Cow Hooves for Dogs
Last week, we went over pig ear dog chews. This week, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of cow hooves for dogs. Pet owners and pet professionals have mixed reviews about this dog chew, so it’s best to decide yourself whether or not cow hooves will make an appropriate dog chew for your pet.
Cow Hoof Pros
If your dog loves to chew for hours, then she’ll love chewing on cow hooves. A cow hoof is durable, easily lasting a full day for moderate to power chewers. That’s a long time for a dog chew.
Cow hooves are also relatively cheap. One hoof costs less than a dollar, and cow hooves are even cheaper when purchased in bulk. Hooves are available at most pet retailers and online, including hooves from cows born and raised in the USA.
Cow hooves are considered a natural product because they’re the actual hooves from a cow. Once a cow is slaughtered, hooves are sold to pet food vendors that completely clean, shave and dry them for pet resale. The hooves are hollowed out after cleaning, making it easy to squeeze in cheese or peanut butter inside.
Cow Hoof Cons
The biggest con of cow hooves for dogs is the smell. Cow hooves stink! The smell is worse when hooves are chewed, which can linger on carpet for days or even weeks.
When arriving home from work, many pet owners take one whiff and assume their dogs had a potty accident indoors until they find a half chewed cow hoof sitting on the living room floor. Yes, cow hooves smell that bad. You’ve been warned. 🙂 While this strong odor is a major turnoff for pet owners, it’s probably a pro for dogs because dogs love stinky smelling stuff!
As with all durable dog chews, there’s always the risk of tooth fractures, gum lacerations, choking and digestive obstructions. Chewed cow hooves can splinter and develop sharp edges, which can cause mouth lacerations, punctures and bleeding.
Dogs also seem to become extremely thirsty after chewing on cow hooves. It may be from the act of chewing or the additives on cow hooves.
Cow Hoof Chew Safety
Cow hooves are best for moderate chewers, so use with extreme caution for power chewers. Light chewers will likely get bored with these chews because they’re so tough.
Always supervise your dog when she’s chewing on any type of toy or chew even if your dog has chewed these items before. Every 10 minutes or so, walk over and trade the cow hoof for a piece of hot dog or cheese. Playing this dog game gives you the opportunity to inspect the chew for splinters, large chunks or sharp edges. The trade game also prevents resource guarding and teaches your dog good manners. During the break, take a moment to check your dog’s mouth and gums for bleeding or chipped teeth.
Once a cow hoof has been chewed to a small nugget, it’s best to throw it out to prevent your dog from swallowing the last piece. Any dog chew can be harmful, so supervision is key.