Oh Dear, Oh Deer!

November 16, 2011 § 28 Comments

Antlers… they evoke images of pristine wilderness and a wintery wonderland. But, antlers in tropical urban Singapore? Why, yes! Ever since hearing about deer and elk antler chews from our blogging buddies, we have been eagerly anticipating the introduction of these natural chews for dogs in the Singapore market. Seen as a novelty item, antler chews have yet to gain popularity in Singapore. So, it was with a bit of luck that I chanced upon deer antlers at a local pet store.

At the time of my visit, there was only one packaged brand of deer antlers available called AntlerChewz (made in Canada) with three different antler ‘cuts’ to choose from: Puppichewz, Seniorchewz, and Vitachewz. I selected the Puppichewz (S$17.90 @ Polypet) which is a piece of an antler sliced length-wise; this exposes the marrow-like material in the middle, thereby making it gentler on the teeth for puppies as well as dogs that are not as aggressive when it comes to gnawing on bones.

I have to admit, I was initially a little apprehensive about handing Maple a familiar, yet unfamiliar, foreign object to chew on. Beef marrow bone? Been there, done that. Chicken drumstick? Easy as pie. Deer antler? There’s always a first for everything, I suppose. Well, it didn’t take too long for my nerves to settle because Maple knew instantly (and instinctively) what to do with the antler chew.

Here is the furball giving the antler an orientation to her itty bitty teeth…

Before introducing it to her gaping mouth!

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the deer antler—not only is Maple enjoying the activity of gnawing and getting her chewing fix, but she is also benefiting from the  mineral-rich (calcium and phospherous) content of the antler. From an environmental standpoint, antlers that are: (1) naturally shed by deer and elk without harm to the animals, (2) responsibly harvested, and (3) re-purposed into safe dog chews seem to offer a sustainable option that I find hard to resist, especially after given our trial with the Nylabone non-edible dental chew.

What I also like about the antler is that it is virtually odourless and relatively hygienic—just give it a good wipe with a damp cloth, lay it out in the sun to dry, and it’s ready for the next session! I limit Maple’s time with the antler to 30 minutes or so, otherwise she would happily spend all day with it. This also ensures that she doesn’t ingest too much of the antler bone in one sitting. There should be a bowl of fresh water made available immediately after each session because, if your pupster is anywhere close to being like our Lil’ Miss Maple, the antler will definitely whet his or her thirst for water…LOTS of water!

These days, Maple has grown to become quite playful with the antler. She loves to toss it about, hide it in her blankie, and carry it around the apartment like a prized possession. At one point in time, this naughty pipsqueak got so protective of her new chew that she would retreat into her ‘den’ while holding the antler hostage. Thank goodness she has learnt to let go a little, but not before her 30 minutes are up!

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

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§ 28 Responses to Oh Dear, Oh Deer!

  • miss ene says:

    Ooh deer antlers. Gotta check this out at the local pet store. I give Moon fish skin and lamb bones to chew on and it creates such a mess!

    • Oh, I can relate with the ickiness of raw bones. We have to confine Maple on a special little mat that has been designated for raw feeding, so her freedom is rather restricted (although, sometimes I think she’s so infatuated with the bone that she doesn’t give much attention to where she’s situated). But with the antler, she can go anywhere she pleases… and often times it’s the rug she chooses to be. Fish skin, eh? Now that’s something worth trying out, too. Moon sure is lucky to get her fill of healthy treats!

  • annyboo says:

    oh dear oh deer.. hehehehe.. i should go check this out. Maple seems to love hers a lot and i am sure Dommy would too since they are both.. urmmm.. curly 😀

    i think your 30 mins chew is a good idea… usually we leave the chew to Dom and he’ll be on it the whole entire time… i would think he probably have a tired jaw by the end of the day.

    thanks for sharing 🙂 hope you are having a good day.

    • I have a feeling Dommy would love antler chews as much as Maple! After all, they already share similar tastes when it comes to fast food… Maple is a closet McD fan… but that’s classified information! 😉

  • Bassas Blog says:

    Great product test! I have never heard of antler chews before 🙂

    • About 6 months ago I, too, had never heard of antler chews! It was through the blogging grape vine that I learnt about these natural chews for dogs. Glad to be passing on the information 😀

  • It’s interesting you limit her to 30mins at a time. Do you know if there are negative side effects from eating too much of the antler?

    • Maple is addicted to the antler chew, which is why I think moderation is the key to avoid any potential mishaps. 30 minutes works for us—I treat it like a break and use this time to supervise Maple as she tackles the antler. After 30 minutes have passed, I’ll clean the antler and keep it out of Maple’s reach until the next session (either the next day or two days after). Maple gets giddy with excitement every time I whip out the antler for her to gnaw on and play with.

