Rawhide Vs Beef Hide For Dogs

As more and more people have become aware of the potential dangers of rawhide chews, similar terms have started popping up to avoid the negative stigma and differentiate their products. So now there are rawhide chews, cowhide chews, and beef hide for dogs.

But what’s the difference?

Short answer: marketing.

None of these are regulated labels, like “organic” is, for example. But these terms are used differently and understanding some of the distinctions (and risks) can make a big difference for your dog’s health. So let’s talk about what these terms mean and what you should be looking for.

Understanding Rawhide

Understanding Rawhide vs Beef Hide

Rawhide is a general term that can describe any type of animal hide. It can come from any animal, any country, and can be processed in almost any way. Most commercial rawhide is a by-product of the tanning process. Before the hide is made into leather, it’s often split. The thinner lower layer is turned into rawhide, while the top layer continues the tanning process and is turned into leather for shoes, purses, or anything else.

Because rawhides are made from this thinner layer of skin, they can break very easily into chunks that pose a choking hazard or can create blockages in the digestive tract. This danger, combined with the salt brines and lime used to preserve and process the hides, is a major reason why so many pet owners are looking for healthier alternatives to rawhide chews.

Understanding Cowhide and Beef Hide for Dogs

Beef Hide For Dogs

Cowhide and beef hide would still broadly be considered “rawhide”, but specifically rawhide made from cows. However, these terms are frequently used to describe natural chews that are healthier and safer than the highly processed rawhide that most people are familiar with. For example, here at Ugly Chews, we refer to our chews as cowhide or beef hide because they are 100% natural and sourced from local ranches.

Like us, there are other all-natural beef hide makers that follow similar processes. Unlike industrial rawhide, these hides aren’t split or thinned. They are the whole beef hide. The extra thickness makes them last longer and makes it less likely for large chunks to break off and create problematic blockages.

Our beef hides are also completely chemical and additive-free. We even keep the hair on them because dogs love it and it helps clean their teeth and digestive system. Some natural beef hide products have the hair removed, but it’s still more or less the same thing.

How To Cut Through The Marketing Tricks

If you want to pick the perfect chew treat for your canine companion, you need to look past simple descriptions like cowhide, beef hide, and rawhide. Instead, identify what’s important to you and find a company that meets those needs. You’ll probably need to read product descriptions and “About” pages more thoroughly to find the details. Here are some factors that may be important to you, and some key terms associated with them:

Price/Quality: Price is pretty easy. If price is your biggest concern, just look for the cheapest number. You will want to experiment with the actual price. That’s where quality comes in. For example, if a chew costs 25% more, but lasts twice as long, it is still more affordable than the “cheaper” option. Quality can be somewhat subjective. But for chews, durability and the dog’s enjoyment are pretty big factors.

Natural/Chemical-Free: If you want to make sure you aren’t feeding your dog any preservatives, additives, or chemicals, you should look out for companies advertising their treats as chemical and preservative-free. “Natural” can be a helpful descriptor, but it is pretty vague and you can legally call a lot of things natural. Ingredients labels will show any preservatives that are added, but they won’t reflect whether the hides were coated in lime or salt brine earlier in the process. Look for sections on the company website that details their manufacturing process. To be extra safe, you can send them an email and ask about it!

Sustainable/Environmentally Friendly: This is another one that can be tricky. Sustainable doesn’t have legal protections or certifications, so people can use it to mean different things. If you want to ensure that your dog treats are environmentally friendly, you should once again take a look at the manufacturing process. Hand-made treats are usually better than machine processed ones since most machines have a carbon footprint. Packaging is also a big factor. A product double-wrapped in single-use plastic is obviously less sustainable than a plastic-free product.

Healthy/Safe: What’s considered healthy and safe will depend on your dog. Of course, if you have a dog with a beef allergy, no beef products will be safe. Natural products that have no preservatives or chemicals reduce the risk of health complications from those additives, but the lack of preservatives introduces the small chance of bacteria or mold growing on the product. Almost every product has risks, but they are all incredibly small risks. It’s up to you to use caution and good judgment in deciding what fits your dog best. If a company claims that their product has absolutely no risk and is completely and perfectly safe…that’s a red flag. It’s better to look at disclaimers. A company with detailed disclaimers and instructions for reducing risk is much more likely to be telling the truth and providing transparent and accurate information.

