Making Chewing Fun: Why Antlers are Better & Healthier for Dogs

Posted on Feb 21 2015 - 7:31pm by Susan Bewley

Disclosure: Scout and Zoe’s and Budget Earth partnered together for this article to educate our readers about antlers (a subject Reya loves!) While Reya received an antler as part of this, all opinions are 100% my own.

Making Chewing Fun Why Antlers are Better & Healthier for Dogs

Over the past several months, I have had many of you ask about Reya’s preferred chew toys and what I prefer when it comes to chewing. A few of you have even been shocked that I am not a big fan of “Nylabones” and those types of chew toys, which is something many of us give our dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those people early on when Reya was a puppy. I didn’t become too worried until we started going through one of these bones every two weeks and we had hard, extremely sharp plastic all over the floor and her bedding that my husband and I usually refer to as “shrapnel.” Worried, I took a look and she had little cuts on her gums – even worse, I knew she had to be swallowing those pieces. After a bit of research, we were introduced to antlers, and a year and a half later I can say without a doubt it was the best choice we had made when it comes to Reya’s health.

Of course, I have never kept it a secret that I love antlers. In my opinion, they are the best thing since sliced bread. As many of you know, I have a reason for everything I do with Reya. Antlers are hard, rugged, and one of the most solid chews nature has to offer (you don’t get much more natural than antlers, after all). For those who don’t really know much about them (other than maybe that Bambi’s dad had them), they are one of the best renewable resources out there for dogs. Annually, male elk, deer, and similar animals shed their antlers, usually during the winter months. This hard cartilage and bone tissue regularly just detaches itself, and will fall off. In nature, other animals, such as wolves, chew on these to get extra calcium and minerals in their diet (and because they taste good to them!)

elk head

For modern use, these antlers are collected, power washed, cut, and sanded by hand to get rid of sharp edges, so that dogs of different sizes can safely enjoy these treats. Unlike raw bones, antlers DO NOT break or chip, since antlers have a much larger calcium content and are much finer in texture. Not only are they harder than raw bone and synthetic chews, but much healthier as well! Some of the minerals found in antler chews include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zink
  • Manganese

batch of elk antlers

Oh, and let’s not forget that antlers are also nature’s toothbrush for dogs. With how dogs chew on antlers, they keep their teeth sparkling white and tartar free! While they are healthy, they are also one of the easiest to deal with, long-lasting chews we have ever tried. Unlike rawhide, they can last for months with regular chewers and are completely odorless. When Reya was six months old, we went through an antler about every two months, but she was still in that ‘heavy chewing’ phase. Now, we go through an antler about every three to four months, or until Reya hides it in hopes of getting a newer, fresher antler that she thinks is better flavored.

One of the biggest myths out there is that they are too hard for dogs to chew. There is a bit of confusion with them, especially since many people don’t understand how they work. When dogs chew on the antlers, their saliva slowly softens the antler and inner tissue, making it much easier for chewing and enjoying all the rich minerals and flavor. That being said, however, it is very important that you choose an antler appropriate to your dog’s size and watch them when first introduced to make sure they aren’t too aggressive or attempting to swallow it whole. Just like synthetic chews, being too aggressive can lead to broken teeth. The majority of dogs, however, handle them perfectly, and love this all-natural treat that satisfies their chewing instincts.

So, where would I recommend you purchase your antlers? Not the big box retailers. Many of them get their antlers from China, which have often been exposed to pollutants, or farmed, with the antlers cut off as quickly as possible. My new preferred place for buying antlers is Scout and Zoe’s. All of their antlers are from the United States, and as natural as they can get them. They also sell them in a variety of sizes, allowing dogs of all sizes to enjoy antler treats.

Reya with Scout & Zoe Antler

Want to try one of their antlers? Head over to Scout and Zoe’s today see their great selection of antlers and antler chews. All of their antlers are individually packed to protect the antler from cross-contamination from substances on peoples’ hands or the environment. This is perfect for dogs with sensitivities or allergies, like Scout and Zoe with chicken and beef, respectively. As well, antlers sold at Scout and Zoes are only premium quality. This is important since most companies only sell lower grade antlers, which aren’t as durable (or pretty), meaning they don’t last as long for most dogs. As a dog owner, I am happy to give Reya an antler from Scout and Zoe since I know it will last for months, and gives Reya a wonderful natural source of calcium and other vital minerals. What could be better than a natural chew toy that is organic, green, all natural, nutritious, AND a renewable resource?

