Antlers are not only used as trophies but they have been used in many cultures throughout history. They were considered to be magical objects that could bring good luck or bad luck depending on their position. Some believe that it was the teeth of a white stag which brought prosperity and wealth to the owner. Others say that it brings misfortune when eaten by humans because the teeth contain poisonous substances such as arsenic, lead, mercury, etc..
In some cultures antlers were believed to protect against evil spirits. Many cultures use them as decoration and they are even used in some religious ceremonies.
There are several types of antlers available today, but there is no single type that is universally accepted as being “safe” for chewing on. There are also different opinions about what constitutes a safe chew toy for dogs.
Antlers For Dogs: Are Deer Antlers Safe For Dogs To Chew On?
The following information is based on scientific research and is accurate at the time of publication. However, veterinary medicine changes rapidly, so your veterinarian always recommends checking with him or her before making any major dietary changes. Always consult your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns.
Dogs do not usually need to chew on antlers; however, certain breeds like Basset Hounds may benefit from chewing on small pieces of antler occasionally to keep them fit and strong.
Antlers are one of the most dense and durable sources of calcium and minerals. They also contain a small amount of Vitamin C. If your dog is chewing on an antler, he will be able to taste a small amount of minerals, but it isn’t enough to provide any real nutrition.
If your dog swallows large pieces of antler, it can become a choking hazard or block his intestines. Even if the antler does not cause physical harm, he can still develop problems from eating something he shouldn’t. Always supervise your dog when he is chewing on an antler to make sure he does not swallow any pieces.
Benefits of Other Chews
Most dogs benefit more from dog chews that are specifically designed to clean their teeth and gums. These dog chews also provide benefits that antlers do not–they can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which leaves your dog’s teeth much healthier. Some dog chews are also rich in chemicals that help fight the buildup of plaque and tartar.
Best Antler Alternatives For Dogs
Antlers are not the only chew toys on the market. Here are some of the best antler alternatives for your dog. Remember, NEVER give your dog cooked bones of any kind because they will splinter and cause injury to your dog’s digestive system.
1) Elk Antlers: The Best Alternative To Deer Antlers–These antlers are very similar to deer antlers, except they are less brittle and more dense.
2) Boar Tusks: Less Likely To Splinter–These large teeth will satisfy your dog’s urge to chew without the risk of splintering or breaking off into sharp pieces.
3) Sterilized Bone: Effective Chew Toy–Sterilized bones are very durable and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.
These bones are boiled until sterile and covered with a shell, protecting your dog from being cut by sharp edges.
4) Nylabones: Lasting Chew Toy–These large, durable chews exercise your dog’s gums and teeth while also removing plaque and tartar.
They come in a wide range of flavors that make them enjoyable for most dogs.
5) Antlerz: For The Most Fussy Chewers–Antlerz are the next best thing to antlers for those picky dogs that just won’t settle for anything else.
They come in a range of sizes and shapes, and some even have a roast flavor added to them.
6) Kong: For The Smartest And Most Stubborn Chewers–Kongs are very durable and can be filled with all kinds of treats and kibbles to keep your dog busy for hours.
They come in a variety of sizes and colors.
As with any chew toy, make sure you monitor your dog while they are chewing on any of these toys. If you see any of the following, take the toy away and do not allow your dog to play with it anymore.
1) A large crack or hole appears in the toy.
2) The toy starts breaking into two separate pieces.
3) Seams come undone or become unstitched.
4) Your dog is able to tear off more than a quarter inch wide strip off the toy in one minute (this means the toy is starting to become unsafe).
When you are done playing with the toy, store it in a place that is out of reach from your dog, such as a high shelf or in a closet. If you have a very large breed of dog, such as an English Mastiff, an Irish Wolfhound, or an Old English Sheepdog, make sure to keep these toys even further away from your pet because they can be potentially dangerous and harmful if swallowed.
These toys listed are not only durable but they will also help keep your dog healthy and safe. Always supervise your pet while they are playing with their toys to ensure that they do not bite off large chunks of the toy and swallow them, as this can cause blockages and internal bleeding. If you have any questions about your dog’s behavior or if you notice any abnormalities, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Joint supplements for dogs: The helpful vs. the hype (SJ Wooten – dvm360.com)
- Functional trade-offs in the limb bones of dogs selected for running versus fighting (TJ Kemp, KN Bachus, JA Nairn… – Journal of experimental …, 2005 – jeb.biologists.org)
- Nutrition and preventative oral healthcare treatments for canine and feline patients (C Harrison – The Veterinary Nurse, 2017 – magonlinelibrary.com)
- Pet chew toy assembly (J Bidner – 2006 – Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.)