Cow Hooves for Dogs – Pros and Cons

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 02/12/21 •  11 min read
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You may have seen that cow hooves are a popular treat to give your furry friend. Indeed, a lot of pet owners choose cow hooves as a tasty snack and reward, as well as to keep their pooch entertained during the day. They come in all shapes and sizes, which means dogs small and large can enjoy them. But are cow hooves really the best choice for your pup? Are they safe as a snack and do they offer any benefits? We are going to break it down and take a look at the pros and cons of chow hooves so that you can decide for yourself.

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The Pros of Cow Hooves for Dogs

First of all, let us start with the best things about cow hooves for canines. There are quite a lot of good things about this treat that we want to share. So, let’s dive in straight away.

They are a Natural Product

More pet owners are making a conscious effort to feed their pup healthy food and snacks than ever before. Of course, this is a great thing. But it is only beneficial when the foods and snacks are actually healthy and not just companies tell you that they are. Let us not forget that some brands can twist the truth and advertise them as something they are no. So, we want to know whether cow hooves are actually good for our dogs. The good news is that this is a natural treat. It is a real hoof from a calf or cow, depending on the brand you purchase. It is a by-product and nothing should be done to the hoof, other than being cleaned and dried. It is taken from a cow or calf when they are slaughtered for meat and sold to companies. This means that you can enjoy peace of mind and know that this treat does not contain any harmful ingredients or additives. It is just a cow hoof and this makes it a good, natural product for your four-legged friend.

Naturally High in Protein

The good thing about a cow hoof is that they are not just empty calories. They are actually healthy for your pup. Cow hooves are constructed from keratin, which is a type of protein. This means they are a naturally high in protein snack for your beloved companion. They can gnaw on it during the day and enjoy bite size pieces as a reward for their hard work. Protein is going to fuel and repair the muscles and give your pup energy throughout the day. Again, cow hooves should not contain any other added ingredients. They should be constructed just from keratin. Always ensure when you purchase cow hooves that you trust the company and check the packaging to make sure that the cow hooves are in their natural form. It is often recommended that you choose a USA brand so that you can enjoy peace of mind when it comes to quality standards. In particular, American raised cow herds can be better than abroad.

Keeps Your Pooch Entertained

If you are searching for a dog chew that actually lasts, consider a cow hoof. We all know that canines have teeth that can get through anything, especially if they are a power chewer. The good thing about a cow hoof is that they are solid and more durable than a lot of other chews out there. This means they will last longer and your pup will have to work hard. In fact, give your dog a cow hoof and it can last almost a full day depending on the size of your furry friend and the hoof itself. Some owners say their dog has taken weeks to get through the whole thing. One of the best things you can do is keep your dog mentally stimulated. This makes them happy and allows them to rest during the day afterward. In particular, if you are busy, a cow hoof can be a way to keep your beloved companion occupied. They will be happy to sit and chew away without any interaction. They think it tastes great and it is a way to help them drain their energy throughout the day. Just make you keep an eye on your canine to make sure they are safe.

They are Affordable

Buying a lot of treats for your pup can work out pretty expensive, especially if they are natural. While we all want the best for our furry friends, sometimes your budget just does not allow it. But the good thing is that cow hooves are actually quite cheap to purchase. On average, one cow hoof will cost around one dollar and you can get a good deal if you bulk buy lots of them. You will find them in pet stores and online. Just make sure that you choose products that are made in the USA with cows raised in the country. This can ensure the product’s quality. These may cost a little more but it is worth it.

Fill with Food for More Fun

Some dogs just love gnawing away on a treat. In fact, they may love to chew on anything! This means they will love a cow hoof. But there are some pups out there that lose interest after a while if they do not get anything from it. One thing we love about the cow hoof is that it can be adapted for any dog. Most cow hooves are hollowed out so that canines can enjoy gnawing on the outside. This means that you can take advantage of this opportunity and fill it with your dog’s favorite foods. For example, for some entertainment around meal times, fill the hoof with raw food. You can also put in cheese or line the insides with some peanut butter. The possibilities are endless! This is going to make the cow hoof last longer and keep every pup entertained for longer.

