How long should you let your dog chew on an antler?Gnawing at the antler helps to remove plaque off your dog’s teeth and therefore keep them clean and white. It is shown that if a dog chews on an antler for thirty minutes per day it can reduce the plaque on their teeth by 70%.
Antlers may cause a GI obstruction.
If a dog swallows a chunk of antler, it could also get stuck in the stomach or intestines. There is some debate among veterinarians on whether a dog’s stomach acids can break down antlers. However, even if the antler will eventually break down, it can still cause problems while it is intact. The antler could block food from leaving the stomach or lodge somewhere in the intestines and prevent intestinal contents from moving through.
In severe cases, an intestinal obstruction can cause a portion of the intestine to die or create a hole in the intestine. This may allow intestinal contents to leak into the abdomen. Dogs with dead intestines or holes in their intestines are very sick and sometimes die.
Signs of an intestinal or stomach obstruction include:
A variety of conditions, including other GI problems like pancreatitis in dogs, and systemic problems like organ failure can also cause these signs, so they are not specific for an obstruction. Whenever you see these signs, call your vet promptly so he or she can assess your dog and make a plan.
GI obstruction is an emergency and requires surgery to remove the antler (and possibly part of the intestine if it is damaged). Complicated or severe cases may require a several day hospitalization and intensive care. Some obstructions are even fatal, so antlers aren’t worth the risk.
What other hard chew toys should I avoid?
In addition to deer antlers, elk antlers, split antlers, and antlers of all types, for your dogs safety, avoid chew toys that don’t pass the “kneecap smack” test. These include:
Are antlers safe for dogs 2020?
Have you ever longed for a natural treat which doesn’t add calories to your dog’s waist? Or do you have a dog who is endlessly wanting to chew your shoes and furniture and you want to redirect his chewing habits onto something else? Are you looking for a treat which also has added health benefits to it?
In this article we will explore what deer antlers are, their benefits and their risks, as well as answer some common questions about them. So, keep reading to find out all you need to know about this marvellous treat.
Choose the right size – not one that is too small for your dog to swallow, yet not so large that they cannot chew on it easily.
Remove the antler if he is becoming too aggressive with his gnawing to avoid dental fractures.
Throw away the antler when it has worn down to a small size which your dog can fit entirely in his mouth.
Antlers are unique to the deer family, and grow on more than sixty kinds of male deer. They are made up of a bone-like substance, which originates as cartilage and slowly mineralises. Antlers are shed every year, and a whole new one grows for the breeding season. During that time, they are very soft, flowing with blood and covered in a soft layer called velvet. Towards the end of their growth, the blood flow stops and the antler mineralises, ready to impress females and fight off competing males.
Antlers are commonly confused with horns, but horns and antlers are very different structures. Horns can be found on both males and females, unlike antlers which are typically only on males. Horns have a core of bone, covered in a layer of keratin, much like our fingernails, and are permanent structures which don’t shed.
Even though antlers are naturally shed annually, most that are used for dog treats are by-products of the hunting industry. This way none of the hunted animal goes to waste. Anyway, most dogs prefer fresh deer antlers, rather than ones which have been drying out in the sun for weeks before they are harvested.
Once harvested, the antlers are cut down to size and the sharp points are removed or sanded down. They are then blanched to sanitise them. (Bone products should never be fully boiled as it can make them brittle). That’s all the processing which is done, so they are truly natural products!
So, are the antlers from different deer all the same? Not at all. Some antlers from deer such as fallow or red deer, are relatively hard and better suited for bigger dogs and more intense chewers.
You can also buy reindeer antlers, which are very similar to deer antlers, apart from the fact that they can also be harvested from females as well as males.