How to Sterilize Deer Antlers For Dog Chews

Dogs are great pets but their habit of chewing on everything can make your house a mess. But there is a fix for that – just like we get pacifiers for babies, you can get your dog a chew – for example, a deer antler. Some dog owners, particularly those with strong chewers, spend a significant amount of time and money looking for long-lasting and healthful chew toys that do not disappear in thirty minutes. A deer antler can make a great chew, but you will have to learn how to sterilize deer antlers for dog chews to avoid any problems.

Antler chews have been a popular remedy to this problem due to their toughness and ability to last for months. They also don’t make a big mess or have any negative effects on the dog’s digestive tract.

However, you’ll have to do a little cleaning before you hand over that deer antler to your dog. But there’s no need to worry as this is a complete guide on how to sterilize deer antlers for dog chews.

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Your Dog?

Deer antlers are perfectly safe for your dog to chew on and will offer them a stimulating and nutritious snack that they will enjoy. It can be intimidating to unwrap an antler for the first time to give to your dog. They not only come in large and distinctive shapes, but they’re also exceptionally solid and durable enough to last in your living room for months to years. You may have been put off by their size, and on that note, you may have been afraid to go out and pick your own antler.

Why do dog antlers need sterilization?

Yes, dogs around the countryside casually chew on deer antlers. But for your domesticated dog, it may not be a great idea. It’s because dry antlers are tough, and your dog can break its teeth or damage them. On top of this, dry and unsterilized deer antlers are filled with bacteria and other nasty things such as the deer’s urine and faeces. You don’t want your dog to put all that in its mouth and get sick! Therefore, you really need to clean them before your dog can chew on them.

How to sterilize deer antlers for your dog?

Now, there are several methods to sterilize deer antlers for dog chews. You can go through each of these and decide which one of the ways suits your interest.

Professional Help to Sterilize Deer Antlers for Dog Chews

Yes, you can get the deer antlers cleaned and sterilized by professionals. It is a quick and easy way to do it if you do not want to go through the trouble of putting your time and effort into it. However, you will have to put in some extra cash into it. If you can afford to then go ahead with it. And if it’s too much – you can do it on your own.

How to sterilize Deer Antlers yourself – Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Detach from the Skull Cap

The first step is to manually remove the antlers from the bony rectangular zone known as the skull cap. Because deer antlers grow out of the skull cap, this method requires a little elbow grease for separation.

Step 2: Scrubbing

After you’ve separated them from the skull cap, use a wire brush to wipe them down to remove any remaining organic waste. Scabbing is the name given to this procedure.

Step 3: Then put antlers in boiling water

The third step in cleaning fresh antlers is to boil them in water. Few people may disagree to this process, but it is critical to remove any bacteria that may be present. Fill a big pot halfway with water and season with salt. The cooking pot should be large enough so that all of the antlers is covered in water with no exposure. Place the pot over a fire pit or stove and wait for the water to bubble and boil.

I recommend doing this step outside over a fire pit, as it may produce an unpleasant smell that will stay for quite some time. To be honest, you won’t want to stink up your house by cleaning a few antlers.

Step 4: Boil

Allow the antler to boil for 30 minutes. You may need to reposition them at times so that every inch is soaked in boiling water. This procedure may be difficult, especially if you are dealing with massive antlers.

Pros and Cons of Using Deer Antlers for dog Chews

There are many pros and cons of deer antlers. The pros of deer antlers for dogs are as follows:

Pros of deer antlers 

  • Antlers have High Durability

You don’t want to have to replace your dog’s chew every five minutes. And you won’t have to if you get your dog antlers. Deer antlers are one of the most durable chews on the market. Depending on your dog, it could take weeks (or even months!) to work their way through the antlers. It’s a major boon: your dog gets a chew that will keep him amused for weeks/months and you get a wonderful, lengthy break from buying chew toys for your dog.

  • Dogs enjoy antlers

When you buy a treat or a toy for your dog, you want to make sure it’s something they’ll enjoy. And this is unmistakably true with dog antlers. Most dogs are obsessed by antlers. They smell nice, taste good, and provide hours of chew-centric entertainment—the ideal match for pups who enjoy chewing.

  • Antlers are more “natural” than other chews

Giving your dog too many packaged treats is harmful to their health. Antlers are a more natural option for a treat or chew because they originate straight from a deer or elk rather than being created in a factory.

  • Antlers Can Help in Teeth Cleaning

When your dog chews on antlers, it might help scrape away plaque from their teeth. This will not only keep your dog’s teeth looking lovely and clean, but it will also help prevent periodontal disease.

  • Allergen-free

Antlers are extremely low-allergenic for the more sensitive species because they are a unique protein not typically seen in normal pet diets and treats. Venison meat is a popular protein for dogs on an elimination diet since it causes less inflammation and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

  • Odour-free

Antlers are one of the few natural treats that are nearly odour-free, stain-free, and residue-free. A welcome break from typical goodies, which aren’t always pleasant to our senses! So, there’s no need to keep things in a separate, smell-proof room. With Antlers, you may welcome your chewing dog onto your perfect velvet couch without having an emergency steam-cleaning right away.

