If you’re looking for an all-natural, non-GMO, preservative-free treat for your dog, look no further than elk antlers chews.
Yes, you read that right: chews made out of elk antlers.
It sounds kind of crazy right?
Believe it or not, elk antlers can serve as fantastic dog chews for your four-legged pal. Give your dog one of these natural chews, and just watch how bananas he goes!
If you’re not familiar with these natural dog chews, we’ve compiled some of the most common questions and answers to help you get acquainted. We’ve also detailed some of the best selling elk antler chews available online to purchase for your pup.
Why Elk Antlers?
First and foremost, elk antlers are used as dog chews because there are actually quite a few of them laying around n nature!
Every year, wild elk shed their antlers due to seasonal and hormonal changes. It’s completely natural; it’s just what elk do, similar to how a snake sheds its skin. The shed antlers sit on the ground until something or someone comes along and picks them up.
Someone, somewhere discovered that these elk antlers could serve as a great alternative to plastic bones or mysterious dog chews made from unknown ingredients, and dogs agree!
Elk antlers are thick and strong, making them a fun challenge for dogs that love to chomp and chew. Elk antlers also tap into your dog’s deep-rooted animal instincts to investigate and chew on things found in nature.
Best Elk Antler Chews: Reviews & Ratings
Let’s check out some of the best recommended chews on the market!
Extra-large antlers for big dogs
These Canadian-sourced antlers are naturally-shed and great for larger canines who are too big for smaller-sized antlers
These Pawstruck antler chews are sourced from elk in Canada and are just the thing for large and extra-large canines.
- Roughly 8.5″ long
- Hand-selected, high-quality antlers
- Naturally shed
- 100% natural with no additives or preservatives
- Made in Canada
- Discount for bulk orders
Reviewers love that these antlers are made specifically for larger dogs
Since these chews are larger, they are pricier too, but there is a discount for bulk orders.
Premium large-sized antlers
These 100% naturally-shed antlers are made in the USA
Jim Hodges Dog Training, located in North Carolina, promotes 100% naturally shed elk antlers from the USA. These split antlers are thinner than a standard chew. Key benefits include:
- Good for small to medium sized dogs
- Naturally-shed antlers, no elk farms
- Non-greasy, non-sticky, and no smell
Reviewers who own puppies found the chews perfect for the “teething” stage and just the right size.
Customers with large dogs who ordered these smaller treats thought that they were too small and didn’t last long enough. Owners with heavier chewers may prefer whole antlers over the split variety (since the whole antlers tend to be tougher).
Premium USA-made split antlers
This organic grade-A split antlers are eco-friendly and naturally shed
These elk chew treats are made by Buck Bone Organics, which states that their antlers originate from naturally-shed elk antlers from New Mexico to Montana. Key features include:
- Single-ingredient dog treat
- Available in a variety of sizes for all dogs
- No chemicals or added preservatives
Happy customers report that these antler chews for dogs are mess-free and last a long time.
Reviewers with negative comments were upset with the quality of the antler, with some saying it was too hard for the dog to chew (which might indicate that these are especially good for tough chewing dogs). However, other owners found the antlers too easy to break apart, so it likely depends on your dog’s chewing strength.
Where Do Elk Antler Dog Chews Come From?
Premium elk antler chews (like the ones reviewed in this article), come from wild elk living in the United States.
The elk roam in the wild, shed their antlers annually, and the antlers are collected by companies that package and market them as chews for dogs.
The best and most trusted sources of elk antler chews never harm or farm elk in order to make these treats. These companies simply know where the elk live (mostly in the northwestern parts of the US, like Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon), and when to look for the shed antlers (in the winter).
It’s best to always confirm that the chews you purchase are from “naturally shed” elk antlers. This way, you know that the antlers came from happy, wild elk.
Once the antlers are collected, they are examined to determine their quality. “Premium” elk antlers are extremely hard and dark in color on the outside.
The best quality antlers are then cut and split into a variety of shapes and sizes that dogs love to chew. It’s a simple process that results in a very clean, natural product for your pooch’s enjoyment.
Health Benefits of Elk Antler Chews for Dogs
Elk antlers are naturally full of nutrients which can benefit Fido! Antlers are made of bone-like material; they actually begin growing as layers of cartilage.
To be strong and healthy, cartilage and bones need a lot of nutrients, which is what you’ll find elk antlers packed nutrients like:
These, plus other vitamins and minerals found in the antlers, are great for a dog’s coat, bones, teeth, gums, and general health.
Will Elk Antler Dog Chews Gross Me (The Owner) Out?
We understand your fear – I think plenty of us have gotten a little squeamish around pig snouts, cow ears, and bully sticks (if you don’t know what bully sticks are made out of, maybe it’s for the best)
Out of all the dog food and dog treat products on the market, elk antler chews are probably the least likely to gross you out.
