remove the harmful components found in traditional rawhides, such as excess chemicals and preservatives. They can be safely consumed by dogs as a long-lasting chew.


  • Rawhides are typically made from the inner layer of cowhide, which is often chemically treated and then bleached to remove hair and other impurities. Rawhides are a byproduct of the leather industry. 
  • The processing of rawhides involves heavy chemical treatments to make them more pliable and to remove any undesirable odors or contaminants.
  • Traditional rawhides are generally not considered fully edible for dogs. They are more likely to brake off in large chunks and are typically full of tanning chemicals. Dogs can chew on them, but they should not consume large pieces. Ingesting large chunks of rawhide can pose a choking hazard or cause gastrointestinal issues.
October 11, 2023 — David Pratt