  • Environment-Friendly

Finally, for those worried about the environment, antlers are a better option than manufactured chew toys. Many antler chews are made from naturally shed antlers, making them suitable for everybody, regardless of their sentiments towards hunting.

Cons of Deer Antlers for Dog Chews

Antlers have advantages, but they also have disadvantages. Giving your dog antlers has several possible downsides.

  • Antlers Can Hurt Your Dog’s Teeth

The most serious disadvantage of dog antlers is the risk of tooth injury. Dog antlers are extremely hard and giving your dog something hard to chew on puts their teeth at risk.

Broken teeth are not only highly unpleasant for your dog, but they can also lead to more serious issues such as infection or abscesses. And what about cleaning your dog’s teeth? It is not inexpensive. Broken teeth (and all the associated issues) might end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair. Broken teeth are a pain for both you and your dog, and dog antlers can put your dog’s teeth in jeopardy.

  • High price

It will be costly if your dog breaks a tooth on his antler. But what if he doesn’t crack a tooth? It will still be pricey.

Dog antlers are one of the most expensive chews on the market, with high quality. Do they have a lengthy lifespan? Sure. But not for long enough to make up for their high price.

  • Dogs can choke on antlers

When you offer your dog chew, be sure it is safe for them to consume. However, with antlers, this is not always the case.

When your dog chews on an antler, it is possible that it will splinter and break into smaller pieces. If swallowed, the smaller bits can become caught in their mouth or throat, posing a choking hazard, or in their intestines, causing internal bleeding. Often, you won’t realize that an antler has splintered until your dog chokes or exhibits indications of an intestinal blockage—at which point, emergency intervention may be required. As a general rule, if your dog can easily fit it completely in his mouth, it is too small. In this situation, when the antler has shrunk to that size, it should be discarded.

  • Not All Are High-Quality

Antler chews can be dangerous to dogs if they are not properly procured and prepared. When chewed on an antler that has been lying on the ground for a long time, it is prone to splinter. Splinters might become lodged in your dog’s throat or damage organs.

Antlers can potentially harbour bacteria if they have been on the ground for an extended period or if the original animal was unwell. Make sure you get your antlers from a reputable supplier, so you know they’re fresh. Looking at a cross-section of the antler and looking for a diversity of hues inside the bone is one technique to check for freshness. If you locate or buy a prepared antler that is dazzling white, it has been bleached so do not buy it.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Like Deer Antlers for Chews? 

Because deer antlers are not smelly or greasy, they may not be as enticing to your dog as other treats. If your dog doesn’t seem to like them, try buying a deer antler that has been divided lengthwise. This exposes the softer centre, making it easier for your dog to reach the tastiest area. Some people also propose polishing a section of it or soaking it in water to improve its appearance.

Deer Antler Alternative Options

Because not all dogs are crazy about deer antlers, here are a few alternatives.

  • Toys for Super Chewers

If your dog enjoys chewing, a Super Chewer Toy is a fantastic way to keep them busy without the risks associated with antlers.

Look for a chew toy made of rubber.  Rubber has a lot more pliability than antlers so your dog can munch until they are content.

  • Horns

There are many various types of horns for dogs on the market, ranging from buffalo horns to bull horns and even sheep horns. They are nutrient-dense, contain no additives, and dogs adore the taste. They have the same safety problems as antlers in that they can cause tooth breakage and pose a risk of being ingested while little, but with supervision, they can make excellent substitutes for antlers.

  • Wrist Bones

These are a popular natural canine treat that your dog can munch on to keep their teeth healthy and entertained, but they are significantly less safe than antlers since they can shatter and fall off in chunks, causing foreign body blockages and gastrointestinal harm.

  • Dentist Chews

These are typically in the form of sticks that assist remove plaque from teeth when they are bitten through. They are wonderful for enhancing your dog’s teeth, but they are not as long-lasting as deer antlers and are high in calories.

  • Fetch toys

Is this one of the reasons dogs like to chew? It’s a way to burn off excess energy. But it’s far from the only way, and that’s where Fetch Toys come in.

Playing fetch with your dog is a fantastic way for him to let off some steam and burn off some energy. Grab a fetch toy and spend a few hours a day playing fetch with your dog it’ll tire him out and by the time the game is through, he’ll be exhausted. He’ll be prepared to go to bed.


Your dog can chew on a deer antler so they can be calm and not rip off everything in sight. But, to use them – you will have to learn how to sterilize deer antlers for dog chews to avoid infection. However, there are many alternate options like a plastic pacifier or other toys that can do the job and keep your dog entertained.

Leave a Comment