Wilson was chewing on a rawhide tonight (A thin rectangular shape - Made in America). He spit a part of it out and there was a thin amount of bloody drool on it. What do you think? Has this ever happened with your dog? Wilson is 7 years old.
That's what I was thinking too, Jenn. I know if I go awhile without giving them a bone their gums might bleed a little bit on it. I give them more of the bones that are smoked and still have some meat on them than I give Rawhide - I actually can't remember the last time I gave them a Rawhide bone. They get a pig ear about once a month but other than that they get those smoked bones so they can't eat it. Make sense?
IMHO rawhide is too dangerous and I haven't allowed the Hooligans to have any rawhide bones/strips in years. But I recall that when they were allowed to have them that sometimes there would be small spots of blood on the chewed sections.
IMO, (though you didn't ask) smoked bone is more dangerous than rawhide. I don't allow my kids either.
My vet and I have discussed this. He thinks that rawhide strips are ok. You have to watch the dog chew them, because there is a risk of choking when the piece gets too small (and he recommends to most owners, since he knows they won't actually supervise their dogs, that they toss the strip once it gets gets small enough to be swallowed). He never recommends the rawhide chews that are spiral rawhide. That can really mess up the dog's intestines. Rawhide that has been crushed and reprocessed into sticks or chews is ok.
Now, what that bloody drool seems to me to be is a bit of gum disease, kind of like some people get if they don't floss regularly, then they use dental floss. It's possible that the rawhide cut his gum. But it's just as likely that Wilson has some gingivitis, especially if he hasn't had a cleaning in a while.
With regard to the smoked bones you're giving, especially if they're beef bones, they are likely too hard for your dog's teeth and you are risking fracturing his teeth. Femur bones -- the leg bones -- are the worst. These bones hold up approx 1000-1200 lbs of animal. So those leg bones are a lot stronger than we might assume they are.