The Wild Hound Outfitters Large Antler & Rope Toy is an interesting twist on your standard antler chew toy; adding a new stimulating element to an otherwise basic toy. For more information on antler chews including their benefits as a great chew toy option and their potential hazards please read the Wild Hound Outfitters Large Antler Chew review we previously wrote.
All of Wild Hound Outfitter antlers come from natural sheds of wild elk and deer found by shed hunters and their dogs in the Colorado area. The Large Antler & Rope Toy is constructed from an antler base with a ~ ½” diameter hole drilled through the center with a hemp rope laced through, tied at either end. It is Wild Hound’s largest Antler/Rope toy option and advertises as a minimum of 14” long and 3” wide; the chew we received fit these dimensions almost exactly. The large is intended for dogs 60-100lbs, while River and Rain are not quite this heavy I found they had no trouble getting their jaws around the antler base. Their other size rope/antler toy options include a medium antler-rope toy for dogs 40-60lbs and a small antler-rope toy for dogs 20-40lbs. Picking the proper size antler for you dog is very important, as selecting an antler that is too small may become a choking hazard – Wild Hound Outfitters confirms this potential hazard as a disclaimer on their website.
Ahead of receiving the toy we knew there was a chance that the rope would not last long as their website states: “If you have a heavy chewer it is not likely that they rope will last very long, but the antler base will last for months to come!” What we didn’t realize that the hemp rope could/would fall apart from spit saturation. For us, once the rope was chewed on and became saturated with doggy spit, it then dried and became remarkably stiff. When it was chewed again the rope frayed instantly; it was completely destroyed after a single day of use. Both River and Rain are very active chewers and took turns on the antler-rope toy on its first day home, and although we read the warning that the rope won’t last with active chewers, I still had higher hopes for it to last for more than a day.
We reached out to Wild Hound Outfitters to let them know how quickly it fell apart. They indicated that this is the toughest hemp rope they have been able to find. They are constantly searching for stronger natural and digestible fibers and will continue to do so. They also indicated that their own two heavy chewer pups destroyed the rope on their first day as well but there are other pups who simply use the rope to carry the toy around and it lasts for months. While we appreciate that the hemp rope is healthier for dogs to ingest versus other synthetic ropes, we felt it was important for anyone who is considering this toy to know that the use of hemp rope does have the drawback described above. Once the rope was destroyed I cut the rope off and the returned the antler base to the dogs and it is still in excellent shape. Personally I would love to see an option for buying the base without the rope – a drop down menu can be used to add on hemp rope or another style of rope for those who choose to opt in to adding the rope in.
We also noticed that the cost of the Large Antler & Rope toy is almost double the cost of the Large Antler Chew. Originally we assumed the increased cost was due to the labour to construct the toy (which for us was essentially immediately destroyed), so we reached out to Wild Hound Outfitters to confirm how they price their items. They indicated that all of their antlers are sold based on weight and used the Extra Large Antler Chew and the Medium Antler & Rope toy as an example – both are close to the same weight (7 oz) and there is a price difference of $2. They also noted that in their experience an antler base will typically last twice as long as an antler shaft. We haven’t had ours long enough to comment on the longevity of either toy. We can appreciate that things are priced based on weight but given that there is some overlap in sizing for the toys (Large Antler is for 40-70 pound pups, Large Antler & Rope is for 60-100 pound pups) we would have expected the prices for the different size labels (Large, Medium etc.) to be more similar. As an example, an owner of a 65 pound dog would need to buy both toys in a large. While they would be getting more weight from the Antler & Rope Toy they would have to decide if the additional weight, the fact that it’s a base, and the hemp rope are significant enough added value to them to justify the increased cost. From our experience I didn’t find the added cost of the antler base to be worth it at this time, but again we have not been able to test that the antler base would last longer than the antler shaft chews
This toy would work best for: dogs that lick or softly nibble at ropes instead of incessantly chewing them, dogs that are not interest in chewing rope but may be interesting in using it as a means of carrying an antler base, dogs that enjoy antler bases more than antler shafts, humans that are willing to accept that the rope won’t last very long
This toy may not work well for: dogs who like to chew ropes (which in my opinion kind of defeats the purpose of the upgrades on this toy), humans who are looking for rope that toys for their dogs that will last
Review by: Dogs That Hike Trail Tester @thenortherndogs