Dog Swallowed Cow Hoof

Dogs are little greedy creatures. I have seen my Leonidas doing things that honestly I don’t expect from him sometimes. He tries to eat everything that comes in a way and I bet I am not alone in this. If your dog has also swallowed a cow hoof, we are on the same boat. But are cow hooves dangerous for dogs?  Cow hoof is a hard thing and while playing a dog might swallow it. These are given to dogs because they are a  great time pass but there is always a risk of choking or injury to the mouth.

dog swallowed cow hoof

Symptoms of a dog swallowing a cow hoof

ChokingDifficulty breathing and coughingSevereEmergency vet visitImmediately
VomitingAttempting to expel the objectModerateObservation and vet visit if necessaryWithin a few hours
DiarrheaAbnormal bowel movementsMild to moderateObservation and possible dietary changesWithin a day or two
Abdominal PainPain or discomfort in the stomach areaMild to moderateObservation and pain medication if necessaryWithin a few hours to a day
ConstipationDifficulty passing stoolMild to moderateDietary changes and observationWithin a day or two

Risk factors for a dog swallowing a cow hoof

Risk factorDescriptionLikelihoodPreventionTreatment
Access to cow hoovesAvailability of cow hoovesHighLimit access to cow hoovesObservation and vet visit if necessary
Chewing behaviorTendency to chew on objectsHighSupervision and trainingObservation and vet visit if necessary
Hunger or boredomLack of stimulation or foodModerate to highProvide adequate food and stimulationObservation and possible dietary changes
Medical conditionsUnderlying medical issuesLow to moderateAddress underlying medical conditionsObservation and appropriate treatment
Stress or anxietyEmotional distressLow to moderateAddress underlying emotional issuesObservation and behavior modification if necessary

Treatment options for a dog swallowing a cow hoof

TreatmentDescriptionSuccess rateCostTimeframe
EndoscopyRetrieval of object through the mouthHighExpensiveWithin a few hours
SurgeryRetrieval of object through the abdomenHighExpensiveWithin a few hours
ObservationAllowing the dog to pass the object naturallyModerateInexpensiveWithin a few days
MedicationPromoting passage of object or alleviating symptomsLow to moderateModerateWithin a few hours to a day
Dietary changesEncouraging normal bowel movementsLow to moderateInexpensiveWithin a few days to a week

Complications of a dog swallowing a cow hoof

Intestinal blockageObstruction of the digestive tractSevereEmergency surgeryImmediately
Perforation of the intestinesRupture of the intestinal wallSevereEmergency surgeryImmediately
InfectionBacterial infection from the object or surgeryModerate to severeAntibiotics and/or surgeryWithin a few days to a week
Internal bleedingBleeding from trauma or surgerySevereEmergency surgeryImmediately
ShockLife-threatening condition from blood loss or infectionSevereEmergency treatmentImmediately

Prevention of a dog swallowing a cow hoof

Limit access to cow hoovesRestrict access to cow hoovesHighInexpensiveOngoing
SupervisionMonitor chewing behaviorHighInexpensiveOngoing
TrainingTeach proper chewing behaviorModerateModerateOngoing
Provide adequate food and stimulationAddress hunger or boredomModerateModerateOngoing

Giving cow hoof to your dog

Cow hoofs are given as dog chews to the dog. This little activity can keep your dog busy for hours and sometimes even the whole day. Giving cow hoof to playful and active dogs is a good trick to keep them busy.

Cow hooves are collected from the original cows. after the slaughter, they are cleaned and sold to food vendors. Pet owners buy them from vendors at a minimal price. Since they cost less, many owners prefer cow hooves for their dogs. What can be so good that is this cheap and saves you a lot of trouble from handling your dog in a free hour? It also saves your dog from chewing other things like doormats or eating shoes.

Owners may think that giving cow hoof to your dog is a good thing but as fun, they sound, they are very risky too. A dog can swallow the hoof, causing choking. Also while playing, the sharp edges of the cow hoof can cause injuries and cuts in the dog’s mouth. Cow hoofs are so hard that sometimes they can also cause tooth fractures and bleeding.

How to prepare cow hooves?

Either you can buy filled cow hooves for dogs or you buy shallow ones and prepare them at home.

Cow hooves are processed through several steps that include cleansing, washing, and drying the hoof.  First, they are made thin by removing the bottom portion. Then cow hooves are washed and boiled two to three times. Later they are dried and sharp or brittle edges are removed to minimize the risk of laceration.

At home,  cow hooves are washed boiled, and dried well. You can apply cheese on hooves to make them more yummy treats for dogs. You can also make homemade fillings for cow hooves. Add whatever your dog likes to eat. Before filling cow hooves with cheese or peanut butter always check the ingredients for allergy.

Pros of giving cow hoof to dogs

People are debating over the benefits vs disadvantages of giving cow hooves to your dogs or are cow hooves for dogs safe even?. Talking about what are the pros of giving cow hooves to your dogs, they are preferred because

They are on a budget

Budget plays a vital role while buying anything for pets. This may not be a problem for many owners but everybody wants the best deal for their pup. Cow hooves are very cheap as compare to other dogs chewable. Due to their affordability, many pet owners prefer cow hoofs for their dogs.


Cow hooves are comparatively durable than other dog chews.  They last long and hence are the best deal at a minimal price.  If keeping your dog busy is your priority,  you are just a hoof away. A chewable that gives a full entertainment package to your dog for an extended period is definitely recommended.

Natural and nutritious

Many dog parents want everything organic for their dogs. They prefer Cow hooves because they are natural and nutritious.

