Updated: Mar 16
Lots of people that bring brand new puppies home quickly find that puppies like to chew EVERYTHING in sight. They also find out that a lot of puppy toys aren't recommended to leave with your puppy in their crate or while your puppy is alone. And finally- once they find something their puppy likes to chew instead of their furniture and shoes they discover that it has given their puppy massive digestive issues... ugh!
This leads to a lot of searches our way and inquiries as to when puppies can start chewing on antlers because they are long lasting and easy on puppies stomachs... making them safer for your puppy and more gentle on their tummies.
The good news is- puppies can have antlers right away! Puppies naturally want to chew and having antlers around is a good way to promote that behavior on something that is acceptable in the long run.
I recommend split antlers for puppies because the marrow gets soft in the middle and is easier on their puppy teeth. I also like to limit the amount of time with an antler until I can see what kind of chewer the puppy is. Does your puppy seem more self regulated- comes and goes from the antler and takes breaks? That is a puppy that can have an antler left around for them to decide when to chew. Does your puppy get going and won't stop until you take it away? That is a puppy that needs a little more help setting up healthy habits, like taking breaks from chewing.
I recommend getting a size somewhere in between the size of your puppy and the grown size your dog will be. For example- you have a golden retriever puppy- a medium sized puppy that will grow to be an extra large dog. I would get that puppy a large sized antler. It will be a great size now, and won't be a toothpick for dog as it grows. The next antler you buy for your adolescent dog or nearly full grown young dog should be the size appropriate for your full grown size dog- an extra large in the case of the golden retriever. You can also move to whole antlers so that it takes your young dog longer to work through the antler. Splits chew down much quicker than wholes.
So the takeaways- go ahead and get one now, they are the perfect long lasting chew that is easy on your dogs stomach! Make sure you're prepared to limit time with the antler until you know your puppy better, buy bigger than you need *right now* in the case of very young puppies, and if your adolescent dog is chewing split antlers too quickly- move on to whole antlers!
I hope this post helps you determine if antler dog chews are a good fit for your puppy or young dog! Still have more questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an online chat request!
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