Durability Rating: (5/5)
My sister told us about trying deer antlers for chew toys, so we’ve been experimenting with them at our house since November. Our first try was a 5″ section of antler. At about $10, we decided to buy one and see if they liked it. Of course, we immediately learned that sharing a chewie was not going to bring peace to our household, as both dogs really liked the chew and spent a lot of energy trying to steal it away from each other. Also, after a few weeks, we took it away, as they had worn it down to a size that gave us some choking concerns.
Our next try, at about 8-9″ and about $19.00 was much better choice for our dogs. These chews were split down the middle, exposing the antler marrow, which the dogs loved and went after first. What is left now is the much harder outer section, and these have been in use since November, and still going strong. The dogs chew on them every night when they are asked to be in a long down stay while we have our dinner.
We’ve tried a lot of different animal based chews before, and the dogs are pretty happy with most of them, but we haven’t been pleased with certain aspects of animal-based chews, including:
- Gruesome body parts are not at all appealing and make us feel guilty and a little sick
- There is often a fairly obnoxious odor when the chews are slobbery
- Messy, messy on the floors
- Rawhide and some of the other chews can be dangerous if in ingested
- Some chews can cause stomach upset and diarrhea
Elk and deer antlers, on the other hand, are naturally shed each year. After shedding the antlers are collected then cut into lengths that are appropriate for various sizes of dogs. All cut edges are sanded smooth for the dog’s safety. Most antler distributors state that their antlers are harvested from natural shedding, however, some companies also use antlers obtained from deer and elk hunting season.
Deer and elk antlers are a great choice for many reasons:
- Safer for enthusiastic chewers, and far less likely to chip, splinter or peel
- Available in several different sizes for small and large dogs
- Great source of calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium
- Help keep tartar knocked down on teeth
- Completely natural healthy dog treat—none of the bleaching, chemical processing, or dying typical of traditional rawhide bones or pig ears
- Great indoor chew, leaves no greasy mess on floors
- Does not stink, like hooves or bully sticks (especially important for bringing on the boat!)
- No stomach upset
- Most distributors will state whether or not the antler was harvested from hunting, or from the forest floor, so you can choose a completely renewable resource chew in which no animal was harmed
- Very long lasting
Antler dog chews are available online, but we found them at our local pet supply boutique. By buying directly, you can choose the exact size and shape that is best for your dog, as each antler is unique in size and shape. However, if nobody sells them near you, there are many buying choices online. Give them a try and please let us know what you think!