Dogs have been long represented as bone aficionados. This is continuously reinforced through bone-themed dog products, cartoons, and age-old idioms like, “Throw a dog a bone!” While canine instincts may cultivate a love for bone-gnawing, not every bone is suitable for the modern dog.
Around the holidays, festive pup parents may be tempted to give antlers to their furry good boys and girls. Antlers appear to not splinter easily, are long-lasting, and seem like a “natural” chewing object for our dogs. Plus, they’re unique and perfectly winter-themed. Because of this, antlers are often perceived as the ideal holiday chew toy. However, antler toys must be carefully considered to ensure they result in holiday delight instead of a trip to the veterinarian.
Are Antlers Safe For Dogs?
Many pup parents provide bones to promote doggy dental hygiene. Ironically, hard chews may actually harm dog’s teeth more than they help. The hardness of antlers can result in gum bleeding. This can be very uncomfortable for dogs. Also, it can lead to blood staining your carpet seconds before your in-laws arrive for the holidays.
According to the American Kennel Club, antlers and other excessively hard chews are a common cause of broken teeth in canines. Dogs with broken teeth experience intense pain and can possibly develop abscesses or infections. And then your wallet will start hurting, too, becasue removal or repair of a broken dog tooth typically costs hundreds to (gulp) even thousands of dollars.
Though antlers are hard, it’s possible for them to break and splinter. This is especially true of old, brittle antlers. Breakage, cracking, and splintering can lead to serious health concerns for your dog. A splintered or broken antler can become lodged in your pup’s mouth, throat, or intestines. This can cause choking, internal bleeding, and/or dangerous blockages in the digestive tract. Treatment may even require emergency surgery.
The risks for antlers applies to all dogs. However, some dogs are especially susceptible to harm or injury due to age. Puppies and elderly dogs may have less robust health systems and softer teeth. Due to this, dogs of these age ranges may experience greater dental damage due to antlers’ hardness and are not well-equipped to handle other potential injury caused by antlers. Therefore, antlers are probably not safe for puppies and older dogs.
Because of these risks, dogs should not be left unsupervised while chewing antlers. If this occurs while unsupervised, owners will not be aware of any incidents until the dog shows an averse reaction. It is important to be aware of the potential risks and their related symptoms to ensure your dog’s safety and good health. While not all dogs encounter issues with antlers, there is no guarantee that antlers are safe.
What Are Some Antler Chew Alternatives?
While it may be tempting to throw your dog a bone (or antler), the greatest gift you can give your furry friend is a safe and healthy treat. By doing this, you’re also gifting yourself some much needed peace of mind. There are plenty of chew alternatives that are fun, natural, and – above all – safe.
Durable & Firm Chew Toys
Durable and firm chew toys, such as BARK’s Super Chewer Dog Toys, give your dog the chewing satisfaction of a bone and none of the bone-related risks. Super Chewer Toys are engineered for safe and long-lasting chewing. Many Super Chewer Toys are made of nylon that emulate the hardness of a bone, but are built with flexibility and durability to eliminate the potential for splintering and dental damage. These toys are made for even the most determined crushers, chewers, and chompers! Plus, they help keep your dog’s gums and teeth clean and healthy!
If you’re looking for Super Chewer Toys that will really win over your bone-loving pooch, look no further than the Bacon Benebone and Chicken Pawplexer! The Bacon Benebone is the “bone” of your dog’s dreams. With its bone shape and real bacon flavor, there’s no doubt your pup will love this more than the real thing!
The Chicken Pawplexer is also built with bone lovers in mind. It is an all-natural chicken nylon treat that features a space in the center to put a jerky or bully stick. So, these toys are a treat to your dog’s jaws, teeth, and taste buds!
While bone chews pose health and safety risks for dogs, there are other animal-sourced parts that make for safe chewing. Natural chews serve double duty as tasty treats and chewing objects. Not only do they appeal to canines’ instincts, these appeal to many dog parents’ desire to provide natural and organic snacks and toys.
BARK offers a great variety of natural chews including lamb ears, beef knee caps, and deer-meat chews. There’s something on the menu for every dog! Well, except for the vegetarians…