      In terms of negative side effects, I had some concerns during the research phase after reading about deer-related parasites… I wondered if antlers may contain traces of these parasites, but I couldn’t find any conclusive and definitive answers. I suppose one sure way to know would be to take a specimen of the antler and have it tested in a laboratory. Hmm, I might just try and figure out a way to do this!

      • Ahhh, I hadn’t even thought about the potential of parasites! Hmm I think it should be ok, don’t parasites usually feed on warm fleshy parts of the body? But I’m no science major so I wouldn’t know for sure. Thanks for letting me know though! It’s definately something to look into.

        In the mean time, I think I might try the 30minute tactic for some of Kip’s chews to see if they keep his interest a bit longer.

  • lexy3587 says:

    such cute pics of her enjoying her antler 🙂

    • Thanks, these pictures were the ones that made the cut. Unfortunately, a number of others had to be deleted… working with insufficient lighting and an energizer bunny can be quite the challenge for a novice like me!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Great review! I’ve never seen the split ones before; what a novel idea. 🙂 We still have an antler that my boys grew tired of, so I’m hesitant about spending the $ on another one. Of all the chews we’ve tried though, this was the one I felt best about giving them. Maple certainly looks like she LOVES hers!

  • Great information. The antler chews are pricey here in the northeast (US)– we found them for a lot less on a recent trip to Alaska. But as you said they last a long time and they have tons of advantages to other chews. I absolutely love that last picture of Ms Maple — great angle! She looks very intense and involved in her job of chewing. A very good sign of her enjoyment!

    • Oh, how interesting to hear a price comparison, and here I thought we were paying a premium for a teeny tiny 1/2 antler. They certainly do last a long time, so economically-speaking it’s not too bad an investment considering the benefits! 😉

  • M.C. says:

    You hit the tenor of those vintage ads perfectly. So cute!

    We’ve seen antlers, but haven’t tried them out yet because I’ve heard they last a VERY long time… unfortunately, the Bow gets a little too protective of his long-lasting chew toys, so we’ve don’t usually do those if we’re not around to supervise. Still want to give this a try though.

  • Anna says:

    The great thing about limiting a chew is also that they will want it longer. Or at least that’s what I have run into with mine. If I pick it up before they are “done” with it it leaves them wanting more so I get more “chew” out of it in the long run. I’m glad you found one her size to try! They are pricy but I imagine they will last a long time for you. Mine don’t seem to care for them much, probably because they are spoiled and have a lot of options. But they also just are not heavy chewers. I have been tempted to buy one of the split ones as I think they would be more apt to chew on it.

    PS, loved the pics too. She is a cutie.

  • totomameee says:

    They sell it in Singapore? Fantastic news for me!
    Maple is INDEED DETERMINE! TOto is such a lazy dog, maybe he is just like me, no determination at all. The first time we bought one that is a FULL antler, he can only lick abit of the inside, he lose interest very fast. The 2nd time we bought the same like what you have, it is gone to a few inches in a few days, like 2-3 days. Maybe we should get a BIGGER one!!

    I gotten the fish chew too, SMELL FISHILY bad!! Got it from Singapore PLC, 100% fish Skin …

    Yet to pass it to TOto, wonder he would love that, but I sure would hate his fishy kisses after that. Will review when I pass it to TOto!!

    • Lol, it sounds like TOto was busy as a bee working on that split antler which he finished in just a couple of days! A bigger one might help, although it’ll be hard to find larger pieces in Singapore… the ones I discovered were all barely half a foot in length. Fish skins, now that’s something I would be eager to let Maple try. Looking forward to your review when you finally have a chance to let TOto indulge in them!

  • Jean B says:

    Thanks for bringing my attention to the split version! My dogs like the whole ones, but only for a day or two. Given their cost, I’ve tried refreshing their interest by sticking the antler in a bag with some liverpaste or other smelly/tasty stuff and that works for a while, but I’m betting the split antlers will me more to their liking.

  • It’s a Miss Maple-lope! That brand you found is pretty popular here in the Northwest. I think it is the brand I see most. I got some for Chester and Gretel to try once but they didn’t seem to be raving fans. I think it is not stinky enough 🙂 They love the bully sticks but those things smell na-sty!

  • This looks like it would be great for my little miss jaws of steel, aka yuki, theres pretty much not anything that can stand up to her aggressive chewing. I have to buy her bully sticks meant for the big dogs so I can get her to chew on it for at least a 1/2 hour. This is something I need to try, I think she relieves her anxiety when chewing, that’s why I let her chew for as long as she wants. I of course provide her with water and she seems to behave much better once she’s had her chewing session.

  • Lady J says:

    How adorable Ms Maple looks chewing on her treat! I like how she uses her paws to hold on to the treat 😉

  • Kroten says:

    It reminds me of Cuttle Bone 🙂 Our calcium source.
    The last picture is amazing,perfect timing

  • 47 says:

    My dogs love antlers too. How fortunate you were able to get one for your dog!

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