I've hear a lot of buzz about elk and deer antler dog treats as the latest and greatest for dogs that love to chew, but some of the praise seems almost too good to be true. Do they last as long as everyone says? Where do they come from? Are they actually safe? I contacted Doggie Diva Dog Boutique for more info. Antlers are their number one seller, so they sent me a pair to test out with Lyger and Tahlula. We've had them for about 3 weeks now, so here's what our test hounds found:
How long do they last?
Doggie Diva says they can last up to 6 months-seems like we're right on target. One of the two test antlers probably gets chewed for about three hours per day, by very tough chewers, and is only just now starting to show signs of wear.
Do they stink?
No! They don't leave residue, they don't smell, and they don't stain my dogs fur or beds. I'll never put up with the stinky hooves that we used to buy again! Phew!
Do they kill the animal to get the antlers?
Not at all! Antlers are naturally shed in the wild, and collected right off the ground. They're eco-friendly, 100% organic and humane.
Yes, unlike rawhides, toys or other bones, antlers rarely splinter or break off. Just be sure to buy the right size chunk of antler for your dog. (We got medium pieces, when Tahlula might have needed a large-she did get 2 small bits off, but they were soft and small, so would not have caused her any harm.) But, if you buy from Doggie Diva, they'll consult with you to make sure you get the appropriate size.
Besides, the chewing is good for your pet's teeth, prevents boredom and inappropriate chewing. Deer Antler velvet even has health benefits, helping with things like arthritis and muscle recovery.
Are they worth it?
I would say so. Even buying a multi-pack of rawhides costs at least $8, and only lasts a few hours a piece-at most a few days or so. One medium antler is $15, but is lasting for months, without any of the icky, slimy, chunky mess of rawhides or other chews.
Most importantly: Do dogs like them?
Yes! Lyger has his antler with him at all times. If he doesn't have it, Tahlula does. Because we're testing two samples, I see that my dogs prefer the lumpy base end piece, to the smooth point piece. But, even the piece that they like less gets carried around as Lyger's new favorite retrievable toy. He brings it to me when we come in, poking out of one side of his face, so he looks like a 1-tusked warthog. We let a couple of other office dogs try them too, and they were a hit on all accounts.
What's better still, is that my dogs do not guard these as prized possessions, like they do real bones or rawhides. I think antlers might be a good solution for a dog that is overly possessive of certain treats or chews.