Make sure that the chew you purchase is big enough that your dog cannot fit the entire chew in his/her mouth.
In addition to keeping your dog safe, buying a bigger piece of antler ensures that the antler will last longer.
How do dogs chew antler?
Whole Antler: When you give your dog an antler chew, he or she will try to get the marrow out, starting with the exposed marrow on the ends of a whole antler chew. When he/she can't reach the marrow anymore, he/she will chew on the outer edges of the antler and wear them down. The antler doesn’t break or splinter; rather, it will come off in little chips that are safe to swallow.
Split Antler: Split antler is a dog's favorite, but split chews may not last as long. Dogs chew the marrow out, leaving an empty outer rim. Usually, it's safe for them to continue to chew on these empty shells. However, if the dog begins to chew on the sides, where longer pieces may break off, the chew should be replaced with a new one. It's normal for small chips to come from the ends of the chew, and these small chips are not dangerous for your dog. Most chips are so small that they will easily pass through the dog's digestive system or even dissolve.
If you have a large breed dog, when the antler piece gets small enough to fit in his/her mouth it’s time to take it away. You can either throw it away or, better yet, give it to a friend with a smaller dog!
What are burrs/buttons?
I've never bought antler. What should I order?
If your dog has never had antler, it’s a good idea to start with a split piece - providing easy access to the marrow gives him or her an opportunity to find out just how good it is. Many customers only purchase splits. Dogs love them, and some dogs don't have the drive to work at the whole pieces to get the marrow out. Other people only buy whole antler, and their dogs are happy as can be. No two dogs are the same, so the best recommendation we can give is to try both split antler and whole to see what your dog prefers. Once you see how your dog likes it and how aggressively he or she chews, you can adjust your next order accordingly.
Below, we are providing suggested weights to help you decide which size chew is appropriate for your dog. However, the breed of your dog should also be considered, as well as how aggressively it chews, how old it is, and how big its mouth is. Dog weights are not the only deciding factor when purchasing antler. It’s always better to go a little bigger to be safe.
If you find that your dog is an aggressive chewer, we recommend a whole piece or a burr rather than split antler. While split antler tends to be a dog's favorite, it won't last as long for an aggressive chewer. Split antler is highly recommended for puppies, older dogs, and dogs that don't chew aggressively.
Most farmed elk have their antlers cut off in late August or September. By this point, the antlers have finished growing, and harvesting the antler doesn't cause the elk any pain or harm; rather, removing the antlers protects the elk from each other during the rut, or breeding season. With antlers, the elk are capable of seriously injuring or killing one another in fights.
In the spring, when the elk typically shed their antlers and begin growing a new, larger set, farmed elk shed burrs, which are also called buttons, instead of a full set of antlers. The white you see on the burrs is the marrow, which has completely calcified. Burrs are the most durable and long-lasting elk antler dog chew we carry. They generally aren't a dog's favorite; however, if your dog really loves antler and can chew up a whole piece in a short time, a burr may be exactly what you're looking for.
What size should I buy?
Small breeds (up to 20 lbs): Small antler in all cuts. Burrs in size small.
Medium breeds (20 lbs to 40 lbs): Medium antler in all cuts. Burrs in size medium.
Large breeds (40 lbs to 70 lbs): Large antler in all cuts. Burrs in size large.
Giant breeds (70 lbs and up): Extra Large antler in all cuts. Burrs in size large.
Please remember that these are suggested sizes only. Before purchasing antler, consider the size of your dog's mouth, chewing ability, and age. Before giving a chew to your dog, make sure it's large enough that he or she cannot fit the entire thing in his or her mouth. Better safe than sorry: get a piece that's big enough!
All antler is sold by weight so you can be sure that you're getting your money's worth!
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