Friday, 18 March 2011

Product review: Give a dog an antler...

Fargo the Labradoodle is a professional-class chewer. It’s surprising in such a gentle dog. Present him with a rope bone and he’ll chase it and toss it about without harming a fibre. But he can make short work of any plastic toy or rawhide chew that crosses his path.

Fargo - a professional-class chewer
Even worse, he and the Whippets have a bad habit of fetching themselves a stick from the log basket to gnaw on when I’m not looking. Sticks are not suitable chews for dogs because they can splinter and cause injuries, so I have long been in search of something that the dogs will like as much as a stick, without the health risks.

I’d read about the Stagbar, which is essentially part of a deer’s antler and, according to its manufacturers, will last a long time without splintering or chipping. ‘Aha!’ I thought, ‘this might just do the trick.’ So at Crufts last Saturday, I went in search of these magical treats.

Billy: 'Don't even think about stealing my Stagbar!'
The manufacturers claim that Stagbars wear down slowly and contain important minerals. They don’t smell and they won’t leave a mess on your carpet. I can only take their word for the mineral content, but the dogs certainly love them, and after several chewing sessions they’re showing very few signs of wear and tear.

They were an instant hit with all three dogs and this very afternoon, they’ve all spent a happy hour or two chewing away. While I still have my suspicions regarding the stick-theft, I’m happy to report that log-basket raids are definitely on the decline.

The Stagbar is not a ‘boredom buster’ to keep your dog occupied while you’re out of the house. Like any dog chew, they’re not to be left with your dog unattended. In fact, they’re so popular with my dogs that they can lead to some competition – I had to intervene the other day when Charlie the Whippet decided he wanted Billy’s antler as well as his own. But I work from home, and I can vouch for them as a way to keep the boys out of mischief while I get on with some writing.

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