18 Jan 2011

Elk and Deer Antler Dog Chews

16 Comments Chew Toys, Ruff Toy Recommended

Durability Rating: (5/5)

Deer and Elk Antlers - Dog chews you can feel good about, but get the right size for your dog

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

Cassie waited patiently for me to give back her antler

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!

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16 Responses to “Elk and Deer Antler Dog Chews”

  1. Reply annie says:

    molly loved hers! we kept it in mark’s office as her special chew-treat while he was working. and yes, when it-finally!-got too small, we tossed it. i think we really got our money’s worth out of it!

  2. Reply Kolchak Puggle says:

    We swear by these deer antler chews at our house. Aside from earning high points for durability, Deer Antler has a long history of use in Chinese medicine to help strengthen the immune system, kidneys and to help keep inflammation at bay. I love it when we find a treat that is durable, healthy and even ethical and sustainable! Kolchak gives antlers four paws up!

  3. Reply Kristine says:

    Awesome! I have seen these in our local store but passed on them because of their high price. However, the fact that they don’t leave a mess and don’t smell is a huge selling point for me. I will have to get Shiva to save her pennies so she can buy one. ;-)

  4. Reply Miss Kodee says:

    Wow great review, Love the honest detail versus a sales job.

    I just found deer antlers last summer. I love them for all the reasons you state. Now the first 2 chews are still going strong! The last 2 I bought, Becky chipped and split them in under a day. She is a small Cavalier but has mighty sharp teeth. At the tune of $10 a piece I was not pleased. However, I like them enough I know I will be foolish enough to try and find 2 more great ones like the first set.

    Our store told us if the dogs loose interest, its because they are not as stinky. To just place them in some boiling water, let them harden up again and they are ripe!

  5. Reply OscarBlogger says:

    I just blogged about this a week or so ago, when I first saw them in our local pet store. Oscar likes it, but it doesn’t hold his interest the way a bully stick does. He does come back to it and nibble on it a bit every day, though. I love that it doesn’t smell or stain anything!

  6. Reply Michael Jordan says:

    The antlers are the greatest in long lasting chews. I sell them wholesale to retail pet stores across the country. I also sell to the public. Contact me if you have any questions.
    BullyStickDirect.com

  7. Reply Dox Mom says:

    Goodness – I bought them for my four mini dachshunds and no one was interested – never even picked them up to carry them off to one of the beds. Does the boiling really work to increase “smell-ability” ?

  8. Reply antlergallery says:

    Its a lot of fun cutting up antler to make dog chews, I find that when i find wild antlers that the tips have been chewed on by wild animals in the woods that they are the antlers that taste the best to dogs. antlergallery.com

  9. Reply Tara says:

    I asked the vets at my animal hospital and the overall feeling was that the antlers were too hard and run a higher risk of damaging dog teeth because of this. I decided to pass.

  10. Reply Pauline says:

    We have 6 dogs so I can’t afford to buy the antlers in the stores but I’ve found a couple of places to order the antlers from at very reasonable prices. We do the small or medium size for our dachshunds and black lab.

    First choice – http://www.yellowantlers.com and select Antler Dog Chews under the Antlers dropdown. We do the small center cut (split exposing the marrow) that are 5-6″ long and you get 7 to 8 in a pound order for $16.00 plus $7.95 shipping.

    Second choice – ebay seller of Michigan antler dog chews – http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-LBs-Antler-Dog-Chews-Deer-Treats-SPLIT-ANTLER-CHEWS-/300565395096?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item8bb3c17647 – again, we usually get 2 pounds for about $25.99 plus shipping

    Third choice – http://www.elkusa.com – these are from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and basically priced about the same.

    I just thought I’d share.

  11. Reply Don says:

    I offer both retail and wholesale antlers. Its worth your time to shop around a little for Antler Chews. My retail prices are less then may “wholesale” dealers. My sites are Yellowstone Antlers and elkantlerdogchews.com Good Luck and happy chewing!

  12. Reply Rachel says:

    Maybe my 12 yr chocolate lab was the anomaly, but the deer antler splintered during his 2nd chewing session. The side splintered off almost a 2” piece with a very sharp point. Overall he might have chewed on this 15 minutes. I’ve since taken it away and plan on returning the chew. The last thing I want is a $19 chew causing a very expensive surgery to remove a splinter.

  13. Reply Nancy says:

    Thanks for that review… I feel much better about getting one our dog :)

  14. Reply KT says:

    BestElkAntlers.com is the biggest and best online store for American sourced elk antler dog chews. Made from 100% natural, nutrient-rich elk antlers, these chews have no added chemicals or preservatives. These naturally shed elk antlers last longer than traditional chews and dogs love them. Best of all, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes for any kind of dog. They’re also affordable and won’t break the bank – or your dog’s teeth!

  15. Reply Mike says:

    Good read on the pluses of antler chew toys. I’d add that in my experience, elk antlers are the best, compared with deer or moose alternatives. The deer antler tend to splinter more easily and the moose antlers tend not to last long as they have less of an outer shell protecting the inside marrow. The other thing to consider is the source. There’s lot of places out there selling rather low quality product that’s been sitting around, perhaps for years. These low grade products are far less attractive for your pet. A good, high quality antler should be less than a year old and have good coloration (browns). The grey/white stuff is old and bleached. It might be best to find a supplier that sources material from farmed elk rather than from the wild as they can more easily tell how ‘fresh’ the antler is. I’ve had great results from basispet.com. Compared to the antler I got from Petco, my dog was much more attracted to the basis pet product. Thanks again for the great article.

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