Most dogs love to chew; it can help to keep their teeth in good condition, relieves anxiety, and keeps them entertained. But can dogs eat antlers? If your dog seems to be able to easily chew through anything you give him, quickly chewing shop bought toys or chews, you may be considering antlers. There are many different types of antlers available; moose, elk, and deer all naturally shed their antlers, and in the wild, dogs would pick these up to chew.
Giving dogs antlers to chew on is slightly controversial, and many vets say that it’s not a good idea as it can cause dental problems. Large breeds of dogs that have strong teeth can handle an antler without any problem. This article will help answer the question, ‘can dogs eat antlers?’ We’ll help you decide whether to give your pet a piece of antler to chew on and tell you about the health benefits this can bring.
Can I give my dog a piece of antler to chew?
Antlers are a healthy, natural chew for dogs. As dogs love to gnaw and chew, a piece of antler makes an excellent treat for your pet. Antlers make a great alternative to manufactured chewy toys or treats as they are 100 percent organic and natural. They don’t contain any substances that are toxic or hazardous to dogs. Antlers are cartilage that grows on the heads of many herbivores such as deer, moose and elk. Over time this hardens, and form’s an antler, which is made of bone. Antlers are as safe for dogs to chew as any other animal bone.
Antlers vary in their hardness, depending on what type of animal they are from. Some antlers are softer than others, making them easier to chew. Elk antlers have become a very popular choice amongst dog owners as they are slightly softer, making them easier to chew than other kinds of antlers.
Not all antlers are the same
There are, however, some problems with antlers; if they are too old, the antler may crack or splinter as your dog chews it. This can cause damage to your pets’ mouth, teeth, and gums and can even pose a choking hazard. Dogs should always be supervised when chewing an antler to ensure that they don’t injure themselves.
You’ll often find antlers for sale in your local pet store or from Amazon. Buying an antlers chew that’s being sold especially for dogs will reduce the likelihood that your pet will experience problems while chewing. Look for an antler chew that has been specifically processed for dogs. It should have been checked for safety.
Don’t give your dog an antler that you’ve found while out walking in the woods. This may be too hard for your pet and could also contain bacteria or contaminants.
When to avoid antlers
It would be best if you didn’t give antler to a puppy who’s teething as this could damage his teeth. Puppies’ milk teeth are softer, so you’ll need to wait until he has his adult teeth before giving him a piece of antler.
Some older dogs may have softer teeth that are more likely to break. If your dog has had dental problems in the past, antler may not be suitable for your pet. You should consult your vet before giving your dog a piece of antler.
Antler is most suitable for dog breeds that have strong teeth and that are able to make quick work of other types of chews. Most medium to large breeds of dogs can chew antlers. If you’re worried antler will be too hard for your pet, you may like to try elk antler, which is slightly softer. Give your dog a piece of antler which is about the size of his head.
Conclusion: Dogs Can Eat Antlers
If you decide to give your dog a piece of antler to chew, ensure that it’s come from a reputable source. Only buy antler that has been processed for dogs as this will mean that the hardness will have been tested, and it will have been cleaned to make it free of bacteria. Never give your dog a piece of antler that you find while out walking.
You should also supervise your dog while he is chewing the antler as this will ensure it doesn’t splinter and injure your dog.