Can Dogs Eat Hooves

Is it Safe for My Dog to Eat Horse Hoof Trimmings After the Farrier’s Visit?

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Blog

For all the dog owners out there who are also horse enthusiasts, it’s a common scenario to encounter after the farrier’s visit: a scattered assortment of hoof trimmings left behind as reminders of the recent horse pedicure. And what happens next? Your canine companion, always curious and with an inexplicable interest in peculiar snacking, makes a beeline for these morsels. But is it safe for your dog to consume these horse hoof trimmings?

Understanding Hoof Trimmings

To decipher whether these unconventional treats are safe for your dog, it’s necessary to understand what hoof trimmings really are. Essentially, horse hooves are composed of a tough protein called keratin – the same material found in a dog’s claws and human nails. Keratin is dense and robust, providing horses with the stability they need to support their substantial weight. However, as part of regular equine care, these hooves are frequently trimmed by a farrier to maintain the horse’s overall foot health and to avoid complications like lameness.

The Potential Dangers

The principal concern about dogs ingesting hoof trimmings lies in the hard, dense nature of these keratin chunks. While it might seem like just another chew toy for your dog, these tough fragments can pose serious hazards. They can potentially cause choking, or worse, blockages in the digestive tract if swallowed in large pieces.

Furthermore, horses can occasionally pick up toxins or harmful bacteria from their environment that can remain on their hooves, posing a potential risk if your dog decides to munch on these trimmings. Therefore, it’s always best to exercise caution.

Product Recommendations

To satisfy your dog’s chewing instincts while ensuring their safety, you can substitute hoof trimmings with safer, specially-designed chew toys and snacks. For example, the Kong Classic Dog Toy is a durable, multi-functional chew toy and treat dispenser that is sure to keep your furry friend busy and happy.

For those dogs with an insatiable love for hooves, there are also safer, sanitized options available. Cow hooves, like the ones offered by Pawstruck, undergo rigorous cleaning and cooking procedures to ensure they’re safe for your dog’s consumption. These can be a satisfying alternative to horse hoof trimmings, meeting the chew-factor without the safety risks.

Another great solution could be antlers, such as the WhiteTail Naturals Deer Antler Dog Chew, which provide a natural, long-lasting chewing experience. These antlers are high in beneficial minerals and low in fat, offering a safe, healthy option that will appeal to your dog’s chewing instincts.

Lastly, investing in an engaging and durable interactive toy like the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy can divert your dog’s attention from the farrier’s leftovers, providing mental stimulation and fun playtime instead.

While the sight of your dog enjoying a hoof trimming may seem innocuous, it’s crucial to remember the potential health risks involved. Steering your dog away from these horse pedicure remnants and directing their energy towards safer, more appropriate chew toys or treats can ensure their health, safety, and entertainment.

Vet Supervision and Regular Checkups

As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to closely monitor your dog’s eating habits, especially when they have an inclination for unconventional snacks like hoof trimmings. Regular veterinary checkups can ensure your pet’s health is on track, while also providing an opportunity to discuss any dietary concerns. In case your dog has already consumed hoof trimmings and shows signs of discomfort, a swift visit to the vet is advisable.

Nutritional Needs

It’s also important to remember that your dog’s unusual eating habits might stem from a lack of certain nutrients in their diet. Providing balanced meals with an adequate mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help curb your dog’s desire for unconventional treats. Consider premium dog food like Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula, which offers a holistic diet packed with real meat, whole grains, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

For dogs with a penchant for chewing, you might want to consider introducing nutritional dental chews into their diet. Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats, for instance, not only satisfy the chewing instinct but also help keep your pet’s oral health in check, all while offering a nutritious snack.

Engaging Your Dog

While nutritional needs play a pivotal role, so does the level of physical activity and mental stimulation. Regular exercise, interactive play sessions, and mentally stimulating activities can prevent your pet from resorting to unconventional chewing habits out of boredom. An interactive toy, such as the Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Toy, can keep your pet mentally engaged and focused, leaving little time for them to seek out those hoof trimmings.


Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between your dog’s nutritional needs, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. While it may seem natural for dogs to be attracted to unusual munchies like horse hoof trimmings, ensuring their health and safety is paramount. Substitute these trimmings with safe and nutritional chews, provide a balanced diet, engage your pet with interactive toys, and always keep a close eye on their habits.

And, of course, regular visits to your trusted vet can ensure that your pet stays in the best of health, providing peace of mind for you and a happy, healthy life for your canine companion. Whether it’s the farrier’s trimmings or some other peculiar find, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health. Remember, a little precaution today can prevent potential health issues tomorrow.

After all, while we may not always understand our dogs’ unusual choices in snacks, it’s our responsibility to ensure they’re consuming safe, healthy, and nutritious options that cater to their instinctual behaviors. So next time the farrier visits, remember to keep those hoof trimmings out of your dog’s reach and instead, offer them an enticing, safe chew toy or treat.

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Issabella Mitchel</a>

Issabella Mitchel

Isabella is a remarkable equestrian and racehorse trainer, hailing from the horse capital of the world, Kentucky. Growing up in the heart of bluegrass country, she developed a deep affinity for horses from an early age.

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