Why should the top antler chews for dogs join the ranks? Kongs, rawhide bones, bully sticks, you name it; there is an entire world of dog chews out there for discovery. However, it’s not always a walk in the park trying to pair your dog with a decent chew. Factors such as chewing strength, safety concerns, and longevity will constantly run throw your brain as you walk up and down the store aisle or search endlessly online. While we aren’t the biggest fan of cheapo chews that last about 5 minutes and rawhides that can become an extreme choking hazard, there are quality dog chews out there we would suggest in a heartbeat.
Antlers are a wonderful type of dog chew that sticks close to nature; giving your pup’s natural instincts the chance to shine through. However, not all antler chews are 100% safe; which is why we’ve put together a list of the best. That way you can go through with an excellent, long-lasting purchase as a fully-informed pet parent.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Antler Chews
Where do they come from?
Antler chews come from all sorts of free-range animals. For example, the most common antler chews you will run into include deer, elk, and buffalo (although technically the buffalo is a horn). These products are sold through dog-centric companies because it can actually be very unsafe to let your pup chew on a random antler you find lying in the woods. Great companies who offer antler chews go through the hard work to ensure doggie safety during chew time. For example, they may have a hand-selection process, sand down any sharp edges, and expertly cut the antlers to sizes that match your dog’s breed and jaw strength. While buying a product you could very well find on your own seems weird, it ultimately is the only way to go.
Are Antler Chews Good for my Dog?
Not all vets are on-board with the antler chew craze because they do present some hazards if not monitored properly. Antler chews for dogs are much more dense than bully sticks, rawhides, and other chews. Their hardness comes from the build-up of strong calcium and other minerals. Basically, this means an antler is not the best choice for every dog. They are not meant for puppies or senior dogs who have more fragile teeth. Plus, they will not be good for dogs who chomp down hard while chewing. There have been cases where dogs can actually break their teeth! Therefore, an antler chew is best for dogs who love chewing, but are more gentle about it.
What we love about antler chews is their ability to give your pup an all-natural, organic chew. It will satisfy their inherent instinct to chew, plus help to clean their teeth along the way. Plaque and tartar build-up in your dogs mouth is not a good quality because it can lead to both bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. An antler chew will help solve that issue…naturally! However, you should be aware that antler chews are divided into classifications based on their quality. You will always want to strive for Grade A antlers; which you can read more about in the section Grade A vs. B Antlers.
Are they Messy?
Finally, antler chews are going to give you a cleaner option. Due to their density, they are much less likely to soak up stinky slobber and leave half-chewed bits on your carpet. Which, ultimately, means they create less mess and less odor. However, this totally depends on your dog’s habits. For example, if your pup takes the antler outside, it is bound to drag in some dirt and grime. To each their own though; if you don’t mind this then you’re golden!
#1 Jim Hodges Elk Antler – Grade A
The Jim Hodges Elk Antler premium dog chew is just about the best antler chew you can get. Their antlers are 100% real, natural, and USA sourced from the wild. Not to mention, they are cruelty-free; which means you are not harming any wildlife by purchasing this chew. It is absolutely something you can (and should) get behind.
Especially if you strive for a nature-loving and ethical household, the Jim Hodges Elk Antler is going to be a win. The antler you receive is naturally shed by the elk and then hand-picked from the forest floor. It contains no antibiotics, growth hormones, or additives (which is quite rare to find this day-and-age). Even better, the natural marrow developed inside the elk’s antler is left so your pup can have a yummy and extremely nutritious snack!
If you take a look at its price, it will be on the higher-end. However, the antler is going to last a very long time. In that same amount of time, you would probably be spending even more on getting other chews that don’t last more than a day or two. Plus, your money is also going towards the nutrition found lodged inside the elk antler. Which makes this, not only a long-lasting dog chew, but also a super-food for your dog.
Keep in mind that antler chews are not good for dogs who chomp hard during chewing. It could cause tooth damage if your pup goes at it too hard. But, for the standard chewer who needs a long-lasting and natural chew, look no further. Even if you have an extremely large breed, the Jim Hodges Elk Antler has great size variations. They come in both whole antler sizes and spilt-antler sizes. To see all their size options and get even more nutritional information, head on over to Jim Hodges Elk Antler for Dogs.
