A little while ago Dogs Naturally shared a piece about “Elk Velvet Antler Benefits For Dogs”. After posting this piece, many of our dedicated followers pointed out that the process in which these antlers are obtained is of great concern. After doing some of our own research, we agree. Below, Jessica Peralta explains why, even though elk velvet antler supplements are very nutritious for your dog, there’s one reason you may think twice before giving them to him.
Thank you to our followers for pointing out this issue!
The Problem With Elk Velvet Antler For Dogs
The potential benefits of deer and elk antlers have been known for thousands of years. They’re loaded with natural vitamins and minerals, including joint-boosting chondroitin, and the antler velvet (the cartilage growth phase of the antler) has been touted for everything from a sexual tonic to an immune booster. It shouldn’t be a surprise that in addition to an athletic supplement, it is now also available as a health booster for pets.
But there is an inherent problem with using antler velvet supplements – especially if you’re an animal lover. While naturally shed antlers are great chew toys and teeth cleaners for dogs, antler velvet isn’t processed in the same way. Though methods vary from using anesthetic to going “drug-free,” the fact is that the antler is removed before hardening and being shed naturally. And while many supplements companies do state their velvet is humane and cruelty-free – and some even go as far as stress-free – it’s hard to imagine any animal enjoying having a part of their body cut off. But the companies beg to differ.
This is what SurThrival’s customer support representative had to say:
“The harvesting process of the antler velvet for our Immortal Velvet extracts is a painless and ethical process. The antler velvet is gently clipped from the elk’s antlers at the appropriate time during the harvest season by the farmer who has raised the elk since birth. The elk are genetically wild animals, but are tamed through their living on a ranch. The animals have been working from birth with the rancher, so they are accustomed to allowing him to approach them and remove the ‘living tips’ of the antler velvet while they are grazing in the field. We liken the pain and stress level to that of a human giving blood…
“There are unfortunately a lot of companies out there that harvest antler[s] in-humanly and treat the animals with cruelty. This is very much against our [beliefs]. We would not want another animal to suffer for our benefit. They live long, healthy lives and are never slaughtered on our farm, where other farms will take the antler and kill the deer or elk…
“We numb the area before we cut. They are put in this contraption that makes them feel like they are getting hugged, which eases the animals and makes them feel safe as we do the process.”
Convinced? Though this doesn’t sound as bad as it might be in the case of less ethical companies. The point remains that without some numbing agent, the process can be painful, because the velvet contains nerves and blood vessels. But after all your efforts to keep your dog healthy by minimizing chemical exposure, do you really want to feed him a supplement extracted with the use of a numbing agent – in other words, most likely just another chemical? Or one that causes pain to another animal?
We didn’t think so. While it may seem like a good idea at first, it may be best to find another natural immune booster.
Goat milk maybe?
Learn more about the benefits of goat milk, here.