The nutritional profile for cow hooves:

Some doctors recommend cow hooves for dogs because of their nutritional richness. They are full of fiber, proteins, and collagen which are very beneficial for dogs’ bodies. This nutrition also provides strength to dogs’ joints and bones.

Cow hooves are a great source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and silicon, etc. They are also considered as a digestive aid that helps to protect intestinal walls from bacterial infections. Nutritionists also say that cow hoof broth is full of these absorbable rich minerals that are best for the pup’s joints.  When given in soup form, it acts as a healing potion for many diseases.

But are cow hooves digestible?. Maybe not if eaten as a whole but the broth is very nutritious.

One may get surprised that eating cow hooves in a soup form can save your dog from many diseases. For example,  cramps, muscle spasms, anxiety, high cholesterol, depression, insomnia, allergies, and osteoporosis, etc. This is because they are rich in keratin and collagen which repairs bone decomposition and helps the body to fight pain and inflammation.

Dog treats

Raw cow hooves for dogs are also an option but the filled one makes your dog happy. Dog are treasure hunters. If they know they are going to get something from it,  they will keep searching. Try to treat them with filled cow hooves. Cow hooves can be filled with peanut butter or cheese to keep your dog hooked up for a longer period.

Teeth scrub

Cow hooves are hard and when your dog gnaws on them,  the tartar and plaque from teeth scrape away. This is the best way to cleanse your dog teeth especially if performed on regular basis.

Why cow hooves are not safe for dogs?

The debate has always its advocate as well as those who oppose the idea. Some people think giving cow hooves to your dog is risky and threatening.

Cow hooves are given as chewable but it depends on how your dog wants or reacts to chewable. For normal dogs, it’s fun that will soon get boring. Dogs who like to chew and play more are more likely to get injured from cow hoofs.

If a question raises in your mind are cow hooves ok for dogs?. Yes, why not? But always let your dog chew cow hoof under your supervision. If your dog likes to chew cow hoof and breaks it while chewing there is a risk of laceration and injuries. It may cause internal bleeding too. Large chunks can damage the internal mouth so always look out for broken pieces or sharp edges. If your dog has broken the cow hoof, it’s better to throw it away.

What are the disadvantages of giving a cow hoof to your dog?

Cow hoofs are liked by many pet owners but there are dog parents who have complained about how dangerous cow hoof can be. You might wonder if cow hooves are bad for dogs?. Well,  everything has its pros and cons so while giving your dog this chewable treat, you must know

Cons of giving cow hoof to your dogs

  • Cow hooves are stinky. If you have a close environment like an apartment residence, cow hoofs can be a great discomfort. Their stinky smell may not get that easily and you will need to invest a lot in air fresheners (but we don’t guarantee odor reduction even then).
  • The texture of cow hooves is tough. If your dog swallows cow hoof they are not going to be digested by stomach juices. They are made from keratin, the same protein which is responsible for hair and nails in the body. So you can imagine how these cow hooves are not going to dissolve in the stomach.  In most cases, they will pass out with stools but in some cases, they can cause stomach infections and other diseases.
  • Since they are very hard, if broken there is a risk of sharp edges. These edges can cause both internal and external wounds and injuries. So always check your dog’s mouth after a while if you have given him cow hoof.
  • Cow hoofs are tough on teeth too. A dog can break its teeth while trying to break cow hoof with the jaw. Mostly 4th premolar gets affected from chewing cow hoof.  When the dog chews the hoof, it puts pressure on the 4th premolar and can cause stress fracture or pulp exposures.
  • They possess the risk of choking hazards. One must supervise the dog carefully to minimize the risk of choking.

What to do if your dog has accidentally swallowed the cow hoof? 

Well,  cow hooves are hard and that is the only thing to be worried about. Since they are not easily digestible,  swallowing a cow hoof can cause an upset stomach,  diarrhea, or maybe vomiting. Sometimes,  while playing, your dog may ingest bacteria along with hoof which can cause infection.

If the hoof was broken, the pointed edges may damage the body. In many cases of dog swallowing cow hoof,  the dog eventually threw up the pieces during vomiting. In other cases,  wait and they will be passed in the stool. Even after eating cow hooves, many dog parents didn’t notice any symptoms that might concern them. Hooves were reported to pass out in stools. Some dog owners suggest giving bread to your dog because hooves stick with it and come out with feces.

If your dog is otherwise ok and doesn’t show any weird symptoms,  you should let it go because sooner or later the hooves will pass on in stools.

Cow hooves can also cause blockage in the intestinal tract. You need to give your dog something that can make stool slippery. Doctors recommend Metamucil or psyllium husk powder for making the stool slippery. If the symptoms persist,  you need to talk to your vet for further examination.

You might think if cow hoof can cause blood in vomiting or stools?  Well,  mostly not. In extreme cases,  the sharp edges of cow hoof may lacerate inner intestinal or stomach lining and cause blood in stool or vomit. If this happens,  take your dog to the vet. Cow hooves usually don’t appear in x-rays so a vet will decide what to do next.

Some dogs are in habit of swallowing cow hooves. They must be either given hooves under close supervision or dog parents can replace them with other chewable.

In short, a dog swallowed a cow hoof,  it will be passed in stool and problem solved. If your dog shows symptoms like lethargy,  upset stomach, and vomiting, etc. take your pup for medical examination.

What happened with my Leonidas?

While writing all this, I forgot to mention that my Leo is fine. He passed the cow hoof with potty.  Such a naughty boy he is!

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