This is a question I have struggled with for years. They look so tempting at the pet store and I know my dogs love them.
Based on advice from my vet, I stopped giving rawhide to my dogs. I know people who give their dogs rawhide chews and never have a problem. Years ago, I read an article on vetSTREET and thought it would be good to share a few considerations.
Considerations when giving a dog rawhide chews:
Only buy if made in USA. That means sourced and manufactured in the US.
Can be a carrier of salmonella so wash your hands after touching. Don't let your baby near them!
Know your dog's chewing style. Does your dog chew or gulp? My Lab gulps so it could be trouble for him. My Shepard mix chews everything to the max so it is unlikely to get stuck in his throat or stomach.
Can help with teeth and gums but not a substitute for brushing.
Make sure you are around to supervise your dog while he is chewing in case of a problem.
Another post The Dangers of Rawhide Dog Chew Toys presents good reasons to avoid completely rawhide chews. For one, they are not regulated so who know what chemicals were used to produce them.
For me, forget the rawhide. Too many considerations. I have tried antlers, but they actually cracked on of my dogs teeth! My most successful toys and treats are rope toys, Greenies (which have been reformulated and OK by my vet) and smart toys.
Here is a video of my Lab with his new smart toy... he is finally getting the hang of it. The first couple days he was trying to bite the toy open!