Well, it was Ginger and Angel's birthday so I bought them 6 elk antlers because Ginger recently started showing interest in them at the pet stores. These were from a hunter (but natural shed so win-win) so they weren't processed or bleached or anything like that. Just pure, aged antlers. I cut one in half and this is the one that I gave them.
Based on our experience, these are not safe and I took away the one I gave them and won't give them the others.
They splintered. They broke. They scraped her gums and made them bleed. And they're hard enough to break teeth. I took some pictures. Angel didn't manage to make any dents in her's but she's only just shy of 11 lbs. Ginger is 42 lbs and unless she's got some super poodle jaws, this is what I could expect from giving any larger dog antlers.
The first picture compares the two halves and shows some of what Ginger managed to break off and consume. This is a relatively short time. They chewed on them for less than an hour, combined time before enough was enough and I took them away.
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Did you split them lengthways? If so, you shouldn't do that with any bones or antlers because they will be dangerous then.
Mine and my daughter's dogs both love antlers and have never had any problem with them. I just leave them to it and then take them away once I feel they've become to small (after about 3 months in our cases).
Interesting you said that, since elk antlers are all the rage......basically meaning the pet stores are saying they are best, etc. Well, I looked at them and didn't think they'd be safe. And, the sure sign was when I asked Mr. Sunny, "hmmm, would you like one of these?" and he sniffed and looked totally uninterested. So, I never tried them. Thanks for posting --- could have been really bad.
If I may make a suggestion. That antler looks REALLY (colour/consistency) weird. I am a hunter, and that doesn't look like a freshly shed antler, or one that's even been hacked off.
An antler that's in good shape and hasn't been processed, or decaying in the woods for a long time is going to hold up to dog chewing.
We have been giving our dogs shed, and un-shed antlers for over 40 years (since before I was born lol!) and we haven't had a single splinter or anything. We also didn't hew them in half like that though, but we could cut them into manageable sizes.
Last edited by MaryLynn; 11-10-2012 at 07:18 AM.
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I just about give up on being comfortable with what is, and isn't, safe for a dog to chew! Based on experience, I am anti hard Nylabones; two friends' dogs broke teeth gnawing on those. I used to love giving my dog marrow bones, then learned some owners and vets alike fine those hazardous to teeth as well. I've twice bought Chagall an antler during his three year lifetime and he's shown no interest whatsoever in them so I re-gifted them. Then I got to thinking if the marrow bones are NG, how could antlers be otherwise?? I landed on giving him no-odor bullysticks (his favorite thing on the planet, besides me!) and Himalayan chews. His teeth are sparkly white and intact, he likes to gnaw on those things and I don't have any gnawing worries about either.
Just be nice.
Cabryn Chagall, CGC
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I have been having a hard time finding something I thought was safe for my big puppy to chew. I discovered cow hoofs recently. He seems to love them and we have several strewn around the house. He's chewing on one right now. I hope hoofs are okay!
I took the nylabones away after CM's dog cracked a large tooth on one. I took away the beef tendons after the dogs vomited chunks of them up twice in a row. I do give small rawhides, but they last about 15 minutes. The hoofs last forever, it seems.
I have give antlers and know lots of people that do the same without issue. Those don't look right to me. They always just gradually wear down with never a hint of a splinter. I am so glad you noticed the issue with these before your dogs got hurt. For swizzle it is just one more chewie in the rotation. I also give bullies, cow trachea, and dried chicken feet. I have not tried cow hooves because it is weight bearing. It is probably ok because it is keratin not bone. I will check with my vet on my next visit.
The deer antlers I get don't look anything like the OP's photo and haven't caused any of my dogs any damage. The love them! I think a proper elk antler should be the same as a deer antler, except bigger, at least the ones I've seen in the stores are.
Beth, mom to adopted rescues: Maddie (malti-poo/westie, age 6?), Sunny (cream toy poodle, age 9), and Jackson (boxer, age 8?)