An Irvine pet shop has spoken out against the use of rawhide products in the run up to Christmas.

Rawhide is a popular dog treat given to pets all year around, and is made from the hide or skin of an animal– usually horse or dog. The skin is dried out and shaped to form a bone, twist or chew and are given flavourings like chicken or beef to make it more appealing to dogs.

However, in the run up to Christmas the treats are artificially dyed red and green and glued - which can be dangerous for dogs according to local pet store Irvine Raw K9 Supplies.

On Facebook, the Irvine Raw K9 Supplies commented: “Please don’t get these for your pets this Christmas, as you can see this is rawhide and it has been artificially dyed red and green and glued into different shapes.

“The vast majority of these rawhide products and treats come from China. Their journey starts with the hides being soaked in a toxic sodium sulphide to remove the hair and fat.

“More chemicals are used in order to split the hide into layers which is then washed with hydrogen peroxide to give the white “pure” look and remove the rancid smell.

“Now comes the pretty festive colours and the glue to form cute shapes. They regularly cause intestinal blockages and choking.

“The chews go slippery when wet and are near impossible to get hold of to save a choking dog.”

“Please be safe this Christmas and pick a much nicer alternative for your pooches.”

Speaking to the Times, Jordan at Irvine Raw K9 Supplies said: “It would be great if more of the local community were aware of what a lot of supermarkets and convenience stores are actually stocking on their shelves.

“Then maybe they would think twice about purchasing when there is much more healthier natural produce available, which I believe dogs will enjoy much more, and owners can be satisfied that what there feeding there much loved pets and family members doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals or fillers and is 100 per cent natural.”

Scottish SPCA chief veterinary officer Ian Futter said: “We do not recommend rawhide treats for dogs because they regularly break dogs’ teeth and can be a choking hazard.

“Dogs should never be left unsupervised with any chew toy. They are especially bad for dogs that try to eat everything.

“We’re unsure of the chemicals used specifically in dog treats for the Christmas market but we would always urge any pet owner to fully research a new treat before giving it to their pet.”