I’ve mentioned before that Stella puppy is a major chewer. One of her favorite things to chew on is a deer antler! She started off with bones and liked them fine, but antlers are much more satisfying for her. They are softer than bones, so she probably feels more productive when she wears them down. They also seem to smell good to her even though I can’t detect an odor on them (much better than bully sticks, and less disgusting!).
You can see her four bones on the left and the two antlers on the right. The horn-shaped one is actually an elk antler. She likes that too. Stella can happily chew all day long, and I frequently find stashes of her antlers throughout the apartment. There can be as many as five bones at a time under the coffee table, and I just pulled two out from behind the bedroom door for this line up. Some others are still MIA.
As soon as Stella noticed me lining up her treasures, she had to come investigate and choose one to chew on.
She checked out the bones first by stuffing her snout inside of them. She does this a lot, and I always think she looks like an elephant. I often find her resting on the floor with her nose inside a bone. It’s very cute.
She eventually opted for her most loved and worn down antler. Although antlers are one of her longest surviving toys, they are fairly expensive to buy. The chain pet stores don’t seem to carry them, but some smaller ones do. David’s sister buys them for her dogs at a farmers’ market. Stella gets a lot of antlers as gifts (believe it or not, Stella gets a lot of mail). Every time we open a cardboard box, she runs over and sits down expectantly. She thinks all packages are for her. Spoiled!
It seems a little silly to be buying so many antlers when I’m sure there are tons of them under the trees behind my parents’ house (deer shed their antlers every year). Packs of deer run around out there, and we always find hoof prints after it snows. Once when I had a garden, a deer even took a big bite out of my cabbage (RUDE). But when my mom asked a pet store owner about giving “found” antlers to dogs, he said it would kill them. I find that hard to believe (especially coming from someone who sells them).
Does anyone have experience finding antlers and giving them to dogs or know the proper way to clean them?