Personally, I also love their prices. They are some of the thickest and largest chews I have seen for Reya, who cherishes her chew that comes from Scout and Zoe’s – from the way she acts with it, my best guess is that they are extra tasty! Also, don’t forget to check out their treats! We will be featuring them later this week but they have one of the best selections of natural chews I have seen. If your dog is anything like my Reya, they will go crazy for Scout and Zoe’s antlers!

Scout and Zoe's Antlers

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DisclosureBudget Earth did not receive monetary compensation but did receive an antler as part of this informative article. All opinions on this product are my own and may differ from our readers’ opinions.

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Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

62 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Elizabeth Stacy February 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Wow wonder it this is better for your pet

    • Susan Bewley February 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Yup! Antlers have so many wonderful nutrients and so much better for your dogs teeth. Reya has one for bedtime and one she carries around the house.

  2. Mary Czerczyk February 21, 2015 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    My daughter has a golden lab that just loves chew toys. I am going to tell he abou tScout & Zoe antler chews. Thanks

    • Susan Bewley February 21, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      You are very welcome! They really wonderful for dog owners and so much better than the synthetic chews.

  3. Jerry Marquardt February 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    I would like to thank you for the advice. I am going to try this out, I would have never thought that it would work, but it makes sense because an antler is so much more dense.

  4. Sarah L February 22, 2015 at 12:56 am - Reply

    I never even heard of antlers for dogs. (eating, not wearing them). Many things from China have pollution of some sort so getting them from here is good.

    • Susan Bewley February 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Yes, pollution in China is a huge issue!

  5. Sonya Sparks February 22, 2015 at 4:05 am - Reply

    My 2 dogs would have a little fit over these! Thanks for the info 🙂

  6. Joie February 22, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    I hadn’t heard of these before but this is an awesome idea. I know when we had my dog I got bones from the butcher because I too didn’t like the plastic bones. Hand I known about these I would have kept in in supply of them.

    • Susan Bewley February 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Joie, when you get a new dog I’m going to have to hook you up, girl. They really are amazing for dogs and I love that they are renewable. No animal is hurt since elk shed them yearly. 🙂

  7. David Smith February 22, 2015 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Sparkie would love to have some of these antlers to chew on. He loves rawhide chews, so I am sure he would love antlers. We will have to look into getting some.

    • Susan Bewley February 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      I bet Sparkie would love them, David! They are a huge hit in our household!

  8. Hana February 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Wow, just reading the title, I was so grossed out,
    Thinking that it was cruelty killing the animals for their horms and pehraps meat.
    Then read your full article. If they do NOT saw off or abuse or lour the animals in against their will to get antler access, then this does sound very nutritional and very interesting. Thank you for the article.

    • Susan Bewley February 23, 2015 at 10:41 am - Reply

      99% of Antlers that come from the United States and New Zealand are ones that fall off naturally out in the wild or on farm. The only times I’ve ever heard of them being sawed off is if something goes wrong with shedding and that is for medical reasons since it can severely harm the poor elk! China, on the other hand, is a different matter. Another reason you should always be careful buying in the US. 🙁

  9. Melissa S February 23, 2015 at 8:18 am - Reply

    I am going to have to check these out for my big dog, I haven’t been giving him any kind of chew because of the sharp small pieces I knew he was eating.

    • Susan Bewley February 23, 2015 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Yes, those sharp pieces freaked me out too! I wouldn’t eat plastic, why should she? That being said, when they do gnaw them down to be very tiny I toss them since I am worried of it accidentally becoming a chocking hazard!

  10. vickie couturier February 23, 2015 at 8:46 am - Reply

    never thought about these for dogs,,interesting

  11. Linda Manns Linneman February 23, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I have never heard of this before. They do sound very beneficial for our dogs. I will check out this site soon. Thank you for sharing

  12. lisa February 23, 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

    I read this purely out of curiosity. I saw the word antler and, you got it, I thought reindeer? I shouldn’t be surprised. Dogs chew bones. I just thought that it was a catchy name to market a product.

  13. Barrie February 23, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

    We aren’t fans of nylabones anymore after one of my dogs had surgery to remove chunks that had clogged his intestines! He almost died! To this day, he has to eat food that is smaller to fit through his intestines! I am totally looking into this product as both dogs are big on chewing!

    • Susan Bewley February 23, 2015 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Oh my god…that is the stuff of nightmares for every dog owner! I’m so glad your baby survived but horrible what happened! Check them out, they really were amazing for us with Reya!

  14. Melissa Douglass February 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Very interesting! I will have to tell my mom about these!

  15. Cheryl Fulton February 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    I had no idea antlers have benefits for dogs to chew on. This is nice!

  16. Lisa Coomer Queen February 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Well, I never knew this. Thanks for the great information!

