I, Kolchak T Puggle, LOVE to chew. I love it. I love getting some great snack all up in my teeth and just gnawing on it. For a paw like me, a good chew is nothing short of pure joy.
But it’s tough to be Kolchak. On the flip side of having a Mama who knows what treats we should have, is that she knows what treats we SHOULDN’T have – and there are a whole lot of treats on the DO NOT CHEW list at out house.
Public Enemy#1 at our house is rawhide. I’ve never even HAD ONE. The whole rawhide thing has never made sense to me anyways. How did it even come up. “Hey! Here’s an idea,” some guy thought. “We’ll take the same tough chewy practically indestructible material that we use to make leather shoes and our leashes, then we’ll make it taste good and feed it to the dog. What a great idea!” Um, I’m sorry, but that sounds awful, thankyouverymuch.
Mama is equally intolerant of other popular chews like pig’s ears and pork hide. She tried giving us real bones – like the smoked femur bones you get at the butcher – but after Felix’s broken tooth and having the dental surgeon tell her that since these smoked bones are actually HARDER than canine teeth that was OVER. A crapload of research later – and we now have a few chews that Mom considers safe and we consider delicious.
High on our list of A-OK chews are deer and elk antlers.
See how much I love them?
IMHO, antler chews get MAJOR bonus points for being
1. ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE
Deer and elk naturally shed their antlers every spring. The antlers are harvested, cleaned, polished for sharp edges and sold to lucky pets like us. Many brands are certified “cruelty free”. I like that.
2. ACTUALLY HEALTHY
Deer antler velvet has been long used in Chinese medicine as an essential health and energy tonic. It is believed to boost blood cell production, which is believed to help with everything from muscle recovery after exercise to supporting the immune system to helping with joint structure and function.
3. CHEW SAFE
Antlers don’t splinter – and in the year we’ve been getting them, we’ve never been able to bite a piece off. They also do not retain disgusting bacteria, the way a skin-based chew can, so there is less chance that one will make us sick.
4. LONG LASTING
These suckers last FOREVER. Usually one will last us around three months, with frequent chewing.
They sound like dream chews eh? I bet you’re thinking, so what’s the down side? Well, first, they are a little pricey. Unless you are lucky enough to live in deer country and you can forage for your own, these chews will run you anywhere from $5 to $25 per piece depending on size. A hefty price tag, unless you take into account how long they last, which is a darn long time.
Some dogs (who are crazy!) don’t take to antler chews right of the bat. You have to remember that if they are used to getting skin chews, they may not initially find antlers as interesting to chew, as they will not have that same (awful) smell. There are a few things you can do if your pup is initially disinterested – have the antler sawed in half – of buy the ones with deer antler marrow exposed. If you already have a chew, consider soaking it overnight in chicken stock or lightly coating it with peanut butter before giving it to your pup. After a few times, most are happy to get it back!
A note from Mom: Like with all hard chews, antlers should be picked up between chewing and put away – for your pup’s safety and for yours. Ever stepped on a Lego? Well a deer antler chew to the foot at 2 AM is JUST as PAINFUL.
A whole rack!
Rack ‘Em Up!
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