Right now, one of the most popular chews on the market for dogs is antlers. Whether it is from a deer or an elk, antlers are everywhere and they are demonstrated as a healthy, safe chew for your furry friend.
But are antler dog chews everything they are made out to be? It is time to take a closer look at antlers so that you know what you are giving your beloved companion.
What are Antler Dog Chews?
So, what are antler dog chews? While this may seem like an obvious question, it is still important to answer it. After all, every dog owner should know exactly what they are feeding their pooch. Of course, an antler dog chew is an antler from a deer. It grows on the top of their head and they often use it for defending food, territories or by males fighting over females. While antlers grow on males, they are not exclusively seen on male deer. In fact, female reindeers have antlers.
Before you worry that deer, caribou, reindeer and elk are slaughtered for their antlers, the good news is that they shed them every year. Normally, this is during the winter.
The antlers are a bone-like material that grows throughout the year. Effectively, it is cartilage that mineralizes into bone over time.
What are the Benefits of Antler Dog Chews?
The good news is that there are many advantages to giving your pup antler dog chews. In particular, they are better than giving your dog rawhide or other artificial chews. But let us take a closer look.
They Keep Your Dog Entertained
We all know that dogs need entertainment during the day. You have a busy life and you cannot walk and play with your pooch 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We definitely wish we could! So, this means that you look for chews that are going to keep them amused and satisfy their needs while you tick some things off the to-do list.
A lot of the chews out there do not last long. If you have a power chewer dog, you will know the frustration of buying a tasty chew and it is gone before you can sit down. But the good thing about antlers is that they are durable and long lasting. This is a chew that really will last more than an hour. In fact, they can last several weeks depending on the size and the chewing power of your pup. This sounds great, right? Money well spent!
Most dogs love to chew and gnaw too. It is a natural instinct and a good way to expend energy. This is what the antler can provide. So, when you are busy, you can give your canine an antler to chew on. They will be happy to sit by themselves and gnaw away.
They are a Natural Product
Another problem with a lot of dog chews out there is that they are not healthy or natural for your furry friend. For example, rawhide is now said to be dangerous for your beloved companion. In addition, there are chews that are full of artificial ingredients that are not good for canines. Dog owners are now a lot more aware of what they should be feeding their pup. This is great! In particular, there is a focus on choosing natural products for food and treats.
The good thing is that antlers are a natural product that is healthy for your pooch. There is nothing in them that can harm your pup. They are simply an antler that has been washed. Just be sure to choose a reputable brand to ensure they are all-natural. Since they are a natural treat, they are compatible with raw diets.
They are Nutritious
Not only are antlers natural, but they are also very nutritious for your pooch. They are full of minerals that your furry friend needs. This includes calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, sodium and potassium. These are all good for strong bones and encouraging a healthy coat.
What’s more, deer antlers contain around 50 percent water. This means they are a hydrating snack for your canine. They even contain fiber that can help with digestion. It is like antlers contain everything dogs need!
They Help Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
We all know that your pup’s dental health is important. The last thing you want is for your canine to have plaque or tartar. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease after a while. So, you have to think of ways you can clean their teeth. Of course, there are toothpaste and brushes you can purchase. But if your dog does not let you clean their teeth, chews are the next best option.
This is where the deer antler comes in. Since this is a durable chew, it can help to clean your canine’s teeth. The gnawing motion can scrape away at plaque and tartar to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. One thing we have noticed is that a lot of dental treats are made with bad ingredients and are high in calories.
The good thing about antlers is that they are natural, nutritious and good for your pup, whilst still cleaning their teeth.
They Are Not Messy or Smelly
When you would like to relax, the last thing you want is for your dog to be eating something with an odor. From the owner’s point of view, antlers are great because they do not smell or stain your carpet. We all know that this can happen with natural chews such as bully sticks, pigs’ ears and other animal products. Antlers leave no mess behind and this means you can sit back, relax and enjoy your evening when your dog is gnawing on this chew. They do not go off either, so they will never have an odor. They can last your dog for weeks and even months in some cases and still be as fresh as the day you bought them.