  17. Jane Ritz February 24, 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I’ll have to tell my brother this. He has two dogs. I only have a cat.

  18. lisa February 24, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

    The nylon chew bone sounds downright dangerous. I hope the dog wasn’t hurt badly!That dog is so pretty, I love it, and I’m a cat person!

    • Susan Bewley February 24, 2015 at 11:02 am - Reply

      They can be very dangerous. Reya didn’t get seriously hurt but I’ve heard of dogs having severe intestinal issues from them. Love that there are better, safer alternatives out there!

  19. Linda Manns Linneman February 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    This was really surprising to me. I never heard of this before. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing

  20. terry myers February 24, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    I have never tried antlers before good for my pet and them with their teeth

  21. Jo-Ann Brightman February 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I am going to tell my neighbor about these . I didn’t t rile how much better antlers were for dogs.

  22. lisa February 25, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

    That moose, or whatever it is freaks me out. My husband lived in Minn. for a few years when he was a child. He said those things get huge.

  23. Linda Manns Linneman February 25, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Our dogs love chewing on things. The next thing we try will be these antlers. Thank you for sharing

  24. LaTanya February 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    This is very interesting. Nothing goes to waste.

  25. Brenda February 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I don’t own any dogs. Maybe someday. I would like a husky they require time. I keep busy. However if and when I do get one I will for sure get antlers for my dog.

  26. lisa February 26, 2015 at 11:17 am - Reply

    These sound like a great choice for keeping the dog healthy and happy. And it’s safe.

  27. M.Clark February 27, 2015 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this post, I found it very informative. I really learned a lot, thank you.

  28. Sarah S February 27, 2015 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Glad to know about the health benefits of these chews. I’d not tried them yet for my pups. Do you know if they make them small enough for Jack Russells?

  29. Linda Manns Linneman February 27, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Our dogs love chewing and no better way than with this great nutritional product. Thank you for sharing.

  30. lisa February 27, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    When you have a dog, I think chew toys are a must. They help clean the teeth and hopefully keep them from chewing up household items.

  31. DD February 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I’ve been thinking of getting antlers for my dogs for a while now. I’ve been wanting a chew that was more natural and durable than what I usually give my dogs and antlers seemed like a good option. After reading this, I’m definitely going to get some!

  32. Vanessa E February 28, 2015 at 5:14 am - Reply

    I never heard of antlers as dog treats! Good to know antlers shed each winter so their is no harm done. I also love that they are full of minerals and nutrients for my furries. I have been reading about all the treat poisoning so antlers is a safer option. Thanks!

  33. Linda Manns Linneman February 28, 2015 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I love the fact that our dogs are not only enjoying chewing but they are getting good vitamins and minerals from this product. Thank you so much for sharing

  34. lisa February 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I don’t understand why they would even make artificial dog bones.It sounds like the real thing is best.

    • Susan Bewley March 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Very true. The artificial ones are pretty scary!

  35. Coco February 28, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I had absolutely no idea how much healthier the antlers are, including all the good minerals. I would never had thought about giving them to the dog for chew.

  36. Coco February 28, 2015 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    WOW!! Thanks for sharing. I had absolutely no idea how much healthier the antlers are, including all the good minerals. I would never had thought about giving them to the dog for chew.

  37. Diana C February 28, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    I had no idea about antlers! Our dog, when he was a puppy chewed on anything. Now he just drools on everything.

    Diana C

  38. Linda Manns Linneman March 1, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I am so impressed with this product. I can’t wait to get some for our dogs. Thank you so much for sharing this great product and all this good information

  39. lisa March 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    If I had a dog I would buy these for it. They sound like they’re full of vitamins and satisfy the dogs need to chew on something.

  40. Leah March 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    My dog is small, but a big chewer and she loves her elk antlers!

  41. Betty B. March 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    I have an 8 month old husky pup we’ve been using rawhide bones. That’s awful that her gums were cut. I’ve never heard of these before. They sound amazing! Can’t wait to try them!

    • Susan Bewley March 2, 2015 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Pretty much think of raw bones that don’t splinter and you have antlers. 🙂

  42. Diana C March 2, 2015 at 1:18 am - Reply

    I would have never considered antlers had it not been for reading it here.
    Diana C

  43. Jennifer Pellicone April 1, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Great information! We just threw away all of our dogs hard chew toys because she suddenly developed horrible intestinal problems that could have been caused by the “shrapnel” going through her system. A long skinny piece came up instead of going through which helped narrow down the cause. The $1000 in Vet bills pretty much confirmed it. So antlers are a great suggestion!

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