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Antlers for Chewing - Safe for Teeth?

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Do you give your dog(s) antlers to chew on? Are they safe for their teeth? I've heard conflicting information...Great to chew on because they last and they're natural, but they could break teeth.

 

We got about a 5", textured, and tapered one for Callie (8 mo. now) from Pet Supplies Plus. The label and associate who recommended it claimed it is naturally shed, parasite free, and not sprayed or altered with any chemicals. She really enjoyed it for about 5 minutes but we traded her for something else. She's a hard, vigorous chewer and I'm scared that she'll crack one of her teeth. She has a full mouth of adult teeth now, but the antlers just seem so hard.


She goes through bully sticks in minutes and rawhide makes her sick, even in small quantities. She also destroys Nylabones (even the super duper ones) so we regularly buy new ones to swap in. The only toys that last are the textured, colorful Nylabone dinosaurs and even on those we have to trim off the sharp bits often.

 

Thoughts? Any healthy alternatives that you recommend?

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I have a terrier mix who ended up with a slab fracture of one of his molars from chewing on an antler - one $300 extraction later he was fine, but I don't give my dogs antlers or weight-bearing bones anymore.

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I know a lot of people use them successfully.... But I had a dog break a tooth on one, too.

 

My brother gives them to his GSD, and he seems strong enough to deal with them safely... But for my small guys (a bc and a Sheltie mix), I avoid antlers.

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I had one of my border collies and my chihuahua both got slab fractures from chewing on antlers. The border collies are very enthusiastic chewers and the chihuahua is pretty darn enthusiastic as well. I have never given them again after that time as it was 2 extractions of otherwise healthy teeth which were not cheap!

 

Mine do well on occasionally given raw bones and occasional rawhide, but I still closely monitor all chewing!

 

My fiance makes homemade paneer (cheese) so I think I'm going to experiment and try to make my own Himalayan chews.

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My border collie and hound/pinsher/terrier whatever mix, they both LOVE elk antlers. I pick fresh ones up regularly at Flyball tournaments. They are good chew items in that the whittle down very slow to a clean core. The dogs like choosing what size of the remaining core antlers they want to relax with on any particular evening. They have not had any teeth issues with them, but they are both fairly gentle with thier chewing.

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Here is Cowboy enjoying a fresh antler in his hotel one evening between a two day flyball event.

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I would not give them to a heavy chewer, perhaps a ram or buffalo horn would be a better option for heavy chewers as they tend to have a little more give. They do still last a long time, but they soften more like hooves when chewed on.

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I give all my dogs, border collies and small dogs both, antlers that I have found myself, and have not had any problems with them. I am concerned to hear that some dogs have cracked a tooth on them, but wonder if that might have happened no matter what they were chewing on(?)

I tried a bison horn once and it made them all sick....so be careful with those.

 

What is a Himalayan chew?

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Cass - I will have to try to find one of the softer alternatives you mentioned. Thank you!

D'Elle - It sounds that it's a type of hardened cheese that's made in a specific region and is quite expensive. I haven't seen any around in the typical pet stores, although maybe they're not commonly sold at mass retailers.

 

Also, D'Elle - Are Jester and Kit siblings? I know many BCs have similar characteristics, but those two seem really, really similar in their markings!

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My current dogs are safe chewing antlers, but don't like them. My old Golden/Aussie was always trying to bite chunks off of everything and couldn't have antlers, knuckle bones, or Nylabones.

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Also, D'Elle - Are Jester and Kit siblings? I know many BCs have similar characteristics, but those two seem really, really similar in their markings!

Nope, they are not related, although I am often asked that question. Kit is about a year younger than Jes. Jester came from BC Rescue in southern CA, and I got Kit here in AZ from my vet, who had confiscated him from her owner after she had been badly torn up for the third time by other dogs in the house where she lived.

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Tommy had a slab fracture from chewing on just a plain beef raw bone. I think they can break teeth on any bone.

 

Joey has started to get tartar on his teeth and I am trying to find something safe for him to chew on. I'm afraid of bones even though he seems to be able to chew on just about anything.

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Tommy had a slab fracture from chewing on just a plain beef raw bone. I think they can break teeth on any bone.

 

It depends on the bone. Beef bones -- especially weight bearing bones which is what most people give to their dogs -- are too hard for dogs. Even beef ribs are too hard for many dogs.

 

Dogs should be given bones that are soft enough to be chewed through, often referred to as edible bones. I even steer clear of weight bearing bones from deer and other ungulates, though a lot of people do feed them successfully. In the case of these smaller ungulate bones (especially deer and even turkey [though they're not ungulates]) the issue for me is how they splinter. If raw they should be digestible, but I just don't like the sharp points they break into.

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GentleLake - Any suggestions for bones that are good? I think I'm going to err on the side of dental safety and avoid the antlers, but I know Callie really enjoys gnawing on things and she needs something hardy that isn't too easy (it also keeps her out of trouble because otherwise her teeth find our stuff if she doesn't have her own chews). Where do you get yours?

 

What do you think about ordering edible dog items on Amazon? I'm always a little hesitant to buy from someplace other than a mass retailer or well-known local place because it makes me feel like there is a bigger chance of getting something that's bad quality or sourced from somewhere unsafe.

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I usually offer the split antlers that start big and are cut in half so the spongy textured insides are available, and they are less likely to cause broken teeth. Then again, none of my dogs are very large or power chewers, so YMMV.

 

elk-antler-chews-large-splits-for-dogs-2

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