When collagen in the skin dries out, it becomes stiff. As your dog chews a rawhide treat, the saliva produced while chewing moistens and softens rawhide. Before it becomes so soft that small pieces can be bitten off, there has been intensive, grating contact between the rawhide chew and your dog's teeth. This way, rawhide chew functions as an effective "appetising toothbrush". It is widely known that food remaining in the mouth not only causes bad breath, but also dental plaque. In turn, this dental plaque is responsible for the tartar that can become so serious that it affects the gums as well, the result being sore teeth and loosing them.
Foreign rawhide is often sun parched while US beef-hide is oven dried to prevent overdrying. Smooth shiny areas on a chew are a sign of heat breakdown indicating an extremely hard area that the dog may not be able to soften.
When deciding on the chew item you'd like to give your dog, first take a look at his chewing habits. Would you consider your dog to be an aggressive chewer, a semi-aggressive chewer, or a light chewer?
Aggressive chewers can polish off some rawhides in record time. It is recommended to provide them with compressed and knotted rawhide bones. They would provide the greatest chewing satisfaction and are the best value for you.
Semi-aggressive chewers enjoy a good chew now and then, but they won't demolish a rawhide as fast and furiously as would an aggressive chewer. These dogs can handle any type of rawhide, from hard to soft, but the best for them would be knotted rawhides. These rawhides are softer than compressed rawhide, but will not come apart as easily as granulated bones.
Non-aggressive or very light chewers are less destructive and tend to exhibit more finesse when chewing. They take their time and enjoy every inch of their rawhide treats. These dogs can generally handle all different types of rawhide, but typically prefer a softer chew over a harder chew.