Are deer antlers safe for dogs?

Words By Gemma Sheehy

August 29, 2019

Deer Antlers are like all-natural, super-chew magic. Whilst they’ve been around almost forever (well, as long as deer have been) they’ve recently become a staple of pet stores everywhere in a smorgasbord of shapes, sizes, colours and textures. From cap to tip, split or whole, small or large: antlers are a treat with incredible variety.

Being connoisseurs of fine dog treats, we figured it was time to bring the spotlight on this chew of champions. Deer antlers might be the treat your doggo’s been chewing in his dreams. 

Are Antlers safe for dogs to chew?

Deer antlers are completely safe for your dog to chew and will provide a stimulating and nutritious snack they’ll keep coming back to.

Unwrapping an antler for the first time to hand to your doggo can be daunting. Not only can they come in huge and unique shapes, they’re incredibly strong and durable enough to last from months to years in your living room. You may have seen their size alone, and on that note, it’s made you hesitant to go out and snag an antler of your own.

Unlike traditional bones, bully sticks and dental chews, antlers are much slower to be eaten and require a little more tireless work to break down. Which makes them the perfect treat for your dog to sink their teeth into and chew.

Instead of coming apart in pieces, Antlers are gradually ground down by your doggo’s chewing. This makes them particularly low risk for choking, which is perfect for treat-guzzlers. They just might not be a match-made in heaven for highly-aggressive chewers seeking instant gratification.

As with any treat, it’s essential to monitor and supervise your pup to ensure they’re chewing safety. If you’ve got a seriously passionate chewer, Antlers might not be the one. Instead, consider digestible treats like Jerky, kangaroo bones and bully sticks.

Are antlers digestible?

As your dog grinds their deer antler down, they will be treated to bits and pieces of the goodness inside. These small pieces are completely safe for dogs to eat and are completely digestible. They even pack their own nutritional punch.

Antlers are a healthy and stimulating treat for your dog to sink their teeth into. But like any treat, it’s important to know when it’s time to go.

If the antler breaks down to a size small enough your dog might attempt to swallow it, it’s time to replace. This will depend on the size of your dog and how long they’ve had the antler for. But your doggo needn’t despair at the loss of their favourite chew – it just means it’s time to get a fresh new treat!

Can I give my puppy an antler?

We wouldn’t advise giving a puppy a tough chew like an antler if they’re just beginning the teething process.

At around two weeks of age, the puppy’s teeth – sometimes referred to as ‘milk teeth’ – begin to emerge. These will continue to grow in until the pup is eight-weeks old. Puppy teeth are considered to be deciduous teeth as they are only temporary and are designed to eventually make way for permanent adult-doggo-teeth. This mean, while they bite everything every in their site, the best treats for puppies keep them occupied as well as ease their teething ache.

The antler is just too tough at that youthful age.

Once your puppy is nearing the six-month age period, you should try introducing them to antlers. The solid shape and structure of antlers can aid in gently encouraging puppy teeth to vacate, giving room for grown-up pearly whites to sprout. Just like with adult dogs, supervision is vital when treating with antlers. 

But if your puppy is already showing signs of having an over-the-top chewing style, there might be more appropriate treats that carry less risk of cracking puppy canines.

If your puppy just can’t go without antlers the safest option is smaller. The split varieties that require less grunt work to get to the good stuff – and you can stuff ’em with softer, denser chews to occupy them for longer!

What are the benefits of antlers?

Long-lasting

When we say Antlers can last from months to years we’re not kidding. Depending on how your dog chews, you can consider the Antler a household staple – they’ll see you through Christmases and Birthdays (and probably last longer than our last housemate did). This means virtually endless hours of mental and physical stimulation that keeps their brain – and their teeth – far too occupied to feast on your drywall. 

Dental hygiene 

Need we go on about the benefits of keeping your doggo’s teeth clean and free of tartar? Chowing down on an Antler for just thirty minutes a day can reduce the instances of plaque by a staggering 70 percent – meaning you might just be able to swap out the price of a lavish dental cleaning for a single long-lasting Antler instead.

Hypoallergenic

As a novel protein not commonly found in traditional pet foods and treats, Antlers are seriously low-allergenic for the more sensitive types. Venison meat is a commonly recommended protein for dog’s undergoing an elimination diet, triggering less inflammation and reducing the probability of eliciting an allergic reaction.

Odour-free

Antlers are one of the very few natural treats that are virtually free of odour, staining and residue. A nice change from most treats that aren’t always kind to human senses! So, no need to hide these away in a separate, smell-proof room. With Antlers, you can welcome your doggo with the chew onto your pristine velvet couch without needing an emergency steam-cleaning straight after.

Where do WAG antlers come from?

You know that WAG have got a thing for ethically-farmed and mindfully-sourced ingredients

Straight from the temperate wilderness of New Zealand, deer antlers are naturally shed in the wild by deer as mating season draws to a close and testosterone levels dramatically decline. If they’re not diligently gathered by hunters, they’re by-products of the venison trade – which is where we step in (because we never let a good thing go to waste). 

Once the antlers are gathered, ripe and waiting in our warehouses we start our unique dehydration processes. They’re heat-treated at 72C to ensure total sterility for safe chewing, cut down into your favourite sizes (or left whole!) and wrapped up in a label. 

Have we talked the antlers off your head? 

A seriously unique and invaluable chew, deer antlers need to become a staple of dog treat stashes everywhere. They’re an all-natural treat that just keeps giving – they are the answer to a variety of chewing-woes!  After the very first bite, your doggo will wonder where they’ve been all their life.

Find the perfect deer antler treat to get your doggo drooling here.

Author

Gemma Sheehy

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them at WAG she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.