Local/Ethical/Made in ______ : I know I’m lumping a lot of terms that feel different together on this one, but the concern is usually the same for all of them. We want to make sure that the animals and people involved in creating a product are being treated well. Factory farms and massive slaughter houses don’t always have the best reputation when it comes to animal welfare. Similarly, we don’t want products made by underpaid employees working in slave-like conditions, as is unfortunately common in some countries. It all comes back to knowing where your product is from and how it’s being handled. If a company can tell you exactly where the animals are from and how they were raised, that tends to be a good sign. People have different definitions of what counts as “ethically sourced” products, but this is another area where a company’s about page, FAQs, and contact info can come in handy.

Regardless of what’s important to you, don’t be afraid to dig into the details of a company more. The good ones shouldn’t have anything to hide. And every company is going to tell you that their product is the best. People who source their product from Brazil will say Brazil is amazing. People who freeze-dry their product will say that’s the best way. People who sell these things are biased. Shoot, we’ve tried to write this article in an unbiased way, but we still slipped a few shameless promotions of our products in there.

We do really think that Ugly Chews are a great choice if you’re looking for a local, chemical-free, zero-waste beef hide chew that your dog will absolutely love.


Based on 262 reviews
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Karsten McKnight (Duxbury, US)
Great stimulation

My pup LOVES her bones! She is a huge fan of the fur on these. She's always hiding it for later 😅

Hair-On Hide Rolls
loriestaub@gmail.com (Williamstown, US)
Great chews

My dogs absolutely love these chews

Hair-On Hide Rolls
BlackDog Corso (Louisville, US)
Ugly but lovable

Ok so first-- yes they're ugly but after your dog chews on the ends, they won't look any different than any other rawhide. There's no smell whatsoever, even after they've been chewed. There are four dogs in the house and all of them loved them. The Yorkie claimed all the scraps and did her worst with what teeth she has left. Another has a sick tummy all the time and the roughage on the chews worked better than the fiber supplements I've been giving him. We'll definitely re-purchase soon.

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Tricia (Chicago, US)
High energy/AGGRESSIVE chewers!!

I have 2 GSPs(high energy, can’t stop won’t stop) and the only thing I’ve found that lasts them more than 20 minutes is a hard to find ostrich bone, then one day they decided to say “challenge accepted” and beat that record lol. First day I opened the box for the Hair on Hide rolls they sniffed and sniffed and then fought over them! I took them away after 30 mins since they have sensitive tummies and my youngest was halfway done. Took them out the next day and even if my youngest is the only one that LOVES them every time it’s worth it!! I appreciate Uglychews for the zero waste, natural content, and the time it takes for my INSANELY aggressive chewers to gnaw on these! Keep in mind I work and train with my babies multiple times a day (short increments) so a pup that doesn’t get a lot of exercise/attention/enrichment might go through them a bit faster. But my pups could be the poster children for our local natural petstore and they actually look to me for recommendations 🤣

Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Cassidy (Detroit, US)
My pibbles FAVORITE treats!!!

My pup loves the hide rolls for a longer-lasting enrichment chew so I wanted to give the chips a try. She absolutely goes crazy for the chips and they make a perfect snack sized treat for special occasions. I love supporting family-owned businesses and when a shipping problem occurred with my order they were so kind and helpful in getting my package to me. This is one of my favorite shops and I highly recommend giving them a try!

Ugly Chews Gift Card
Alieth Parets (Fort Lauderdale, US)
First time trying Ugly Chews

This was our first time ordering from Ugly Chews and my dogs loved it! They were so excited when I opened the box and let them smell it. We will definitely be repurchasing!

Freeze Dried Liver Bites
Cynthia Marie (Cleveland, US)
Loved them!

My 4 dogs just loved them! I also liked that these treats didn’t smell bad at all. I would definitely recommend them! I look forward to trying other products too!

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Hannah Metzger (Lynchburg, US)
Best chew ever

So far he’s gotten 3 30 minute sessions with this. The only caution I’d give is if your dog is very pry driven like mine you need to make sure you trade out when you need to take it away. He’s very possessive of these.

Ugly Chews Gift Card
Jacquelyn Ostin (Arvada, US)
Hide rolls

My dog could not WAIT to get into these. She can be a little selective with fur-on treats but she took to these instantly. Definitely will be ordering more

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Samantha Woods
He loved it!

Our little guy went to town on these chews. True to their name they are VERY ugly, but according to the dog it only makes them taste better.

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Michelle Murrill (Azusa, US)
My pups loved them

My pitty and little mutt loved the chews. My only complaint is the tufts of hair around the house and my pit hacked up a hairball like a cat. Hahaha. That’s the only reason I gave them 4 stars.

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Nicole (Boonville, US)
Dog loves them, but not “long lasting.”

My German Shepherd/Pitbull mix absolutely destroyed half a chew in about 10 minutes. The rolls also look much thinner than the advertised photos show, even though I ordered the largest size. He sure loved them but for the price I was very disappointed he was able to get through it so fast.

