Whether your pet is a puppy or adult, dogs love to chew. It is a natural and beneficial behaviour but, despite the benefits, misplaced chewing is often a source of frustration for dog owners.
Deer antlers are a great natural solution which encourages positive chewing behaviour. However, it is important to be armed with the right information to determine whether they are right for your pup.
What is a Deer Antler?
Deer antlers are bony structures that protrude from the head of the deer. Growing at a rapid 2.5cm per day, they are shed and regrown each year becoming larger and stronger as a deer matures. This is a natural process and harmless to the animal.
"Antlers are a great natural choice which encourage positive chewing behaviour"
Are deer antlers right for your dog?
Deer antlers will outlast most other natural and manufactured chew products. Unlike bones, antlers do not splinter, chip or peel. Designed to protect and withstand competing stags, they are naturally strong and durable. As your dog chews the antlers they will slowly wear down, this makes them suitable for dogs of all types.
It is important however to monitor your dog's chew sessions. As a rule of thumb, make sure you limit your dog to chew up to 1cm per day. This will help prevent over chewing and limit the potential for an upset stomach from protein intake.
Tip... whole antlers last longer than split antlers. The exposed marrow of split deer antlers is softer and a good alternative if you are concerned about hardness.
Dogs love them
The unique smell, nutritional richness, taste and texture of deer antlers naturally attract dogs. In instances where your pet may not show much interest, it is a good idea to provide encouragement by using a food they do love. Be it a smear of peanut butter or tuna, once your dog has the taste for the antler they will be chewing in no time.
Antlers provide a digestible source of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. Under a microscope, the structure of antlers is very similar to bones as is the chemical composition. Just like skeletal bones, calcium is the primary element in red deer antlers. This is beneficial for your dog's bone growth and health. On average the chemical composition* of antlers includes the following:
Chewing naturally reduces both plaque and tartar build up on your dog's teeth. Just like a toothbrush, deer antlers are a great preventative measure for gum disease. Remember to limit the amount of chew time as excessive chewing may lead to dental problems or muscular tightness in the jaw.
Deer antlers do not have a discernable odour to humans. Split antlers may have a slight smell attributed to the exposed marrow. Your dog's superior sense of smell (up to 100,000x better than humans) means it will be attracted whilst you remain blissfully unaware.
Natural and sustainable
Deer antlers are naturally occurring. They are shed and regrown each year making them an excellent sustainable dog chew product. Naturally shed antlers do not contain any unnatural substances such as preservatives, chemicals or additives so you can be confident your pup is chewing on quality.
Tip... when searching for an antler it is a good idea to check the product details to ensure they are naturally shed.
Deer antlers are a great option to promote positive chewing behaviour. They are a natural product, packed full of nutritional benefits and importantly loved by dogs.
PuppyGoGo.com have a great range of 100% Australian deer antlers which are naturally shed, collected, cleaned and cut to size. We also offer a range of sizes to cater to all pet needs.
If your dog loves to chew then antlers are for you!
*Reference: Dobrowolska, A. 2002, 'Chemical composition of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) antlers, with a particular reference to the toxic metal contents', European Journal of Wildlife Research, vol. 48, Suppl. 1, pp. 148–155.