Antlers for Dogs: Benefits and Ones to Try
Dog chewing—so long as it isn’t destructive chewing—is a perfectly normal behavior for both puppies and adults that helps keep their jaws strong, their teeth clean, and which can relieve boredom and other anxieties. When it comes to dog chewing, pet parents have a litany of options to choose from, including traditional dog bones, chew toys, and animal rawhides.
While all dog chew options come with their own set of risks, antlers for dogs provide an interesting alternative to traditional offerings, as they’re not as likely as bones to splinter or break easily.
Here, we look at a variety of antler dog treats and explore whether they’re a safe fit for your dog and your family’s lifestyle.
Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?
Antlers are a generally safe chew option for dogs. They last a long time and most don’t splinter or break as easily as other chew options like bones or rawhides.
But if you do decide to use antler chews for your dog, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian to make sure the antler is safe and a good fit for your pup. Also, your dog should be monitored while chewing any antler product.
Antlers can be very hard, which can have dental consequences ranging from broken or chipped teeth to bleeding gums. And while antlers are less likely to break or splinter than bones, there is always a risk that chunks can be broken apart and swallowed, creating potential digestive issues like blockages or other intestinal damage.
Types of Antlers for Dogs
A variety of antler dog treat options exist on the market, including the following:
Deer Antlers for Dogs
These treats generally come from whitetail deer, and are the traditional white antlers most pet parents probably visualize when they think of the term. They are the hardest and densest of all antlers, which makes for a long-lasting chew. However, deer antlers lack marrow content compared to other antlers for dogs on the market.
Elk Antlers for Dogs
Elk antlers are probably the largest antlers compared to others out there. They are slightly darker in color than deer antlers, and contain more marrow content than the antlers of whitetail deer which makes them slightly softer. Elk antlers are also a good option as a split treat (more on that below).
Moose Antlers for Dogs
Moose antlers are the softest of all the deer antler chews, and contain the most marrow content. Unlike the other antlers, moose antlers typically have a basic “paddle” shape. They can also be cut as slices, but the base shape makes for a longer-lasting chew.
Reindeer Antlers for Dogs
Reindeer antlers (also known as caribou in North America) are effectively the same as deer or elk antlers…with the exception that your antler treats may come from females as well as males.
Split Antlers for Dogs
Split antlers refer to how an antler treat is prepared, not the species that the antlers come from. Split antlers are cut so that your dog can easily get to the marrow contents of the antler, the part which packs the most nutrition. Split treats are for dogs that aren’t up for or don’t need a long-lasting, durable chew option.
Antler Powder for Dogs
Antler powder is simply ground-up antler of any species. Antler powder is designed for those who are looking for the nutritional benefits of antler treats, but not necessarily looking for a chewable option. Antler powder is typically found as a supplemental food topper.
6 Best Antlers for Dogs
Choosing the best antler treat for your dog will depend on your dog’s preferences and the type of durability you’re hoping to get out of the chew. Here are a few of our favorite antlers for dogs.
- Best Overall Antler Dog Treat: Prairie Dog Deer Antlers Dog Chew
- Best Antler Treat for Durable Chewing: KONG Wild Whole Elk Antler Dog Chew
- Best Antler Treat Variety Pack: Top Dog Chews Premium Large Antler Variety Pack Dog Treats
- Best Affordable Whole Antler Dog Treat: Buck Bone Organics
- Best Split Antler Dog Treat: Dentley’s Nature’s Chews Split Elk Antler Dog Chew
- Best Antler Powder: Buck Bone Organics Ground Elk & Deer Antler Powder Supplemental Dog Food Topper
Best Overall Antler Dog Treat
Our Pick: Prairie Dog Deer Antlers Dog Chew
Prairie Dog sources its selection of deer antler products from only grade A and B quality antlers, which, per the brand, “means that they retain more of their natural moisture for a more palatable chew that won’t splinter or crack.” They rank as our best overall, given that they provide a durable chew in several different size options at prices that won’t break the bank.
- Durable chew, with natural moisture to reduce splintering/cracking.
