How to minimize the risk of antler chews
Antler chews will never be entirely safe for any dog, and the risks of damage to the teeth, mouth, jaw, or guts will always be there. However, if you choose to give your dog antler chews, there are ways to minimize the risk:
Always supervise your dog with an antler chew. These chews can cause choking, and your dog can swallow loose antler fragments. Careful supervision can decrease the risk of these harmful effects.
Its also very important to choose the right antler size for your dog. Smaller dogs could crack their jaw on a large antler, while large dogs could swallow a small antler and develop an intestinal obstruction.
Finally, check your dog’s antler chews regularly for signs of cracks, damage, or sharp edges. If you notice any weakened areas, be sure to dispose of the antler immediately.
Since many of the risks associated with antlers are due to their hard texture, you might wonder how to soften deer antlers to minimize the risk to your dog. Do not boil antlers before giving them to your dog. Boiling antlers makes them more likely to splinter, and these shards can block or damage the intestine.
What age can puppies have antlers?
We recommend puppies 3 months and up can start chewing on antlers. But we do recommend limiting your puppys chew time to less than an hour per chewing session, to help protect their growing teeth!
Are Deer Antlers For Dogs Safe?
“We are having an increase in the instances of dogs (puppies and adults) with acute diarrhea.
All tests show that the cause is not bacterial or parasitic. What all these cases do have in common……
Now I am not knocking antlers, they definitely have their place.
Antlers are an excellent tool for dogs with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
But because they are considered a novel protein, once a dog is given this as a treat, Venison can no longer be considered a novel protein for that dog.
This makes it much more difficult to find a novel protein if needed in the future for skin or intestinal issues.
Recently, as antler dog chews become more popular, antlers are getting more scarce.
Antler chew sellers are popping up all over and they are looking to sell the cheaper, low-grade antler to make more profit.
These antlers are old, brittle, and can crack and splinter when chewed.
Because of the scarcity antlers are being brought in from other countries like China where they may be treated with chemical preservatives.
Antlers are also high in protein, this too can cause stomach upset especially in young dogs.
We recommend the following “chew toys”:
Sterile bones, Nylabones, and the occasional rawhide,(UPDATE rawhides are no longer a recommended chew) are the same chew toys given while they are in training.
All of these chews need to be given only under direct supervision.
We do not recommend antlers as a chew toy/supplement.”
–Guide Dog Vet Department I’m going to sleep on this one. Whether or not their good chew toys their good pillows!
How to use deer antlers to your advantage when training your puppy!
Although many split antlers are suggested to be softer and more suitable for puppies, they are still a risk. So, it wouldn’t be advisable to give a puppy any antler chew until their adult teeth have come through entirely and their bones are more mature. Therefore, a minimum age of eight to ten months would be sensible.
Overall, antlers are safe chews for your dog to enjoy with proper supervision. They are a cruelty-free and sustainable chew that will last your dog a long time. Elk and deer antlers are rich in protein and a natural source of many different nutrients for healthy dogs.