Are goat horns safe for my dog?

Words By Gemma Sheehy

July 05, 2019

We’re big fans of goat horns. Goat horns are like the best kind of chew toy – but better – because they’re totally edible and completely delicious. There are innumerable benefits that chomping down on a goat horn offers your dog. The chomp includes increased dental health, vigorous mental stimulation and satisfying their instinctual need to chew.

Despite this, some people still balk before buying natural dog treats. And we get it – our dogs are our furry children. There are some unfortunate myths circulating, that might give you reason to pause before clicking purchase. So let’s myth-bust those misconceptions about goat horns.

Why do dogs chew everything?

To get right to the marrow of why goat horns are so great for doggos, we’ve got to delve into the reasons why goat horns, and chewing them, is so addictive.

Chewing is a natural, instinctive, and super important part of a dog’s life. Not having hands, dogs instead use their mouths to investigate their world. Sometimes this investigation leads them to chow down on things they really shouldn’t, like our shoes or the inside of our couch.

Dog eating goat horn in grass

Dogs have an insatiable need to chew. 📷 Photographer: Grier Morris-Obst

Dogs often use chewing to relieve boredom and stress, and frequently to create their own fun (when you aren’t around to play catch or tug). If they’re not given an appropriate outlet to satisfy their need to gnaw, they’ll find their own alternatives for destruction.

Warning – it might not be human-approved. Here’s where occupy treats come in.

What’s an occupy dog treat?

It’s in the name. An occupy treat is a term used to describe a toy or dog treats that keep you dog’s mind occupied and engaged for long(er) periods of time. They’re usually long lasting and work to relieve stress and boredom. Goat horns are one of the best occupy treats, especially for aggressive chewers. Another great example is the deer antler.

A good way to give occupy treats a boost is to stuff ’em with more edible goodness. When goat horns come empty, you can double the amount of creative opportunities to get your dog interested. Like an occupy toy (but natural), you can stuff them with peanut butter, soak them, or freeze them. Fill them with whatever your dog likes best.

For dogs, scooping out a hidden treat is a form of a reward. Giving them the chance to feel like they’ve achieved or resolved a trick engages their senses and keeps them occupied for longer.

Are goat horns safe for dogs?

A resounding YES! Dogs are born to chew, with their jaw and teeth built for gnawing on tough animal parts. Goat horns are extra special — the enzymes in dogs’ saliva soften the edges and they break away for a satisfying crunch. When chewed appropriately, goat horns are not a choking hazard.

Tips to remember when your dog is chewing

  • With any occupy treat, supervision is crucial.
  • Your dog should naturally gnaw small pieces away, but not large shards.
  • Some dogs might approach natural treats with more gusto than others, and it’s important to ensure they’re eating slowly and safely.
  • If you think your dog might be bearing down too hard, remove the horn and try again later on.

Can I give my puppy a goat horn?

Puppies should steer clear of horns until they’ve graduated to adult teeth. The tough, long-lasting consistency of goat horns means they might risk breaking the more delicate baby teeth before those teeth are ready to come out naturally.

If you still want to reap the benefits of all-natural, wholesome and healthy chews, have no fear. Try out more puppy-appropriate chews like Moo Tubes or Dental Sticks.

Benefits of Goat Horns

Goat horns are tasty, edible and safe for your dog. There’s an enormous market out there for chew toys, from natural to artificial, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed with options.

Dog chewing on goat horn

Goat horns come whole, split, with a marrow or without it. What does your doggo prefer? 📷 Photographer: Grier Morris-Obst

We lay out all the reasons that goat horns are so uniquely special and an unbeatable feature of every dog owner’s arsenal.

All natural

It goes without saying, but goat horns are totally 100% natural. You can’t beat single-ingredient treats, with no hidden nasties that might be prominent in commercial occupy treats. That means no additives, no preservatives (fillet, colour, sugar) which make this a super-power natural dog treat.

Affordable and long lasting

Goat horns are great for the hip pocket. They’re super long-lasting, with some surviving months before dogs have had their last morsel.

Dental benefits

There are the stellar dental benefits. Their unique texture makes them akin to a made-by-nature toothbrush, scrubbing your dog’s teeth until they are pearly white and shining bright.

Goat horns are edible

While we love treat toys and dog food dispensers, horns generally hold much more appeal as they’re edible.

Where do goat horns come from?

Goats are native to Australia and are farmed commercially for the consumption of their meat. By implementing a sustainable waste management process for goat byproducts, their horns can be sustainably used for dogs’ diets.

As sustainability advocates, we encourage dog owners to stay educated and informed about the provenance of what they’re feeding their dog. In the case of dog treats, you always be able to identify the source, country of origin and the processing or manufacturing element behind the dog treats.

How are WAG Goat Horns sourced?

WAG Goat Horns come from local Victorian sources who farm goats for human consumption. They step in and take the bits that are usually disposed (byproducts), including horns and trotters.

While the marrow in a horn is delicious and nutritious, keeping it often requires the complicated addition of preservatives and packaging to keep it fresh. In WAG’s case, during the sterilisation process, they remove the live membrane inside leaving your dog with an empty goat horn (ready to be filled up with more goodness!)

We go(a)t your dog’s best interests at heart

We’re keen on the super-powered benefits of horns and we think you should be too. We promise your doggo won’t need as much convincing.

Author

Gemma Sheehy

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them at WAG she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.