#2 Buck Bone Premium Deer Antler – Grade A
Buck Bone Premium Deer Antlers are our second best pick, running a tight race with the Jim Hodges Elk Antler. If, for some reason, you want to steer away from elk antlers, these deer antlers are a nice choice that you won’t regret. Just make sure your dog doesn’t chomp down too hard on it, like we mentioned before. The best part about these antlers: it’s a family-run business that specializes in dog chews; making our hearts joyful to support. Plus, they are more on the affordable side when it comes to premium, Grade A antlers.
The antlers are organic, USA sourced, and naturally-shed from the deer. Meaning, no animal cruelty is even remotely in sight. After hand-selecting deer antlers from the forest floor, their team expertly cuts and sands them down to remove any sharp edges. There are no preservatives; which means everything is left in its natural state in order for your pup to get the best nutrition and benefits.
However, don’t expect each antler to look the same. Since they are sourced from naturally shed antlers, they inherently vary in shape and will even not be exact to size (running a couple millimeters shorter or longer). In order to best choose the size right for your chewing dog, we highly recommend checking out the article Buck Bone Organics Premium Antler Dog Chews. There, you will also gain more insight into the company, their antler chew, and other variations they offer.
#3 Elkhorn Premium Chews – Grade A
Elkhorn Premium Chews come from a company that specializes specifically in elk antler dog chews. Put simply, they have one focus and they do it well! They even call their products “Rocky Mountain Gobstoppers” (which we find both cute and funny). While they do offer wholesale options for large quantities on their manufacturer website, Amazon will give you great individual items so that you can go for just one or two at a time. And, believe us, they will last much longer than any ordinary dog chew.
Nutritionally speaking, Elkhorn Premium Chews come with only one ingredient: the 100% organic antler. They are packed with natural iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. At the start, the antlers are all locally sourced from four Western USA states: Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Even better, they come from wild, free-roaming elk who naturally shed their antlers. The family owned and operated business that selects these antlers means that your purchase goes towards supporting small-business dreams. Once they hand-pick the antler, they proceed to hand cut and sand it to remove sharp edges. All that’s needed is a dog to happily chew on it; which is where your furbaby comes in!
The company says their antlers leave no mess and no odor when you dog chews, but we think that is completely left up to the chewing style of your dog. While antlers are your best bet at less mess and less odor, if your pup takes it outside it will definitely pick up dirt and grime.
Unlike our first two antler chew picks, we don’t have a separate article for you to jump to with the Elkhorn Premium Chews. Therefore, we’ll break down all the variations and size options right here! Keep in mind, the pricing will vary depending on the option you choose.
These antler dog chews come in both whole antler and split antler options. While the whole antler is definitely going to last the longest, we recommend the split antler to “first time users.” With the split option, the bone’s marrow is left exposed; which will help to entice your dog into chewing.
X-Small (5-pack): 3 to 6″ length x .5 to 1.0″ width (for dogs 0 to 15lbs.)
Small: 4 to 7″ length x .75 to 1.25″ width (for dogs 10 to 30lbs.)
Medium: 5 to 8″ length x .75 to 1.5″ width (for dogs 20 to 45lbs.)
Medium (split option): 4 to 8″ length (for dogs 20 to 40lbs. and less aggressive in chewing)
Large: 6 to 10″ length x 1 to 1.75″ width (for dogs 35 to 65lbs.)
X-Large: 6 to 10″ length x 1.25 to 2″ width (for dogs 50 to 90lbs.)
Giant: 7 to 12″ length x 1.5 to 2″ width (for dogs 75+lbs.)
Grade A vs B Antlers
Let’s take a wack at separating the quality from the junk. The fact of the matter is, not all antler dog chews are going to be something you want to hand over to your pup. In the hunting and foraging world, there are four different classifications for antlers: Grades A, B, C, and D. Grade A antlers are what you will want to look for because they are the best quality. The better dog chew companies will always offer Grade A antlers because they put your dog’s safety first. In our case, we only chose Grade A antler chews to make our top picks.
However, it is often Grade B you will run into because they are easier for companies to store (and get the most profit from without all the labor). They aren’t too terrible, but you may run into some safety issues because these antlers are not fresh. Finally, don’t even think about Grades C and D antlers; they’re pure junk when it comes to a dog chew. We would much rather you spend your hard-earned money on bully sticks than a Grade C or D antler chew.
- Freshly shed from the animal
- Brown in color
- Best quality
- Safest for your dog
- Make up the bulk of what you will find online
- Known as “hard white” to hunters
- Dried out and white from exposure
- Usually one to two years old
Grade C & D
- Do not give to your dog
- Has years of exposure to the elements and even rodents
- Can visibly see the outer layers breaking down