Hooves are banished! Antlers, welcome! Buy one if you haven't already!!

My vet is fantastic. I couldn't love him more. He calmly and patiently answers every question I have, is a busy vet who also does research for UC Davis Vet School outside of his practice so I know he's up to date on what I need to know for my little guy.

During our visit 2 days ago for Ollie's last puppy shots, I mentioned that sometimes Ollie spits up a tiny little bit of foamy vomit... no food, no bile, doesn't smell, doesn't slow him down, etc. Dr. Leslie immediately asked if he gets rawhide or hooves since he's a little guy and teething? Yes, I replied, of course.

Uh uh. Wrong Answer. Dr. Leslie explained that he would really prefer that I not give Ollie either rawhide or hooves anymore.... here's why:

Rawhide: even if it's all natural, it doesn't mean it's processed naturally and preservative free.. Rawhide is also dehydrated and in contact with fluids like saliva or fluids in your dog's belly, the rawhide swells... tremendously. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases internal rupturing or hemorrhaging of the stomach or other part of the gastrointestinal system.. on my end, the rawhide can get really gross at home and i hates finding sticky little bits of it on the carpet after Ollie had chewed it up..

Hooves: other than the fact that they stick to holy hell and back (enough of a reason for me personally to want something else!) they are chock full of toxins and carcinogens... hooves also are taken long after the animal has been slaughtered for meat and is dead so is literally taken off of a decomposing animal. Hooves also splinter often and easily and little pieces are swallowed without being chewed well... these can irritate the stomach leading to vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding, etc. The splintering can also cause dental damage to the teeth or gum beds.

Another reason? I feel my dog Wellness.... so why am I feeding him fantastic food, worrying enough to seek out antibiotic free wholesome food and then giving him inferior chews? Makes no sense at all, I just never thought of it that way before!

So, better options?

Antlers are the best! They are a bit pricey but apparently last 2-3x as long as other chews b/c they don't splinter and b/c they are natural and fully digestible, they are gentler on your dog's tummy.... again, b/c they have to chew longer to wear down the antler, they are also getting more of a dental cleaning and workout from it and so for Ollie LOOOOOVES them... when they are around, he doesn't come up for air for an hr or more! So you also get a babysitter We got him a small size split elk antler and a small size deer antler, each about $6.50... so they are sized for your dog and don't seem to have any odor at all!

Other options (which I won't go into b/c a) I don't know as much about them or have experience with them and b) am not planning to pursue them are bully sticks and raw bones)

*side note, this is just my personal insight and my vet doesn't sell any of the above products and has always given us sound advice for our pets so I believe his info to be spot on :) please post if you have more info!

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Comment by Tris & Jeanne on July 16, 2010 at 7:28pm
Thanks for posting this! Fox is always gnawing on rawhides and currently has possession of a hoof! I will try the antlers. We won't use raw bones on Fox... we did once... and it did not go over well with his digestive system. Live and learn.
Comment by Ollie & Prie Misra on July 16, 2010 at 3:27am
btw! I forgot to say that antlers are also a natural source for trace minerals that support joint and hip health such as glucosamine :)
Comment by Ollie & Prie Misra on July 16, 2010 at 3:08am
I bought antlers for Ollie (assorted sizes, different segments of the antler and some split so he could get the marrow easily, and a variety of deer/elk/moose) at Centinela Feed and Supply (see link below). I know you can also order them from amazon, from the website JN&C listed below, and you could probably ask around if there are local hunting clubs or groups/friends who hunt in your area :) They are a bit pricey but a friend of mind shared with me that her corgi/spaniel mix has been working on the same $6 antler for nearly 3 months... that's a pretty good deal! I'm a sucker tho, once Ollie liked the first one, mama went out and bought him 3 more :)


Judith, maybe try the split one? I'm with you on avoiding the stinky stuff when it comes to the raw deal... can't do it!
Comment by Judith Andre on July 15, 2010 at 8:17pm
I couldn't get Murray at all interested in them. I didn't know about the split antlers, so haven't tried them. I have given him compressed rawhide which doesn't come off in large pieces and I have never had a problem with them.
I used to get large knuckle bones, but gave up giving them raw as they stunk so bad. I would boil them and never had a problem with them. The smoked ones seem OK.
Comment by Jennifer Markley on July 15, 2010 at 3:17pm
I would love to get some antlers, but where does one find them other than the road kill here in Iowa?
Comment by Cheryl Nickel on July 15, 2010 at 2:41pm
As I have posted a few times before.....deer & elk antlers are very popular at our house. My dogs have been chewing on these for 3 years now. The "girls" have never had rawhide/hooves, etc. & Roscoe doesn't miss them at all. I, personally, try to purchase the naturally shed antlers. If anyone comes up with a good source that they would like to share, I would appreciate the info.
Comment by Kristin & Archie on July 15, 2010 at 12:52pm
The breeder I got Archie from would only give her dogs beef knees. She didn't really explain why. Archie loves them, but being in an area where many guys hunt and I can get antlers just about anywhere for very little money, I think We're going to go that route. The men are gonna hunt whether I want antlers for Archie or not, and unless it's a huge rack, they throw or give them away.
Comment by Ollie & Prie Misra on July 15, 2010 at 12:52pm
My vet told me to start Ollie off with a combo of a regular antler (I got deer) and a split antler (this I got elk) so that he learns that the inside is yummy and to keep working for it as it takes longer than it would with rawhide or hooves to get the flavor... perhaps that would help Monty? :)
Comment by Sam Tsang on July 15, 2010 at 12:31pm
Also Deer Antlers fall off and grow back every year naturally :)
Comment by Monty'sMom on July 15, 2010 at 12:17pm
So Monty has some Deer Antler chews but looses interest after the first day or two. Does anyone think an antler from another animal might have more appeal? I would really like to have him only on these but he just gets bored with it.

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