Naturally Shed Elk Antlers are becoming very popular as a choice for an organic - all natural dog chew. Elk antlers seem to last the longest giving your dog an alternative, organic dog chew that may be costly but worth every penny. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning antlers.
Are the Cost of Antlers Worth it? Antlers are more expensive than your everyday raw hide bones that you can purchase at the local pet store. Many of you wonder if it is worth paying the extra price? The answer is YES. There are several advantages to purchasing an antler chew over the other products on the market today. Raw hides have been known to cause gastric upset, intestinal blockage, a choking hazard, make a mess and have no health benefits to your pet. Elk Antlers are the all natural, healthy choice for your dog.
Health Benefits and Safety? Naturally Shed Elk Antlers are an excellent source of protein, calcium and minerals. Chewing bones promotes good dental hygiene as well as satisfying your dog's natural instinct to chew bones. As an elk grows, their antlers begin as cartilage and end up as a form of calcified bone as the headdress. At the peak of growth, antlers can grow up to one to two inches per day. Once this growth has ceased, the blood supply to the antler is shunted and the calcification process begins. In late Fall and early Winter, the calcified antlers are shed in the wild. In today's ever growing popularity of antlers being used as a natural source of dog chews, 'shed hunters' were invented to search for naturally shed antler racks. If not collected, wild animals would eat them for valued sources of calcium and minerals. The elk antlers are extremely strong and resist breaking or splintering. As with any pet product, careful supervision is always recommended. When the antler gets too small where your dog can place the whole thing in his/her mouth - you should discard.
No Chemicals, Dyes or Preservatives - Elk Antlers contain no dyes, preservatives or chemicals. They are naturally collected in the wild and washed clean. Unlike the many issues of raw hides and similar products on the market, elk chews do not leave a mess on your carpet, dog beds or even your dog's fur. These dog chews are truly organic and selected from nature.
Do they smell? Yes. Do they smell badly? No. Customers are constantly smelling the elk antlers at the local events Dog Italia attends. No one has ever chosen not to purchase an elk antler because of it's scent. There is a slight smell once the dog reaches the marrow of the antler but stays contained within. Unlike red smoked color additives most raw hides have today, the elk antler marrow does not spread like marrow 'grease'. If there was absolutely no odor, your dog would simply not be interested. Dogs are sensory animals and rely on their noses to find the good stuff.
Do they eat them? Yes. The nutrition and taste of the marrow within the antler is the true reward and health benefit for your dog. As your dog chews down the antler, it is ingested. No parts will break off that may cause a choking hazard. Once your dog is able to reach the marrow, they will be in love and work even harder to lick it all out!
Will they upset my dog's stomach? No. Elk Chews are actually a great alternative dog chew for pets that are on a special needs diet for allergy related issues or gastrointestinal problems. As with trying any new product for a special needs pet, please consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.
What is the difference in color? The whiter the antler, the longer that antler has been lying in the sun. Each antler in the wild will eventually bleach out and continue to calcify over time. The antlers lighter in color tend to be harder where as the darker tend to carry the most scent for the dog to show interest.
Does the size of the antler vs my dog's size matter? One of the most common worries owners have - will my dog break a tooth? If a dog chews something too hard or too large for their mouth, it is possible for them to damage a tooth. It is very important to purchase a size appropriate antler for your dog to enjoy. Dog Italia offers a size chart range for all dogs from 10 lbs - 100 lbs. If you choose an elk antler too large for your pets mouth, this may result in a problem or your dog will be disinterested in chewing. If you choose to buy an antler too small for your dog to cut cost, it may result in a choking hazard. Also, keep in mind the age and dental health of your dog. The elk antler can be considered natures's tooth brush. As the antler is chewed and worn down, the antler constantly changes shapes. This alone provides different chewing surfaces that will benefit your dog's teeth and never wear on one area of the mouth. Remember if you see blood on the antler or in your dog's mouth, there is no cause for alarm. Just like humans, dogs can develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease. Chewing the elk antler is actually helping clean your dog's teeth. A little bit of blood can be normal. If there is an injury, you will notice your dog not interested in chewing. It is always a good idea to get your pet an overall check up yearly with their veterinarian, a complete dental check up included.
How long do elk antlers last? The length of time each antler lasts will depend on how avid of a chewer you have at home. Elk antlers are known to last the longest over moose and deer antlers. Once the dog reaches the marrow of the antler, they may be able to work the antler down easier and quicker. The elk antlers for my two dogs Jaynie and Dakota (both over 70 lbs) - usually last 3 - 5 months. This seems to be the norm and consensus from most. For some dogs that only chew on them every once in awhile, they could last a lifetime. I still would prefer purchasing a higher priced elk antler over the every day raw hides any day.
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