Scrapes away Plaque

Gnawing is not only fun for your dog, but it is also important for scraping away plaque and tartar on their teeth. Thankfully, this is something that a cow hoof can help with. Since it is durable, it can provide a good way for dogs to clean their teeth. Simply them gnawing and chewing away at the cow hoof helps to remove plaque from the surface of the teeth. This activity on a regular basis is beneficial to your pup’s health.

The Cons of Cow Hooves for Dogs

Now it is time to balance up the debate with some of the cons of cow hooves. There are some things you should consider before rushing out to buy this treat for your furry friend. So, let us take a look so that you can reach a conclusion.

They Smell Bad

As much as we love our dogs, the truth is, they can be dirty and smelly sometimes! So, the last thing you may want in your home is a treat that smells bad. Unfortunately, this is often the case with cow hooves. While some products are washed, they are a natural product, which means there is also going to be an odor. In fact, if the cow hoof does not smell, this can be a sign that it has been washed with chemicals. In particular, when your dog continually gnaws on a cow hoof, this releases a more intense odor. So, if you have guests coming to your house, this may not be the best treat to keep your pooch occupied. In fact, if you are concerned about your carpets, you may want to avoid cow hooves all together. The odor can linger on the carpet and if you have light colors, there is a possibility that cow hooves may stain.

There is a Risk of Injury

With any chew or toy that is tough, there can be a risk of tooth fracture. This is something that you will need to think about and decide whether you want to give your pup a cow hoof. Most dogs will be fine with this treat. But there is also an associated risk that you will have to evaluate. If your dog is a power chewer, they are more likely to break a tooth because they are determined to break down the cow hoof. In addition, as they gnaw through the hoof, spark pieces can develop. This can lead to gum and mouth lacerations and bleeding. This is why it is always recommended to supervise your furry friend when they are enjoying a cow hoof. If you notice any sharp edges or splinters from the cow hoof, remove it from them and see if you can make it a safe chew again. Once the hoof is very small, it is best to throw it in the trash. It could become a choking hazard as your dog tries to swallow the last piece.

There is even the possibility of digestive obstruction from cow hooves. If they eat pieces of the cow hoof, this may become lodged in their stomach. This would mean that your pup needed surgery. This can be stressful, dangerous and expensive. 

There is Excessive Thirst

One of the side effects that is reported for dogs after gnawing on a cow hoof is excessive thirst. It is difficult to say whether this is due to all of the chewing and gnawing they have been doing or down to the hoof itself. Either way, you may not be comfortable with this is you are out and about and your dog does not have access to fresh water. If your pup is in the house, always make sure they are able to drink clean water. There is no suggestion that cow hooves are particularly dehydrating. But this is one thing that owners have reported. It is something to be aware of.

Risk of Chemical Use

As we have mentioned, you want to stick to natural cow hooves. But the danger is that some companies will use chemicals to wash cow hooves without telling you. This is something you do not want your pup to consume. Again, if the cow hoof does not smell, a chemical may have been used to clean it. The best way to avoid this is to choose a reputable company. Hopefully, they will give you all the information you need about the cow hoof and where it comes from. If you are in doubt, you can always contact them directly or purchase from another brand. 

The Verdict

What is our verdict on cow hooves? Well, there is no doubt that there are many benefits to offering this as a snack to your furry friend. We like that it is natural and high in protein. This makes it a healthy snack that your canine will like. In addition, cow hooves double as a chew toy. They are a natural chew toy that keeps a pup entertained during the day. We know how important mental stimulation is and a cow hoof can offer this. Plus, they are affordable and can be adapted to suit any pooch. Another added benefit is that they can be good for the teeth too.

But we do acknowledge that there are some risks involved with cow hooves. If you are worried about your house, this might not be the most pleasant snack to have around. There can be an odor and this may linger on the carpet. The real concern is the risk of injury. Breaking a tooth can be painful for your pup and expensive, as well as lacerations being uncomfortable. To avoid choking, always keep an eye on your canine when they are having a cow hoof. If you do decide to let your pup have cow hooves, always choose a reputable brand that you trust and that is open with information. We would say that cow hooves are a good snack for your canine to have every once and a while. Just make sure you monitor them closely.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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