Are Deer Antlers For Dogs A Good Chew Toy?

Over the past couple years we’ve been hearing rave reviews about deer antlers for dogs.  If you have Labrador Retrievers in your house then you probably run into some of the same issues we do with Dublin, our yellow lab, and Stetson, our black lab.  Those two boys just love to chew up their dog toys, treats, chews, rawhides…you name it, they chew it.  In fact, Stetson can chew up a giant pressed rawhide bone in less than 5 minutes!  That’s the same bone that used to take Dublin 2 weeks to polish off (now it takes him about a half hour).  Some of the things we’ve heard about these wonderful antler dog chews are:

  • “They are great for dogs who love to chew because they last for a very long time.”
  • “You can purchase them in different sizes depending on the size of your dog.”
  • “They don’t stink really bad like the bully sticks you get from the store.”
Deer Antlers For Dogs
Deer Antlers For Dogs

If you’d like to read more information about deer antlers for dogs then check out this affiliate link  Amazon.com (affiliate link).  Amazon readers give mostly good reviews.  Check out the antler dog chew reviews (affiliate link).

So, are antlers for dogs safe?  We recently received an email from our Guide Dog group that we wanted to share with our readers.  Here’s what they had to say about deer antlers for dogs.

Deer Antlers For Dogs

We are having an increase in the instances of dogs (puppies and adults) with acute diarrhea. All test 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, antler is 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, these are the same chew toys that are 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.

Are Deer Antlers For Dogs A Good Chew Toy?  Obviously we can no longer use deer antlers as a chew toy/supplement for our guide dog puppies in training, but then again we never had the chance to use them in the first place.  By the way, I’m glad I did not have to experience acute diarrhea with my pups.  The fear of all 3 of my dogs getting diarrhea is enough to make me avoid purchasing deer antler chews for my dogs.

So I guess we’ll just stick to the Sterile bones, Nylabones and the occasional rawhide.  Lucky for us Dublin (and now Apache) loves the Nylabones and Sterile Bones so we rarely give them any other kind of dog chews.

Are current favorite dog chew toys are KONG Extreme Dog Toy and Nylabone Dura Chew Wishbone Chew Toy (affiliate links).  The KONG Dog Toy has been pretty much indestructible while the Nylabone Wishbone gets a bit jagged when our dogs chew on it, but has remained in one piece…just don’t let your dog drop it on your bare foot…OUCH!

Do you have a destructive dog that loves to chew?  What are your favorite dog chew toys?  Have you tried deer antlers for dogs?  How about elk antlers for dogs?  We’d love to hear about your experiences so tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Comments

  1. Debra says

    wspuppyeyes on etsy.com is awesome and cheapest I have seen. Our Dog loves all antlers and we have not had any issue.

    • B Bird says

      I bought some deer antlers for my Dandie Dinmonts and Westie, a few weeks ago. They love them. Keeps them busy for ages. Cleans their teeth beautifully, with no ill effects. However
      they have such strong jaws that they can chew them down , so I remove them when they get to the stage where they could be swallowed !

        • Loves Dogs says

          Our family hunts so have our own antlers. Have elk, deer and moose. Our dogs love them all and have no problems with them splintering. Two dogs had teeth that really needed to be cleaned. Now after about three weeks of chewing on these antler pieces they are shiny and clean looking. Our new puppy loves them and keeps him busy. He is a lab and into everything!

  2. Ian says

    Have several dogs and friends with dogs as well. We are hunters so the whitetail antlers are quite abundant. As far as the antlers for dogs, we saw of any of the tines that may easily break, and then turn them loose. My dogs have sensitive stomachs when it comes to processed chews, such as rawhides, but the antler has not shown any negative effects on any dogs that I know of. They will last from teething through adult if you get the right base diameter.

  3. Russell Grayson says

    I discovered that dogs LOVE antlers about 40 years ago when my 3yr/old Alaskan Malamute discovered my Whitetail rattle-in rack in the back of my jeep. My Malamutes do NOT do well on any carbohydrate-saturated commercial dog food–even the high-end, expensive “natural” kibbles. I get nothing but diarrhea or loose stools on them. So I feed them a raw diet only, and never have a problem. They also get the “trots” from the edible Nylabones, even though they adore them–so I remembered the antlers that my late Mal, Yukon, had discovered, and I went with Elk antler for my new little guy with the carb-hating gut. Perfect! Endless hours of gnawing with a happy pup. Rather than spens a fortune on fragments of antler, I get a nice 3-foot-long shed Elk antler, cut it into manageable lengths and sand the sharp edges, and Jake has antler chews for the year. One antler gives Jake a year’s worth of chews, and my friends’ pit bulls get a few antler treats as well for Xmas gifts. Great source of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium/magnesium as well as chewy entertainment!

  4. Jacqui says

    My 8 month Golden Retriever is mad for his deer antler. He would chew it for hours on end if ever I let him. He also loves to carry it around the house and drop it on to the tiled floors enjoying the noise it makes.!! However I do have to seriously limit the time he spends with it as it definately makes his stools much looser.

  5. Lori says

    I just bought a split elk antler at Petsmart for my Jack Russell/Beagle, Gracie, who is 6 or 7 years old (I’m not the original owner). She enjoyed it for a bit but didn’t seem all that into it. Then when I picked it up, it felt like some marrow was coming loose. She then proceeded to have diarrhea all night with my having to take her outside 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night. I finally closed her up in my bathroom since it’s so much easier to clean up if she were to have an episode inside the house. I think it’s out of her system now, but if anyone has had similar occurrences, I would love some feedback. Thanks.

  6. barry amerault says

    You’ve put yourself in the position of authority by responding to the “deer antler” question. In doing so you go on to comment on some of your dogs chewables, including “rawhide bones”, which in fact are not bones at all! They are made from a treated animal hide, loaded with toxins that all combine to make a substance that is mostly undigestable, but potentially poisonous to your dog http://thebark.com/content/dangers-rawhide-dog-chew-toys.
    The issue here isn’t the suitability of deer antlers for dogs, it’s the assumption that you are knowledgable about dog products. I’m afraid that, based on your misinformation on rawhide chew products, you’re not in a position to be doling out information. Nothing personal just remember who your audience is, and what the consequences could be!

    • Lizzy says

      Our vizsla recently started vomiting and having diarrhea. We thought it was a parasite/worm and took him to the vet. Everything came back normal. Then we thought, maybe it’s the marrow for the antler. He has chewed closer to the marrow on one of his antlers For the past two months he has loved chewing it but I think we hit our breaking point. Bottom line: Antlers are great for a little while but when you get too close to the marrow it’s time to pitch it.

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