top of page

Antler Chews for Dogs? I've never heard of that!

Most chew toys for dogs are disappointing, and both dogs and their humans are left frustrated.  They don't last long, dogs aren't very interested in them, and they don't provide any real benefit.  Your dog deserves the best chew that money can buy, and many dog lovers around the world are discovering that deer antlers make the perfect chew.  So let's learn a little more about where they come from and how they are prepared for your dog to enjoy.

male deer with antlers in winter ready to shed

Naturally shed

From the time a male deer is a year old, he will grow a new pair of antlers every year. They start as cartilage that begins to mineralize until it hardens into a bone-like substance with a center marrow portion.  During the summer, they can grow up to 2 or 3 centimeters per day! They are covered with a thin furry skin called velvet, which dries out once the antlers stop growing. At that point the deer will rub the velvet off against a tree, and on some antlers you can still see bits of tree sap from that process. Finally in the late winter, the blood flow to the antlers stops and they drop off naturally onto the ground.

Shed Hunters

In places like the American west, or in the mountains of central Europe, some people like to hike in the woods and look for antlers on the ground.  These people are called "shed hunters."  They collect antlers and either make use of them at home, or sell them to people who want to use them for different things such as making furniture, chandeliers, decorative items, knife handles, or dog chews!  Buying antlers isn't cheap because of the time and effort involved in finding good, fresh antlers in the forest.

Large recently shed antler lying on the grass.
Deer antler storage room

Cleaning and processing

The import process is very strict for Thailand, with inspection and certification at many steps along the way.  This is to ensure that there is no problem with the antlers from a health perspective.  We accept only grade A antlers, which means fresh, no cracks, and no weathering.  They are washed in purified water with no soap or chemicals.  The whole antlers are stored in a climate-controlled warehouse until they are ready to be cut. 

Cutting and sterilizing

When it's time to cut up some antlers, that is done using a dedicated bandsaw that gets thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.  After the antlers are cut, they are exposed to germicidal UV lamps for several days.  A metal detector is then used to make sure there are no pieces of metal in any antler.  Samples are sent to the health inspector to check for the presence of any harmful bacteria, virus, or prions.

Cut and washed deer antlers
Sanding down the sharp points and edges on the deer antler dog chew

Sanding and packaging

Each antler is carefully inspected and felt by hand, to look for any sharp points or edges which can hurt your dog.  We sand each antler and make sure it will be safe to chew.  After sanding, they get a quick rinse and thorough dry.  Then they are packaged in a food-grade plastic bag along with a dessicant packet, then heat-sealed.

Happiness, guaranteed

At Alpine Premium Chews, we are dog lovers (and also people lovers!), and our number one goal is for your dog (and you) to be happy with your antler chew.  If you aren't happy, for any reason, just let us know.  We will be happy to either refund your money or send you a replacement chew, whatever you like. 

Please make sure to understand the precautions before giving your dog an antler chew.  Look out for sharp points that might develop, take it away if it becomes small enough to swallow, and don't let your dog bite down too hard, since super aggressive chewers can possibly damage a tooth.

shutterstock_796422001 happy dog smaller.jpg
bottom of page