They are similar to a clean bone, are not sticky or greasy, and most do not have a strong odor.
Let your dog run around the house with his elk antler chew; he won’t even have terrible dog breath when he’s finished with it, and you may find that incorporating elk antlers into your dog’s diet can even cut down on how often you have to clean your dog’s teeth, since the antlers can naturally help scrub away plaque.
Are Elk Antler Dog Chews Safe For My Canine?
The short answer? It depends.
I know, that’s never a fun answer!
Generally, many dogs will be safe to consume antlers with supervision.
Elk antler dog chews that are made from premium quality antlers, and have not been artificially flavored or colored, should be safe for your dog to consume.
Just like any other bone or chew toy, you should take the elk antler chew from your dog when it gets very small, at which point it could become a choking hazard.
There is another risk to consider though – broken teeth. It’s not unusual for dogs to fracture their teeth on antlers, due to how hard they are.
Broken teeth are of course painful for your dog, and also can cost hundreds of dollars to repair, resulting in a costly veterinarian bill.
This is why antlers are not safe for some dogs – dogs who are extremely aggressive and forceful chewers may damage their teeth on the antlers’ hard surfaces (this is most commonly an issue with puppies and young dogs).
Even if your dog’s teeth are fine, the hard antlers can cause your dog’s gums to bleed, so keep an eye for blood on the antler and take it away if you notice any.
Splintering, Breaking, and Choking
Even more serious of a concern than broken teeth is antlers that break or splinter. Splintered antler pieces that can stuck in your dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines can cause serious life-threatening emergencies.
The good news is that generally, antlers are less likely to splinter and break than other chews. The antler’s hard material is a bit of a catch 20/20 – on one hand, the extreme toughness puts some dogs at risk for broken teeth, but that durability is also what makes antlers less likely to split apart and break.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe While He Enjoys Antler Chews
With some serious dangers associated with antler chews, how can you keep your dog safe while he enjoy them?
1. Always supervise your dog while he enjoys an antler
Dogs should never be left unsupervised with an antler. It’s simply too risky, as you won’t know if your dog has swallowed part of the antler until he is choking or in extreme distress.
Monitoring your dog while he snacks on his antler allows you to remove the antler if he’s broken off pieces or when he’s consumed too much.
2. Choose the right size antler
Make sure you are buying an appropriately-sized antler for your dog. If you purchase an antler that is too small for your larger-sized dog, he will be at a higher risk for choking on it.
3. Study your dog’s chew style
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, and giving them a safe and enjoyable outlet for chewing is key to their happiness.
However, it’s important to take careful note of your dog’s chew style.
Make sure your dog is gnawing on the antler, rather than biting down forcefully and trying to break the antler in half. If your dog seems to bearing down hard on the antler, take it away and try a softer chew.
Also consider if your dog is a gulper or not. Dogs who lunge for any and every object they see on the floor to gulp it down their gullet may be at an increased risk for swallowing a chunk of antler that is too large.
4. Check your dog and the antler after consuming
Check over your dog’s teeth and gums once he’s done with his antler. How do his gums look? Is there any blood on the antler?
If the antler has developed sharp edges, shave down the sharp bits by rubbing the antler against concrete or with the help of some sandpaper.
Antlers Do Have Risks: Are They Worth It?
There’s no denying that there are some risks involve with giving your dog antler chews.
However, in terms of general safety, you should consider the alternatives: if you don’t give your dog something good to chew on, he may resort to chewing on something unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
A happy dog is an occupied dog, and elk antler dog chews are one great way to keep your dog challenged and engaged (this can also be done through treat-dispensing dog toys). A dog can wear himself out chewing on a good treat, which will keep him out of trouble and prevent him from getting bored.
Do not allow him to bear down forcefully with his molars on the antler chew and do not allow him to chew on a piece that is of a size he could choke on.
Ultimately, choosing to give your dog an antler depends on how risk averse you are and how well you know your dog. If your dog is generally a gentle chewer, antlers are probably safe.
Monitoring your dog and taking careful note of how he consumes an antler chew is essential for safe antler enjoyment!
Dog Antler Chews FAQ
Antlers are a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and is protein-rich, but consuming too much could upset their stomach. This is while many experts suggest only letting your dog consume 1/2 inch of antler per day.
So long as the antlers have not been artificially flavored or colored, they should be safe for your dog to enjoy from an ingredient standpoint.
However, some dogs have cracked and broken teeth on elk antlers, so if your dog is a very forceful chewer, this is a risk to consider. Opting for split antlers can alleviate some of this danger.
Antlers take a long time for your dog to chew, often taking months to consume – or even a year! This is because antlers don’t break apart – instead, your dog slowly wears away at them by chewing and gnawing on them over time.
Once an antler because small enough to pose a choking hazard, it’s time to take it away from your dog and discard it
Have you ever given your dog antler chews for a snack? Did he or she enjoy them? Share your experience in the comments!