What do deer and elk antlers have in common? They both make tasty, nutritious chews for dogs of all breeds. However, many pet owners find themselves trying to pick out the best antlers for their four-legged friends. Oftentimes, they wonder if whole or split varieties are the better option. Here’s how to determine which type is safest for your pup.
Antlers and Safety
All dogs have the urge to chew, but are antlers safe for dogs? Yes, all types of antlers are safe and healthy treats for pets. When supervised, both split and whole antlers pose no real danger. However, owners should still take precautions.
Any kind of antler can become a choking hazard. As dogs chew down these treats, they get smaller in size. If the animal isn’t careful, the antler could get stuck in its throat. The risk is the same regardless of if the antler is whole or split. It’s best to replace worn-out antlers with fresh ones to prevent choking.
Benefits of Whole Antlers
Some dogs chew more than others. These pups have jaws of steel that can break through almost anything. Owners often struggle to find toys and treats that will last longer than a few minutes. Whole antlers are one of the only chews durable enough to withstand a powerful bite. These antlers won’t splinter or break. They are the ideal option for aggressive chewers.
Whole antlers contain plenty of tasty marrow, but dogs have to work harder to reach it. This challenge will keep the animal occupied and prevent boredom. Antlers come in a range of shapes and sizes so that pet owners can find the perfect match for their beloved pooch.
Benefits of Split Antlers
Not all dogs are powerful chewers. Some breeds have soft bites. These pups still have the urge to chew, but they won’t destroy everything in a single bite. For instance, humans originally bred Labrador Retrievers to fetch hunted game. If the dog bit too hard on a freshly downed bird or fish, it would ruin the meat. Owners taught these working dogs how to be gentle with their jaws, and this soft bite remains a trait today.
Split antlers are an excellent option for soft-mouthed dogs. They are also ideal for senior dogs and those with missing teeth. These chews are cut to expose the bone marrow inside. Dogs can easily lick out this tasty delicacy without needing to break down the antler first. However, split antlers don’t last as long as whole varieties. Owners may find themselves purchasing replacements more frequently.
Health Benefits of All Antlers
Both whole and split antlers are safe for all dogs and highly beneficial. These treats are high in protein and contain plenty of amino acids. They’re also packed with essential nutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium. Since they’re all-natural, owners don’t have to worry about their dog ingesting dangerous chemicals, unwanted dyes, or plastics.
Gum disease is common with dogs, but the proper chews can help prevent it. Antlers make the perfect doggie toothbrushes. As the dog chews, the antler removes plaque and massages the gum tissue. However, aggressive chewers can chip a tooth if left unsupervised.
Which Option Is Best?
All dogs benefit from chewing elk or deer antlers. While both split and whole antlers are perfectly safe, some dogs may prefer one type over the other. Owners of aggressive chewers should opt for whole varieties, while those with older or soft-mouthed dogs may have better results with split antlers. Regardless, expect your dog to enjoy hours of chewing pleasure.