› Dogs in Horse Stables

Dogs in Horse Stables:  Risks? 

Guest Post by Alison O’Callaghan

Keep your dog safe when visiting horse stables.Safety is important when Dogs in Horse Stables get a little too curious.

Many horse lovers invariably tend to be canine enthusiasts as well, and it is quite normal for a barn to have dogs running around.

However, there are a few important factors that owners should be aware of when bringing their dogs to the stables.

Dogs in Horse Stables:  3 Potential Threats

Worming Paste for Horses

The ivermectin in worming pastes, an anti-parasite treatment for heartworm, is extremely poisonous and harmful to dogs if consumed in high quantities.

The amount used on a horse is 25 to 30 times more the dosage than that given when worming a medium to large dog.

Some breeds of dogs are genetically hypersensitive to ivermectin, possessing an abnormality that allows it to pass directly into the central nervous system. This includes:

Other herding breeds and mixed breeds are also prone, along with older dogs that have previously experienced a blow to the head, and puppies.

This hereditary indifference is due to the dog having the MDR1 gene, but not all individuals from the list of breeds carry it.

The only way to find out is to take your dog to the vet, who will scrape cells from the inside of the dog’s cheek, sending it away for testing.

Be careful that tubes of worming pastes are not left lying around where a dog could easily get hold of one and chew it.

Also, be aware of any worming paste that has been dropped on the floor by the horse, allowing the dog to lick it up and ingest it.

Dogs love to eat horse manure, much to the disgust of their owners! However, when horses are wormed, the quantity of ivermectin found in their manure peaks after two-and-a-half days, but can still be toxic after two weeks.

If your dog has ivermectin poisoning, he is likely to show the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to stand
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blindness
  • Tremors and seizures

These warning signs can appear in just a few hours and require urgent veterinary treatment.

The vet will need to generate vomiting and give charcoal once this has stopped. The dog may need intravenous fluids and possibly a feeding tube along with a ventilator.

Recovery can take several weeks, requiring the dog to have dedicated nursing and care.

Eating Hoof Trimmings

Dogs are always happy when the farrier arrives to shoe the horses as they cannot resist hoof trimmings. Attracted by the odour, they make a tasty treat.

It is not known for sure if they provide any nutritional value for dogs, but are thought to contain protein, calcium and biotin.

Most dogs can chew or eat small, fresh trimmings without any problems.

However, be aware of any horses treated for conditions in their feet, such as thrush, or if hoof dressing has been applied, as the chemicals in the solutions can be extremely toxic to dogs.

Also, check for any bits of nails left in the trimmings.

Large or sharp pieces can irritate or perforate the stomach, oesophagus or intestines.

Be sure to sweep up and throw away all trimmings, once the farrier has finished.

Older, drier chunks are more likely to have bacteria or mould contamination. They are also harder to digest and can cause mycotoxin (poison from mould or fungus) to dogs.

The vet needs to be contacted immediately if the dog shows the following symptoms:

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Showing signs of stomach pain

In some cases, dogs will need their stomachs pumped if they have swallowed large pieces.

Eating Horse Feed

For some reason, many dogs enjoy eating horse feed! Although it shouldn’t cause any harm, it may do so if your dog eats large amounts. Contact the vet if your dog shows the following signs:

  • Trouble breathing - as the dog will be so full
  • Gagging without vomiting
  • Looking in pain

When Dogs in Horse Stables eat Feed with Medicines

Be aware of any feed that has medicines mixed in, such as Bute (phenylbutazone), as it can cause gastrointestinal upset or ulceration. If ingested, the dog will show the following signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (possibly with blood)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Tremors and seizures

The dog will require an immediate assessment from the vet, as even a small amount of Bute can be deadly, and is likely to need the same treatment as for ivermectin poisoning.


Article, Dogs in Horse Stables by Alison O’Callaghan

I adore all animals, especially dogs and horses, and love writing about them. I have owned Miniature Schnauzers in the past and currently have a Toy Poodle called Lucy, who I adopted. I work professionally with horses and bring Lucy to the stables every day.

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