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.