Why Your Dog Loves Antlers
“Why would my dog like antlers? They are hard and smell flavorless.”
This is what a lot of dog parents think when they first hear about antlers for dogs. However, dogs LVE chewing on antlers. Still confused? We were.
Here are some quick reasons dogs like antlers:
- Chewing: Antlers are long-lasting and satisfy the dog’s need to chew. Whole antlers last longer than center-cut antlers (cut in half with marrow exposed).
- Highly Nutritious: High Protein, Calcium Phosphorous. Low in fat. Also include plenty of Magnesium, Sodium, Copper, Zinc, and Iron. Left on the ground in the wilderness, mice and other animals consume antlers for their nutritional value.
Elk Example Nutrition:
- Safe: Events of accidents from chewing deer antlers compared to pig bones or cow bones is very low. Still, no dog should be left unattended when chewing antlers. Sharp edges can occur and may need to be sanded down to prevent injury.
- A Variety of Shapes, Sizes, and Texture: No two antlers are alike, your dog will enjoy the variety. Be sure to choose the right size for your dog. When it antler gets small enough to become a choking hazard. It’s time to take it away and get them a new one.
Why people like antlers:
- Humane and sustainable: Animals (Elk and Deer) aren’t harmed for their antlers. They are shed naturally each season, picked up, cleaned and ready for chewing.
- Clean: Elk and Deer antlers don’t smell or stain. Both dogs and people enjoy them.
What is the difference between Deer, Elk and Moose? Deer antlers are dense and hard. Elk antlers are softer and more spongy on the inside. Moose antlers are flat and don’t make for an ideal dog chew.
If the antler has dried out and lost it’s flavor, soak it in broth, smear some canned food or even coconut oil can spark their interest again.
Don’t let your dog chew more than ½ inch per day. Too much at once can cause stomach upset. Always supervise! Antlers have had reports of causing crown fractures and large splinters can break off (although rare) and be hazardous. Other hard items to watch for; bones, hard-pressed rawhide, hard nylon bones, bully sticks. Bully horns from water buffalo can be concerning as they splinter in thick chunks.
Antlers begin as cartilage and grow fast! Faster than any other bone grows. Growing as much as an inch per day during the summer! As antlers start to grow, they are still soft, blood flows through veins and the cartilage antlers are covered in velvet (a thin skin of fur). When fully grown, these antlers begin to harden and the velvet dries and is rubbed off (usually on trees). In the winter the cartilage mineralizes into hard bone and then fall off.
Antlers are amazing natural structures. Scientists are studying them to unlock the secrets of fast cell regeneration and dogs are enjoying them for health and fun!
Written by Jesse a HealthyPets staff member who loves all animals and is a licensed falconer, you can follow him and his animals on his Instagram & Falconry Site.
BONUS: Where do these antlers come from?
Antler Hunting or Shed Hunting can be illegal where you live. Some states have seasons for it. Check your state’s department of fish and game/wildlife. The antlers that are sold through healthypets.com are purchased legally through antler auctions. Many times it is boy scouts that pickup antlers to be auctioned helping with their fundraising as well as a neat, fun activity. Still, the easiest way is to let HealthyPets.com ship them to you.
It’s good to learn about antler chews. I can see why dogs might really like them, since they’re full of nutrients that they can get just from chewing them. My dog likes to chew shoes, so I’d like to try something else.
Not a lot of nutrients in shoes. 👟👞🐶😂
I never thought that my dog can eat antlers and also that they so healthy! Thanks!
So interesting isn’t it!? Who knew they were so healthy. Wishing you and your dog the best! 😀🐶
I was going to buy these for my two but then I read that they can cause teeth to break. Have you heard this?
With every new food item you introduce to your pet, they should always be supervised. Feel free to check out some of the natural dog chews we offer like the Spizzles Elk Antler Dog Chews , that serve as a rich source of calcium and protein.
Antlers make great dog treats but make sure you always buy your antlers for dogs from a reputable retailer. Make sure they are untreated, Grade A, and always buy elk for dogs.
Thank you for sharing this information. I have two pets. And this information will help me a lot. Thanks again this great list.
Glad you like it John. Wishing you and your 2 pets the best!
My dog ate these and has trouble using the bathroom and seems constipated. Is this common?
Hi Veronica, Good question. I would say use in moderation. There isn’t any fiber in antlers. You might want to consider something like Glandex to help things move smoothly. https://www.healthypets.com/glandex-anal-gland-digestive-support.html