Deer antlers for dogs: usefulness, precautions for use and price

What are the benefits of deer antlers for dogs? What are the dangers associated with their use and the precautions to be observed?

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Deer antlers for dogs: what are they?

Antlers are large branched bony organs present on the head of deer. They drop each year at the end of winter and regrow continuously throughout spring and summer.

Collected and cut into pieces, they can be given to the dog as a chew toy. They thus offer a 100% natural alternative to synthetic dog bones (or sinew), which are bleached/sanitized with controversial products. Deer antlers do not undergo any treatment.

Antlers: what's the point?

Deer antlers for dogs serve as a chew toy for our four-legged friends who, in general, are very fond of them. They offer them a long-lasting chewing activity, which has the effect of spending them and occupying them effectively while building their jaw muscles.

By encouraging the dog to chew, deer antlers have a mechanical "tooth brushing" action. They thus contribute to preserving the oral hygiene of the dog and thus prevent the formation of tartar and the oral problems which result from it.

What precautions to take with deer antlers?

Antlers are very hard bones that can in some cases cause dental fractures in dogs, injuries to the oral cavity, perforations and digestive occlusions if dogs swallow large chunks of them "whole round” or protruding pieces.

To prevent the occurrence of these problems, it is imperative to take the following precautions when giving a deer antler to your dog:

  • check that your dog is gnawing on his antler rather than trying to chew it. If your dog seems to be picking on the antler, it's best to take it away (in exchange for a treat),
  • reserve deer antlers for dogs who have their permanent teeth. Do not give to puppies or very small dogs who do not have the teeth and jaws suitable for this type of chew toy,
  • if your dog seems to have difficulty "chopping" his antler, if he abandons it or "walks" it like a toy, it may be that he is much too hard to handle. him. Then prefer longitudinally cut antlers that expose the inside of the antler, which is made of a softer spongy substance that the dog can gnaw more easily.When he's eaten away the entire inside of the antler, throw away what's left and give him a new one,
  • check that the size of the deer antler is well suited to the size of its jaw and that its length is sufficient so that your dog does not risk swallowing it whole. Eliminate gnawed antlers that have become too short or have protruding pieces (which you can also saw or file),
  • give only quality deer antlers to your dog and avoid those that tend to crumble,
  • always keep your dog under supervision when he gnaws his deer antler. Avoid leaving him in your absence,
  • regularly check the condition of your dog's teeth.

Where to find deer antlers for dogs?

Deer antlers can be purchased at pet stores. They are found in whole sections or sawn longitudinally.They are usually available in several sizes, to adapt according to the size of the jaw of your dog. Count about ten euros for a small antler up to about forty euros for a larger piece.

You can also find them directly in nature, in the forest at the end of winter or collect them from hunters. They must then be cut into sections adapted to the size of your dog.

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