Shep/ACD cross Simon is a big nibbler - he loves to find what we call "nibble-y things". These can be bristles off my hairbrush, those plastic thingys that hold the tags on clothing - anything small and, well, nibble-y. He's messed up 2 duvet covers - chewed the button closures off of one and the zipper pull off the other. (I have velcroed them both now. Try that, Simon - I'd love to see you with a comforter velcroed to your devious little head). So we have to be very careful to keep these things out of reach, of course.
Tried bully sticks and those were a hit, but they were gone in 20 minutes. So I'm hoping antlers will give Nibbledog and his buddy something more satisfying and longer-lasting.
So my question is this - elk or deer? Any one brand preferable?
My girl (mini aussie) is also a nibbler. She loves the cardboard from tp and paper towel rolls. She has also chewed the zipper out of several of her fleece dog beds, the "button" off one of my baseball caps and the plastic off the shoe strings on my sneakers.These are the only things she has sort of "destroyed". She is two years old and she has all the stuffed animals that have been purchased since I first got her. She loves the antlers. Be sure when you are buying them to get the whole ones, not the ones cut in half. I think the whole ones last longer. The other thing I get for my dogs are the "roasted" bones. I have found a pet store in the area that sells them(and the antlers) by the pound.Those also last ages.
Ive heard that elk antlers are harder than deer but Im not sure if thats true. My dog likes the elk ones better. He likes the split ones because the marrow is exposed. He isnt an aggressive chewer though, he is about average. There are also moose antlers, but those are usually more expensive.
I think its best to start off with the split deer antlers. If the dog tears through the first one then you can graduate to a whole elk antler but many people go out and buy a whole one only to have their dog stare at it in confusion and walk away. Sometimes they need a hand to figure out that it is an acceptable chew toy.
Well, I bought two deer antlers, about 7" apiece, and my god, I've created monsters.
They love them! I had to swap some liver treats so I could get the antlers back and put them away so as to keep them interesting to the dogs.
"Nibbledog" Simon, in particular, kept looking at me as if to say, "See, Mom, this is exactly what I've been trying to tell you I need!"
All my dogs, too, love deer antlers. But they are sooooo expensive in the stores that I finally found a guy in my area (an artist who uses antlers for weird chandaliers and chairs, etc) who buys them whole from a deer breeder who cuts them off each year just before they shed them. I pay by the pound and he cuts them into nice pieces for me.
Cost about 1/4 of what they are in the stores and I like knowing they are a renewable resource that didn't come from a dead deer.
if your dog hasn't had one before, I'd suggest buying the smallest, cheapest one you can find- I estimate less than 1/3 of dogs will show any interest in chewing on antlers. Try going out in the woods and looking around- the deer shed these every year, and often you can find free ones just sitting out there.
They are essentially just plain bone, not much different than the clean and sterilized bones they sell for much cheaper, and again, many dogs won't chew on a clean, sterilized bone. They'd much rather chew on a meaty bone like a marrow bone or knuckle bone from the grocery store.
Note that all hard bones of this sort can fracture teeth and wear down teeth, and probably don't do much in the way of "teeth cleaning". To clean teeth down to the gumline, you need the teeth to shear through a soft material like meat, not scrape against dry bone.
If your dog likes them, though, they can be useful as "baby sitters".