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Friday, 1 June 2012

Hard as nails

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.

Donna Hotston, by email

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. 


  1. As long as they are not still attached to the horse then I think it's fine!

    I've had dogs and horses all my life more or less and farrier day has always been a treat for resident dogs on any yard.

  2. My dogs always used to love it when the farrier arrived, and would sit waiting patiently for him to throw the off cuts of hooves to them.

    Dogs love fresh horse hooves, although if it was a busy farrier day, there were approx 30 horses on the yard, intake had to be limited, as a few are fine, but the dogs would eat so many if left to their own devices, it did give the an upset tummy sometimes.