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Are Antlers Safe For Dogs?

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The short answer is yes; antlers are safe for dogs. 

Being 100% natural, they’re also 100% ethical. 

What is an Antler, and how are they formed?

a close up of a deer's face in the snow

Photo by Jeremy Hynes

*Antlers are extensions of the skull of the family Cervidae (Deer) that are shed and regrown every year during the rutting season. The male deer (stags) use these bony extrusions to control their harem, attract females, and fight any competing overzealous males that may want to challenge the local stud.*

*This is an extract from the wiki page explaining Deer Antler formations. We have used the text provided as this best explains how antlers are formed.

Antlers are made up of bone, cartilage, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels and are as tough as nails. You do not want to be on the receiving end of a charging Stag. The makeup of these means antlers wear down over time and very, very rarely break. (I’ve not witnessed a dog breaking one, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen). Another benefit that has become more popular is ground-up antler powder that owners are using as a supplement. We’ll discuss this more in time.

How good are Antlers compared to rawhide? 

Very good, due to the nature of the composition of an antler they make a very good chew. Pretty simple, hey? As your dog chews their new chew you will notice that it’s makeup never changes and wears down from vigorous gnawing.

Rawhide chews, however, are small pieces of animal hide that are usually not good enough quality to be used in leather making, so will often will be dried, bleached, and shaped to form a low-cost chew for dogs. 

What makes rawhide unsuitable for dogs is their inability to digest it, which can lead to blockages. Which, we don’t have to tell you, is not good. Rawhide can also cut and damage your dog’s gums. We explain more in our post “Is rawhide safe for dogs”

The difference between an antler and a rawhide chew is massive. Antlers are natural, long-lasting, robust and ethically sourced, and provide your dog with a safe, natural chew that has a lower risk of damaging their gums. Rawhide is a by-product that can’t be ingested and can damage gums, need I say more?

What other benefits do Antlers have? 

Other than being ethical and natural? These bullet points highlight each area of how antlers benefit your dog. 

  • Stress relief
  • Reduces Tension
  • Releases endorphins
  • Reduces boredom
  • Distraction from scary stuff i.e Fireworks
  • Calming
  • Nighttime settling 
  • Bonding with you 

There is so much an antler can do for your dog. And knowing that antlers are naturally dropped each year, you can be safe knowing that you’re giving your dog an ethically sourced dog chew. 


Antlers are one of the best dog chews you can get your dog, and you will see how much your dog will love them after 30 seconds of giving them one. Our Pippi adores her one, and you can hear the stress leave her body as she gnaws. 

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