Antlers in general are unique to the Cervidae family, which includes animals like the Elk, Moose, White tail Deer and Caribou (Reindeer). Antlers differ from horns in that they are shed every year and the buck deer grow a new, larger set the next year. Animals like cattle or big horn sheep grow one set of horns and if you cut them off, they don’t grow back. However, antler is a renewable resource. When the antlers are shed in the spring usually around March and April, a time when their testosterone levels are generally at the lowest. The low testosterone levels cause the bone connected to the base of the antler to deteriorate and eventually they naturally fall off. They will then grow a new set which will take almost the entire summer to complete-before the cycle starts all over again.
During the growth period the antlers are full of blood, very tender, and covered in what is called velvet, a very soft, furry covering. The deer are very careful not to injure the antlers at this stage of growth, as a blow to an antler in velvet can damage it severely. During this amazing growth, the antlers can grow up to two inches a day. Elk antler is the fastest growing organ on a mammal aside from the moose antler.
By the end of August, most bulls have finished growing their antlers and they are sufficiently calcified that damage to them is rare. They will begin to peel the velvet around September and that’s a sure sign that the rut or mating season, is not far off. During mating season, the fully hardened antlers are used to mark the animal’s territory and spar with other males; both of which help determine male dominance with the herd. After mating season ends in winter these antlers are shed naturally by the animal. If left in the wild, these antlers are chewed on by squirrels, chipmunks, birds, mink, beaver, the next to kin of the dog coyote and even wolves who all enjoy the nutritional benefits antlers have to offer.
Each AntlerPure Antler Dog Chew is a cut piece of 100% all-natural PURE shed antler from North American Elk, Moose and Whitetail Deer. These chews are all natural and unprocessed. Better than cooked bones, these chews are more durable and longer lasting to stand up to even the most energetic chewer. Unlike rawhide, these chews are not only 100% digestible, they provide nutrients unparalleled than any manufactured product. The marrow center is the part that dogs love, and they will spend hours trying to get it all out. Antlers don’t splinter, virtually odorless and mess free. An antler chew can last from two to three weeks to months or even years, or not depending on the dog and it’s chewing tendencies, the size of the antler piece purchased, and whether the antler has been split or left whole.