Antlers: For Your Dog (not Ray Lewis)


As Baltimore Ravens linebacker, Ray Lewis, is preparing for this weekend’s Superbowl match up against the 49ers, he is also having to contend with allegations that he used a banned substance, known as deer antler spray.  Ray is standing firm that those are false claims.  So although Wagbrag is against using deer antlers as a banned drug, we do however, give 2 thumbs up for antlers as a chew alternative for dogs.

If you search for information on the web about dogs and bones, you’ll find that most veterinarians are against giving chew bones and yellow labrador chewing on an antlerraw hides to dogs.  In fact, the FDA has gone as far as to say that bones are dangerous for your dog.  They list numerous resulting injuries from broken teeth, to the bone getting stuck in the throat and stomach, to intestinal damage from broken and sharp bone fragments.  Some of these injuries are not just costly to treat, they can be deadly.

However, just saying “no more bones” for your dog leaves many pet parents in a dilemma.  Many dogs have a high desire to chew.  Dogs may chew for several reasons.  For puppies, chewing helps relieve teething pain.  Adult dogs may chew out of boredom, or to relieve anxiety. But many chew because it’s enjoyable and it’s believed to release endorphins.

One satisfying chew alternative to traditional raw hides and marrow bones may be deer and elk antlers.  A recent article in Whole Dog Journal highlighted that although antlers are similar to bones, they are not quite as hard and are less likely to break teeth.  Antlers are composed of a bone-like tissue and contain marrow, therefore many dogs fine them desirable.  And Wagbrag loves the fact that deer and elk are not harmed in the collecting of their antlers.  They shed their antlers annually.

We’ve heard that some dogs, after time, tend to loose interest in chewing on the antlers.  Soaking the antler in chicken broth can help make it more desirable.  Or just dab on a little bit of peanut butter, which may get your dog interested again as well.

Regardless, as with any type of chew toy or object, you need to closely monitor your dog.  Take away any pieces that break off, which could be swallowed. Remove the antler when it gets chewed down to a small size to prevent swallowing and watch for sharp points on the end. Happy and safe chewing!

Does your dog chew on antlers?

WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.