Owners of heavy chewers often find themselves in despair of what to buy their dog. Maybe their chew toys never last more than a week, and their edible chews even less. If this is you, water buffalo horn chews may solve your problem!
They are natural, long-lasting, edible chews with lots of health benefits, and they are booming in popularity right now. So what exactly are they and what benefits do chewing on water buffalo horns have for dogs? Let’s find out.
What Are Water Buffalo Horns
There are two types of buffalo in the world; African buffalo and water buffalo. Most horn chews for dogs come from water buffalo. The horns themselves have a bone core that is covered in keratin, which is what human nails are made out of.
How Are They Made
Buffalo horns for dogs come from buffalo that are farmed for meat and dairy. The horns are a byproduct of this.
After they are harvested, they are cleaned, the inner core is removed, they’re sanded to remove sharp edges, covered in sunflower oil, and dried naturally before being packaged up for sale. They are also cut down to different sizes for different dogs. Some still have the point of the horn attached, others have them cut off.
Where Can I Buy Them
Water buffalo horns for dogs can be bought at all of the major online stores that sell pet supplies, such as Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart.
You’ll also find them in a lot of in-person pet stores and holistic stores that sell pet supplies, as they are currently booming in popularity. They are not very expensive, which is great for owners that want to stock up.
Benefits of Water Buffalo For Dogs
Are water buffalo horns good for dogs? Let’s take at the benefits they have for both dog & owner.
First and foremost, buffalo horns are natural. Of course, they go through a process before they are suitable for sale, but nothing unnatural is added to them. Unlike some other chews, however, where artificial flavorings and colorings are used. These are bad for dogs and may upset their stomachs. Similarly, some chew toys contain toxic materials and chemicals like PVC and BPA.
Water buffalo horns are also very nutritious. They are high in protein and low in fat, making them the perfect treat for overweight dogs. They are also high in calcium and phosphorus which contribute to healthy bones and muscles.
This is important for all dogs, but especially those that are developing or getting older. That said, these treats are not appropriate for puppies with baby teeth and elderly dogs with weakening teeth.
Good for Dental Hygiene
Arguably the biggest benefit of chewing on buffalo horns, they are fantastic for your dog’s dental health. The tough texture scrapes plaque off of your dog’s teeth as they chew. Plaque can cause bad breath, yellow teeth, tartar, and gum disease, which can lead to life-long health problems, a reduction in quality of life, and expensive vet treatment.
The horns have a hollow center, so owners can fill them with tasty treats like peanut butter. This adds a fun element to the treat and turns it into a mentally stimulating game, which allows dogs to exercise their foraging instincts.
Durable & Affordable
Finally, giving your dog water buffalo horns is also beneficial for owners! They are extremely durable and can last anywhere from weeks to months, meaning you won’t have to replace them every week. They’re also inexpensive, so you don’t have to break the bank.
Are There Any Risks Giving Water Buffalo Horns To a Dogs
Like all dog chews, buffalo horns come with some risks. Dogs can chew them too hard and damage their teeth. They can also break bits off in a way that leaves sharp edges, which could cut the inside of their mouths and stomachs when swallowed.
That said, they are 100% digestible and shouldn’t cause any internal blockages. Like all chews, they could, however, cause a choking hazard.
To avoid this, always buy your dog chews that are an appropriate size, as well as chews that are high-quality and thick, as thinner chews increase the likelihood of sharp edges breaking off. Always supervise them during chewing, and inspect their chews regularly for sharp edges.
Are Water Buffalo Horns Safe For All Dogs
Water buffalo horns and all similar products should not be given to puppies who still have their baby teeth or elderly dogs with weakening teeth, as it could break their teeth.
This could be very painful and frightening for puppies and impact the quality of life of older dogs if they were to lose teeth.
They should also not be given to adult dogs with poor dental health, as they could cause further damage.
Alternatives to Water Buffalo Horns
If you’re not into the idea of giving your dog buffalo horns to chew on, there are plenty of alternatives such as:
Antlers have similar benefits to buffalo horns. They are natural, nutritious, long-lasting, and good for dental hygiene. They are a bit more difficult to find than buffalo horns, but they are softer and less likely to break into sharp pieces. Caribou antlers are especially popular.
Again, knucklebones are natural and great for your dog’s teeth. However, they do run the risk of breaking and are not meant to be swallowed, as they can cause internal blockages. They are also a bit stinky!
If you want to steer clear of animal-based chews altogether but still want to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, try a classic dental chew, such as Pedigree Dentastix. They are specially formulated to keep your dog’s mouth clean and have a ridged texture that helps to fight plaque build-up and bad breath. They can also be eaten every day.
Alternatively, you could try a frozen carrot. You’ve probably already got some in your kitchen, so sticking one in the freezer is a super simple, inexpensive way to give your dog the crunchiness of a buffalo horn without any of the risks.
Carrots are also high in vitamins and minerals, rich in fiber, and low in calories. They are safe for teething puppies, too. In fact, when frozen, it will even soothe their aching gums.
Consider investing in some super high-quality chew toys. Brands like Kong make products that are designed for heavy chewers, and their classic design allows the toy to be filled with treats which is great for mental stimulation.
Water Buffalo Horns: FAQ
Buffalo horns can be a bit smelly. It’s not a particularly strong or pungent smell, more earthy and animal-like. Although, it does get stronger when they are being chewed. Most people won’t be that bothered by it, but those with more sensitive noses might be. Some owners prefer to give their dogs the chew outdoors to curb this.
Water buffalo horns should not be given to teething puppies, adult dogs with poor dental health, or elderly dogs with weakening teeth as it could cause tooth breakage.
Like all chews, buffalo horns do come with some risks. Dogs can chew them too hard and damage their teeth. They can also break bits off in a way that leaves sharp edges, which could cut the inside of their mouths and stomachs when swallowed. This can also pose a choking hazard.
To avoid this, always buy your dog chews that are an appropriate size, as well as chews that are high-quality and thick, as thinner chews increase the likelihood of sharp edges breaking off. Always supervise them during chewing, and inspect their chews regularly.
Water buffalo horns are a natural, nutritious, and long-lasting chew for dogs. They are brilliant for doggie dental health, and beneficial for us owners, too.