Sample of Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
J Smith (Birmingham, US)
Older dog loves them

I have an older dog that's picky about treats. He sniffed his first Ugly Chew for a few seconds, then started chewing. He really enjoyed it, and had no stomach issues. I highly recommend these!

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Wendy Kirkman (Rolesville, US)
The Good, the bad, and the Ugly.

The Good:My dog enjoyed these! There was no smell and no upset tummy.
The Bad: They didn't last long. My dog finished one in about an hour.
The Ugly: They definitely live up to their name. Pretty shocking when I first opened the package.

Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Matie Mullendore (Portland, US)
these are gross and my dogs couldn't be happier

My dogs (5 of the 6!) LOVE ugly chews. They don't smell at all. All my friends ask if they smell, NOPE. Bully sticks smell so much but these smell like nothing. How nice is it to use the bits of the cow that would traditionally just be trash. I highly recommend these.

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Lacy (Valley City, US)
New favorite

My dogs absolutely loved these. They took them everywhere with them and really enjoyed them. I was surprised. Usually they end up just leaving half eaten treats all over. These, they guarded with their lives like they were their personal teddy bears. I'm impressed!

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Benjamin S. (Englewood, US)
Max liked it!

Indeed he did! Max loves his ugly chews. Expensive but worth it. No stomach issues afterwards which is a much needed surprise. Lasted about 5ish hours under optimal conditions which is a compliment coming from a Black Mouth Cur.

Ugly Chews Gift Card
Lily Hak (Oakland, US)
Forever Ugly Chews fans!

We love ugly chews! Archie has a blast gnawing on them and they last him such a long time. The fact that it is 100% natural, puts me at ease!

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Chloe (Austin, US)
Longest lasting chew we've tried

I'm always on the look out for a long lasting, safe chew since I have a 9 month adolescent puppy. We've gone around the bend with the popular recommendations (yak chews, bully sticks, pig/cow ears, beef cheek rolls, etc.). Some work better than others, but these hide rolls are probably the longest lasting for my puppy! They're high value, and she doesn't get bored of it in 5 minutes or finish it in 15 minutes. It's a fantastic price for how long it takes her to go through them. Thus far, one roll can last her about two hours total (we split sessions, so that's just an estimate). I'm also more assured that they're safe for her to consume, although I haven't let her swallow the last bit over worry for choking. All in all, 5/5 for sure. I will definitely be putting these on our regular shopping list! :)

Hair-On Hide Rolls
karen curatola (Las Vegas, US)
My sister bernedoodles love them

I do admit it's kinda gross in the begining however they love them and no stomach upset (doodles can have belly issues). These are awesome already need to place another order! Job well done

Immediate favorites!

My young bully mix is a powerful chewer, and I'm always on the lookout for new products to incorporate into her care. I learned about Ugly Chews thanks to her foster mom, whose personal dogs are BIG fans of Ugly Chews products. We started with the sample packs of the Chips, Chunks, & Scraps and the rolls - WOW! Celia Boo absolutely LOVES these chews, more than anything else we've tried so far. The chips and scraps are great for shorter, individual chew sessions, while the hair-on-hide rolls are better for multiple sessions over time. I love that these are handmade and commit to using all of the hide, focusing on creating quality products I know are handled with care from sourcing to shipping. We are an Ugly Chews household, and I tell all my fellow dog parents to try them, too.

Ugly Chews Gift Card
Caylen Jordan (Houston, US)
Thrilled I found this company!!

I am thrilled to have found an all natural, small family owned, single ingredient, holistic, no waste company to support! Buying only the best is always the main objective for our dogs and this beats SO many of the garbage, chemically processed options in stores these days. They really check all the boxes and my senior dog who rarely chews on things anymore LOVES them. Fuck yeah yall, thanks for all you do! Highly recommend!

Hair-On Hide Rolls
Justin Johnson (Roseville, US)
They loved em

My Bull Terrier snatched it and rant to her crate. That's how she rolls no pun intended. My big boy gnawed it for a good while before I took it away. Enjoyed them and didn't want to give them up.

Hair-On Hide Rolls
@kiloniner.kiko (Kea‘au, US)
He chewed himself into a nap

Just got our first shipment and within a few seconds, all of his other chew toys became irrelevant. Chewed himself into a nap, but had to have his paws on it while he slept.

Finding a natural dog chew that gets this kind of focus is a Godsend.

Sample of Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Elizabeth Breyman (Stayton, US)
Being honest

I got these chews thinking they'd last longer than your average chew. My chow chows devoured the medium size ones way too fast for the price of the product. Most likely won't order again.

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