Are antlers safe for dogs?

Original Question: Dr. Greenway has made it very clear that giving our Sheltie a bone is not a wise thing to do because of possible broken teeth. Would the same hold true for deer antlers which are so commonly for sale in pet stores? Our dog enjoys them occasionally but now I’m thinking they may be just as dangerous given their similar consistency. Thanks in advance for your good advice. - Doug

Are antlers safe for dogs? Apr 25, 2018

Hi Doug,

Thanks for your question.

Hard bone-type treats are not good for dogs. Bone, or anything resembling it such as antlers, is extremely hard and can break or fracture your dog’s teeth. This is much more common than people think. The hard bone or antler material can also splinter into shards that can penetrate the tissue of the mouth, pharynx, stomach or the rest of the digestive tract.

Just because something is for sale in a store doesn’t mean it is good for our pets. What I recommend is that you consider using something else that doesn’t come with this risk. An appropriate treat would be one that is low in calories and soft enough to prevent dental trauma. I assume you would also like something that your dog can be entertained by. A really great idea is buying a large ‘kong’ which is a hard rubber toy that you can pack with different food materials such as wet food, kibble, vegetables and any other appropriate treat. A treat like this will make your dog lick, chew, ingest and engage with the toy for longer.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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