- Packed with minerals and nutrients.
- Affordable price point. (Chews typically range from $11-$30)
Things to Consider
- These treats aren’t for dogs with sensitive teeth or other dental issues, or who aren’t big chewers.
Best Antler Treat for Durable Chewing
Our Pick: KONG Wild Whole Elk Antler Dog Chew
KONG has widely respected brand recognition in the dog chew space, and their whole antler product fits the bill. This product is specifically geared towards larger-breed dogs that require a longer, durable chew. As an elk antler, it is slightly softer than whitetail deer antlers, but sacrifices none of the durability.
- Widely respected brand in the dog chew space.
- Delivers long-lasting durability.
Things to Consider
- It has a slightly higher price point, at nearly $30 for a single antler.
Best Antler Treat Variety Pack
For pet parents seeking multiple options in a single pack, Top Dog Chews variety pack answers the call. The package features an assortment of elk, moose, and deer antlers in a single bag.
- Package provides an opportunity for pet parents to try elk, deer, and moose all in one bag.
- Durable, long-lasting treats that will keep your heavy chewer busy for a long time.
Things to Consider
- This product is specifically tailored to large breeds, and may not be suitable for smaller dogs.
- The price point of this bag is a little high, at nearly $40 per package.
Best Affordable Whole Antler Dog Treat
Our Pick: Buck Bone Organics
Buck Bone Organics has a strong reputation for their deer antler products, which are harvested in the United States. Additionally, they come in a variety of sizes and a count of six, which provides durability and long-lasting value at roughly $35 a pouch.
- These treats are whole antlers, which provide a durable chew.
- They come in a variety of options, including small, medium, and large, which allow you to choose the right size for your dog.
- Priced at around $35 a pouch for six treats, this product delivers value and durability, as they will last a decent amount of time.
Things to Consider
- These treats probably aren’t the right fit for dogs with sensitive teeth or other dental issues.
- Different sizes are available on different Amazon pages.
Best Split Antler Dog Treat
Split antler dog treats provide a viable option for pups that want to get right to the marrow content, but we love this one in particular because it provides additional benefits. Not only does the all-natural antler deliver the chewing satisfaction and tempting taste your dog will love, it also helps clean their teeth, too.
- All natural.
- Delivers teeth-cleaning benefits.
- At roughly $17 an antler, this option provides a good value.
Things to Consider
- Some customers said that it broke down/splintered easily.
- Larger design may not be a good fit for small pups.
Best Antler Powder
In addition to its solid antler products, Buck Bone Organics offers a ground version of its deer and elk antlers that serves as a dog food topper, allowing pets to reap the nutritional benefits of antlers without needing to chew.
- This product packs all the nutritional power of deer antlers without the need to chew, making it ideal for animals with dental issues or sensitivities.
- Antler powder is ideal for any size dog breed.
- At nearly $13 a bag, this antler powder provides an affordable option for pet parents.
Things to Consider
- Antler powder isn’t for dogs that need to chew, and it won’t keep your pet occupied outside of mealtimes.
Antler Alternatives for Dogs
For pet parents who aren’t comfortable with the prospect of antlers for dogs or for those who want other natural options, there are alternatives. Some potential choices include:
An all-natural option from bovines that carry little calories and are relatively odorless. Cow hooves splinter a little easier than antlers.
Horns from sheep, bull, and buffalo provide a long-lasting chew option for dogs. Horns carry the same crack and splinter risks as antlers.
Rawhides provide your dog a long-lasting chew and pack heavy flavor that will keep your dog entertained. However, they carry digestive risks in that they don’t break down within your dog’s stomach, and can potentially cause obstructions if your dog swallows a piece. Always use rawhides with caution.
Bully sticks are single-ingredient, easily digestible chew treats made from beef muscle. They pack heavy flavor, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes that will keep your dog entertained. They also carry less puncture, choking, or digestive hazards than rawhides.
Like antlers for dogs, pet parents should consult their veterinarian before choosing any alternative dog chews for their pet.