About Antlers for Dogs
Dogs have been chewing on antlers probably as long as they have both existed, but only recently have city-dogs been able to get their teeth on them. Pet Expertise introduced antlers for dogs, and they remain one of our biggest sellers to this day. We get tons of wonderful feedback from happy dog owners so we figured we'd share a bit of what we have learned about them. Below we will briefly explain antler biology, where we source our deer antlers for dogs, why they make great dog chews, how to keep your dog safe with his/her antler chew, and how to get the most out of your antler dog chews.
BIOLOGY OF THE ANTLER CHEW
Antlers are unique to the deer family and are composed of a bone-like material that regenerates each year and branches out. They grow on the heads of more than sixty kinds of deer, including moose, reindeer, caribou, and elk. Antlers grow only on males, who use them as weapons to fight other males for leadership or possession of a mate. The only exception is female caribou, which also grow antlers. Antlers for dogs generally come from deer and elk. Chews from moose antlers are also available, but they are typically so flat that they are not ideal for dogs.
Deer grow a new pair of antlers each year from the time they are a year old. Antlers begin as layers of cartilage that slowly mineralize into bone. They are soft and easily damaged until they completely mineralize in late summer. Antlers grow very quickly - faster than any other kind of bone - up to one inch per day during the summer! As they get larger, they begin to branch out and are covered with a thin skin of fine fur called velvet (antlers for dogs that contain velvet are even more nutritious). At this time, the blood that flows to the antlers stops causing them to harden. When the antlers have reached their full growth, the protective velvet covering dries, and the deer will eventually rub the velvet off on trees. Finally, in the winter, the antlers fall off, but with each successive year's growth, the antlers branch into more points until the deer has reached his prime.
The hardened antlers are composed of calcium, phosphorus, and as much as 50% water. Antlers are truly amazing structures. Biologists are studying antlers in hopes of learning the secrets of fast cell growth, which may unlock cures to various forms of cancer.
ANTLERS FOR DOGS FROM PET EXPERTISE
The deer antlers for dogs from Pet Expertise come to your four-legged children by way of either natural shedding or from deer and elk that have been hunted by sport hunters. These are deer that have lived full lives in the wild and are ethically hunted according to regulations. In other words, the animals are not hunted solely for their antlers. We have found that dogs prefer chewing antlers that are fresh and durable, not bright white and brittle.
Antlers vary in color from grayish beige to almost white. The shape can be straight or branched, thick or thin. These variations can sometimes be seen in your dog’s antler chews. In the center of the antler is a softer portion that is tastier to dogs and is similar to bone marrow. Some antlers are softer than others and you may notice that your dog chews one antler faster than another. This variation in antlers for dogs makes it ideal to give your dog several, as they will all be a little different than the last.
We compared our Antlers to Petco, PetSmart, and Amazon. As we expected, our deer antlers for dogs are superior to our competitors. Check out how we stacked up here.
WHY GIVE YOUR DOG ANTLER CHEWS?
Antlers make excellent dog chews because they are made of bony material. That means they are hard, long-lasting, don’t smell or stain, and keep your dog interested. They are similar in hardness to a Nylabone but tastier and healthier. Not all dogs will love chewing every antler. Older and pickier dogs are generally not as interested in chewing antlers for dogs unless it happens to be a really excellent quality one (humans usually can’t tell the difference). The dogs that appreciate chewing antlers the most are typically younger dogs that just love to chew. Chewing antlers is very good for dogs in many ways. It helps keep their teeth clean, expends energy, keeps dogs out of trouble and out from underfoot. Deer antlers for dogs are also full of nutrients such as calcium.
SUPERVISE YOUR PET
Like any dog chew, you do need to practice some caution when allowing your dog to chew on an antler. The main concerns are breaking a tooth or choking on a small piece. To prevent these things from happening, be sure to supervise your dog's antler chewing. Do not allow him to bear down forcefully with his molars on the antler chew and do not allow him to chew on a piece that is of a size he could choke on. Dogs do need to chew and since every chew has its dangers, it is important to be as careful as you can while still allowing your dog to chew. What you want to see is that the dog chews the antler and wears it down slowly. Quality antlers will last your dog several weeks or months, but more on that later.
WHY PURCHASE ANTLERS FOR DOGS FROM PET EXPERTISE?
You can feel good about giving your dog an antler chew from Pet Expertise. Our deer antlers for dogs only come from healthy, free-ranging deer that lived full, natural lives and have been sourced ethically. Our antler dog chews are free of packaging and processing. They are made in the USA. Pet Expertise guarantees that your dog will love their antlers or you can send it back to us for a full refund (unchewed antlers only, please!). We have the best selection of antlers, lowest prices, and low shipping charges.
Recently, as antlers for dogs have grown in popularity, antlers are getting more scarce. Antler chew sellers are popping up all over and hoping to trick consumers by selling cheaper, lower-grade antlers to increase profit. Beware of these antlers which are old, brittle, and tend to crack and splinter when chewed. I was even told by one of these sellers, "It doesn't matter, dogs are indestructible!” Pet Expertise does not share that sentiment and continues to strive to find the highest quality deer antlers for dogs — it makes a much safer and enjoyable chew. We purchase fresh, grade-A antlers from American sources only. They are then carefully cleaned and cut for your dogs to enjoy safely.
The problem with split antlers: In the past, we have considered selling split antlers for dogs that prefer to have easier access to the inner marrow. The problem with this is that it makes the antler unstable, more prone to cracking or splitting, and generally riskier to the safety of dogs. Therefore, we are uncomfortable selling products that we cannot guarantee are safe, so you will not find split antler dog chews at Pet Expertise for this reason.
TIPS FOR USING DOG ANTLERS FROM PET EXPERTISE
Antlers make wonderful chews for dogs, but just like any dog chew, it is important to be careful and supervise your dog. Here are a few tips to help your dog to enjoy deer antlers for dogs safely:
- Make sure the antlers for your dogs are large enough so that there is no possibility that they could choke. If you find that the antler chews you have purchased are not large enough for your dog, you can return them to us.
- Before giving your dog the antler chew, check it for any possible sharp edges that could hurt your dog. If you happen to find any, you can easily remove them by rubbing the jagged edge against concrete or sandpaper.
- Watch your dog while he/she chews at least the first few times after giving your dog new antler chews.
- After receiving new antlers for dogs, make sure to clean them thoroughly by using non-toxic soap and rinsing well in warm water prior to giving it to your dog.
- Make sure your dog is gnawing on the antler rather than trying to break it or chew in half. If he/she is bearing down too hard on the antler, it is best to take it away (don't forget to give him a treat for giving it up), since chewing too hard could damage their teeth.
- Do not allow your dog to chew more than an inch of the antler per day.
- Take the antler chew away from your dog once it gets worn down to a small size. When antlers for dogs get to this point, they could become a choking hazard to your dog.
- If your dog likes the antler so much that he guards it from you, you can teach them to drop the antler for a treat. If you have multiple dogs that tend to fight over their antlers, make sure to give the chews to them when the dogs are separated.
- If your pup isn't interested in deer antlers for dogs, try rubbing it with sandpaper or a nail file to smooth it down. If your dog still isn't interested in the antler, you could try rubbing it with a small amount of peanut butter or soaking it overnight in cold, refrigerated water to make it more appealing.