Is it okay for my five-month-old Golden Retriever to chew horse hooves? My pup has discovered them at our stable. I've stopped him from doing it for now in case it's unsafe, but just wanted to check if he does it in future.
Alison Logan, vet, advises...
Dogs really like hoof clippings! When we went on holiday last year, there was a stable block adjacent and there had obviously been a recent farrier visit. My Labs spent their time hunting for hoof clippings, and voraciously eating any they found. They came to no harm.
Possible risks to a dog from eating hoof trimming would seem to me to be:
- Mould or bacteria on the hoof trimming;
- Sharp edges - may damage the mouth, oesophagus, stomach or intestines;
- Treatments applied to the hooves such as for thrush - may be toxic to dogs.Given that your dog is only five months old, I think you have been wise to prevent him from eating the hoof trimmings. He needs a balanced diet for optimal growth! Dogs brought up around horses have been eating hoof trimmings for years, but perhaps it would be sensible to sweep up the bulk of them. The odd trimming should be fine, although I would certainly be careful to clear them all away if you are treating the hooves with anything.