How to Prepare Deer Antlers for Dogs to Chew On
Your furry friend loves to chew on things around the house; unfortunately, your shoes were never intended to be your dog's personal chew toy. Deer antlers are a particularly good alternative to provide your pet because the bonelike material is extremely dense and will stand up to a massive amount of chewing.
Along with keeping your dog busy, deer antlers will also improve teeth and add calcium to their diet. With just some basic preparation, you can use an antler as a healthy and natural option for your pet.
Check on the size of the antler in comparison to the size of your dog. You never want to use an antler that is small enough for your dog to swallow whole, as this can choke your dog. Even as the antler is chewed down over time, be sure to take the antler away once it becomes small enough to swallow.
Run your hand over the antler to search for any sharp or jagged edges. Take a piece of sandpaper to the edge until you smooth it down, or rub the sharp edge against concrete until it becomes smooth.
Wash the antler in warm soapy water and allow it to dry. If you took the antler from a killed deer, and did not purchase it from a shop that has already pre-cleaned it, use a mild peroxide solution to clean the antler before washing it down. The peroxide will kill any bacteria and help remove excess dirt. Do not give your dog the antler immediately after cleaning it with the peroxide solution, as this can be harmful. Wash it with soap and water and allow several hours for the antler to completely dry.
Give the antler to your dog and watch their behaviour. If the dog is aggressively trying to break the antler in half instead of chewing on it, you should take the antler away to prevent damage to the dog's teeth. If the dog isn't interested in antler, place the antler in water overnight in your fridge. It is also possible to lightly coat the antler with something edible to give the antler an enticing flavour.