If you’re a dog owner, chances are that you’ve discovered at least one chewed-up slipper or shoes at some point. Dogs will chew on anything and everything that they can get their paws on, as long as the taste doesn’t put them off. This is why dog owners invest in so many chew toys for their furry family members.
However, these chew toys are also made of plastic, river, silicone, and other materials that might have harmful ingredients. Since your dog is taking these toys into its mouth, any chemicals can seep into their system and cause a lot of harm. This is why several pet owners are now switching over to more natural options, such as elk antler toys. We’ll take a closer look at these toys and why they’re becoming so popular.
About Elk Antlers
There was a time when elks were hunted for their antlers by humans. This was because even in the times of ancient Chinese medicine, the health potentials of elk antlers were well known. However, such cruel practices are no longer legal or necessary these days, because the antlers can now be easily removed from the elks without harming them in any way.
While removing elk antlers is fine, as they grow right back up in a matter of months, you might still have some qualms about taking part of an animal’s body. Some companies even make use of elk antlers that have been naturally shed and can be found in the animal’s natural habitats. This is by far the best way to obtain your elk antlers, as it doesn’t even put any animal in the way of harm.
However, does that mean an elk antler toy will be good for your puppy? As it turns out, elk antler chews toys are excellent for dogs of all ages, provided that one takes the proper precautions. We’ll discuss this further below:
Dogs Need to Chew
If you have a dog or have ever owned one, you probably already know this fact all too well; dogs love to chew stuff! For dogs, chewing is a natural and even necessary behavior that leads to stress release and keeps them engaged.
Elk antlers make the perfect chew toy for puppies and big dogs alike because they are sturdy and healthy at the same time. Properly cut and shaped antlers don’t chip, so the chances of the dog getting hurt are almost non-existent.
Elk Antler Chew Toys are Good for the Teeth and Gums
Due to the fact that the elk velvet antler is rich in calcium, glucosamine, chondroitin, and phosphorus among other minerals, chew toys made out of the antlers are very healthy for canine bones, teeth, and gums. In fact, research shows that there might be beneficial properties in elk antlers that could contribute to a healthier coat of fur for animals. Some of the same benefits also apply to humans when velvet antlers are taken as a supplement.
It’s Completely Natural
‘Natural’ is admittedly an overused word these days, but there’s no denying the fact that it’s better for dogs to be chewing on a natural material than a synthetic one. Elk antler is also a source of calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients, which plastic or rubber options simply can’t provide.
A high-quality elk antler chew toy would never be dyed either, so that’s another big advantage. Wooden toys can be natural and safe from artificial colors if you are careful, but there’s always a chance that it will break. If that happens, the splinters might just end up getting lodged in the dog’s mouth.
They Do Not Cause Allergies
A dog can definitely be allergic to certain types of wood. Even when they are not, there’s a chance that the poplar, pine, or walnut chew toy that your dog has may cause an allergic reaction in one of the human family members.
The highest risk here is a child who spends a lot of time around his/her furry friend. This is why chew toys made from elk antlers are a much better and safer choice as compared to wood in every way.
Antler Chew Toys Clean a Dog’s Teeth
Believe it or not, antlers can clean your dog’s teeth for you while they have a fun time with it. Of course, you will still need to brush their teeth from time to time, but the antler toys will definitely make the job easier by removing some of the plaque and tartar buildups.
If you are giving your dog some elk antlers to chew on, there are some precautions to keep in mind. These include the following:
- You should know when to remove the antler from your dog’s mouth. When the antler becomes small enough for the dog to swallow and possibly choke on, it’s time to trash it and get another.
- Consistent or long-term chewing will also make the antler bone hard, which could hurt the dog’s teeth. Keep a regular check to see if the dog is chewing the bone comfortably or getting hurt by this action.
- Make sure that you actually get elk antlers and not those derived from deers. Deer antlers are much harder and likely to cause injuries. The issue is that they’re also the most common, so some companies might try to sneak them in as a less expensive option.
The Difference Between Deer and Elk
You might be wondering why we’re only talking about elk antlers instead of other kinds, such as the ones from deer or even moose. The main difference lies in the sponginess and hardness levels, with the elk variety being much safer and more chewable. Deer antlers, on the other hand, are quite hard and tough, resulting in dental injuries like bleeding gums or blunted teeth.
Antlers form mules and moose are also safe for chewing purposes, but they’re not as easily available as the elk variety. Elk antlers can also be split in the middle, making better options for dogs that don’t have a very robust chewing ability. Plus, the splitting allows dogs to get at the marrow inside, which is a healthy substance. On the other hand, splitting lessens the life of the antler, so they’re not for the larger, more aggressive breeds.
As you can see, velvet antler chew toys have a number of advantages that make them a better choice in almost every way. The only thing to make sure is that you are buying from an elk friendly source, where the animals are kept well and treated well. It doesn’t make sense to worry about one animal’s health while threatening the well-being of another.