When people first hear about the concept of antler chews, they are very skeptical of the fact that they won’t splinter. Well it’s true. For the most part.
Antlers are an incredibly tough bone, much stronger than the typical cow or pork bone you can buy from your local butcher. Although regular bones do have a harder exterior with a softer marrow in the middle, they are usually no match for the strong bite of a large aggressive chewer. The main thing that makes a cow bone weaker is the fact that majority of them are cooked before they are sold as a chew. Since there is still some meat left on the bone, and blood inside the marrow, they typically will cook the bone to reduce the odor that it puts off. When the bone becomes heated and then cooled, it significantly weakens the integrity of it. Antlers on the other hand are much better suited for aggressive chewing dogs. The bone ring on an antler is typically much denser than that of a cow bone, with a less porous marrow.
A dog enjoying a cow bone.
Get A Size Appropriate Antler
There are certain circumstances where antlers can splinter though, but they are easily avoided. The easiest way for you to avoid your dog splintering their antler is to be sure to give them a size appropriate one. You don’t want to get a 5 ounce antler for a 100 pound dog. The force that a dog can exert will more than likely be enough to break that small of an antler, depending on the style and species.
A dog enjoying their new split antler.
Get A Fresh Antler
Another way to avoid having your dog splinter their antler is to be sure to get them a fresh antler. There are a couple of ways to see if an antler is fresh. The easiest way is by looking at the color of it. Most (not all, so in some circumstances this will not apply) antlers are brown on the outside from the deer rubbing it on trees and in the dirt, and if you buy an antler that is solid white on the outside, it is more than likely not fresh. Another way to tell if you have an old antler is if there are cracks on the exterior. As the antler lays in the sun, it will become dried out and develop cracks on the outside which will cause it to become weaker, and increase the chances of it splintering.
Old, brittle antler.
Get The Right Antler
The third way to keep your dog from splintering their antler is to make sure that you get an antler that is good for their chewing style. We classify our antlers into three chewing styles, amateur, average, and aggressive. Adhere to these labels as much as possible so that you can get an antler that is the best fit for your dog. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, and you get them an antler that is rated for amateur chewers, there is an increased chance that your dog will splinter that antler just because it is not strong enough to withstand your dogs jaw.
A happy dog with their new Axis base.
We believe that antlers are a safer chew than traditional bones you can buy for your dogs. Be sure to inspect the antlers if possible before you buy them, or purchase from a company that you trust and has a good reputation for quality antlers to prevent getting a bad chew. Remember, the best way to keep your dog from splintering an antler is to make sure it is size appropriate, fresh, and the correct cut of antler.