Things to Consider
We have told you about some of the great things about antler chews. Now it is time to consider some of the negative things about this treat. This is going to give you a balanced view. Let’s get started.
Some Dogs Lose Interest
There are some dogs that simply get bored of antlers. Once they have chewed it for a while, they lose interest because there is no instant reward. In particular, this can happen with senior dogs or pups that do not care about chewing. They simply get bored and it seems like too much hard work. This is something to consider before purchasing antlers.
They Can Be Expensive
Do not be fooled into thinking that antlers are a by-product that are cheap. The good ones you want to purchase for your dog may cost more than what you expected. If they are cheaper, the chances are they are lower grade antlers. This means it can be old and brittle, which can be dangerous for your pup. It can mean cracks and splinters appear more easily.
It is always best to choose products that are made in the USA. This applies to any dog treats you purchase. This is a way to rule out cheaper, inferior products that could be harmful to pups. If the product is made in the USA, it is more likely going to be a quality product. But make sure you also do your research into the antler to ensure it is the best one for your pooch. Be prepared to pay more than you would for other treats. But it is natural and it will last longer. So, we think that it is worth it.
There is a Risk of Injury
If your dog already eats natural products, you may realize that there is always a risk of injury. This can happen with toys or chews that are durable. The same applies to deer antlers. The point of an antler is to satisfy your dogs’ gnawing instinct. You want to make sure that your pup is not trying to break parts of it. This can be when it becomes a choking hazard for your furry friend. In addition, it could mean he or she breaks their teeth. One of the biggest risks with antlers is that they cause a blockage. This can happen if your dog eats too much of it. It is important to always supervise your furry friend when they are enjoying an antler chew. We know it can be tempting to leave them with their favorite chew and you can get on with the list of things you have to do around the house. But it is always best to put your dog’s safety first. Most of the time they will be fine. But any chew is not without risk and there is the possibility of choking.
If your dog is a power chewer, you want to consider the softer options. For example, elk antlers tend to be softer, while fallow and red deer have harder antlers. This may lower the risk of broken teeth. Make sure that you purchase an antler that is a suitable size for your pup. Always inspect the antler to make sure that it is big enough for them. Of course, this is going to depend on the size of your dog and you will need to use your own judgment on this. The aim is to not provide them with a chew that they can choke on. So, often the bigger, the better. When they are enjoying their antler, you want to make sure that it does not develop any sharp edges. This can happen as they happily gnaw away on it. Take it away from your pup every 15 to 20 minutes to chew for any hazards. These sharp edges can cause injury to the gums and be dangerous for swallowing. However, just because the antler has sharp edges does not mean you have to throw it in the trash. Instead, use sandpaper and remove the sharp edge. Then they can have their chew back for another round!
The Verdict on Antler Chews
Overall, we like antler chews and think they are a great alternative to rawhide and other artificial snacks out there that are unhealthy for dogs. In particular, we like that they are able to keep your furry friend amused. Mental stimulation is so important for a happy pup and providing your dog with a challenge can help them drain energy during the day. Not a lot of toys or chews last but antler is the exception. We also like that antlers are a natural and healthy chew. You do not have to worry about harmful ingredients or lots of calories. Instead, your canine can enjoy a nutritious chew that can also help to clean their teeth. Plus, if you have light carpets or friends coming over to your house to visit, this is a friendly chew that does not have an odor or stain flooring.
But there are some things to consider when it comes to antlers. The first thing is, not every dog will enjoy chewing on them. They can be expensive and if your dog gets bored with them quickly, this will be a waste of money. The risk of injury can be worrying. You will have to closely monitor your pup to make sure they are safely gnawing. Always choose reputable brands for antlers so that they have a lower risk of breaking and being dangerous to your pooch. If your dog is a power chewer, it is best to choose a softer antler to avoid injury. In the end, we would be happy to give our dogs antler chews. There are more benefits than negatives. Of course, there is a risk of injury with every chew. Always choose the best products for your pooch and monitor them closely. This way, they can be safe, happy and healthy all at the same time!