Q: I read that too much protein gives dogs kidney problems and eventually kills them, and that rawhide chews contain as much as 70 percent protein. I am very concerned that my two Shelties, 2 and 5 years old, are getting too much protein from the rawhides. Is there a safe amount they can have or would it be better to wean them off completely?
A: The argument that dietary protein is dangerous to dogs and eventually leads to kidney disease and failure is a long-lived fallacy and has no basis in fact.
Dogs receiving the majority of their nutrition from a good quality, well-balanced diet are in no danger from the protein present in rawhide chews, even in substantial quantities. I routinely recommend them as part of a home dental care program. Studies have proven they help reduce plaque and tartar build-up associated with canine dental and periodontal disease, which are linked to development and progression of kidney disease among other internal diseases.
Giving your dog rawhide chews is more likely to promote kidney health than diminish it.