What are the Benefits of Deer Antler Velvet for Dogs?

While it is known that deer antler velvet has a host of benefits when taken by humans, there is research that shows that dogs, cats, horses and other animals can also experience these same benefits. The benefits of deer velvet antler include:

  • Increase in a dog's athletic performance
  • Promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Improves general health and wellbeing
  • Improves mobility, joint function, rebuilds joint cartilage
  • Increases cardiovascular function, endurance, and muscle efficiency
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Supports cell repair and growth
  • Speeds healing and recovery from surgery or injury
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps with recovery after surgery
  • Improves immune system function, resistance to disease and injury
  • Supports bone growth and the skeletal system

Deer velvet antler is much more than an all-natural alternative to standard animal joint and arthritis pain relievers. It contains bone growth proteins, anti-inflammatory compounds, and other nutrients that boost energy levels, rebuild weakened joint cartilage, and strengthen teeth and bones. Some of the naturally occurring properties are all the essential amino acids, minerals including selenium, chondroitin and collagen. The resulting benefit is a healthier, more active dog.

What is Deer Antler Velvet?

Deer antler velvet refers to antler in its growing, pre-calcified state. When the antlers are growing, they are soft to the touch or spongy. Unlike horns, which are keratinized tissue, antlers are organs. They have blood vessels, nerves, skin, cartilage and bone.

Antler growth is one of the fastest known types of tissue growth in mammals, and the only example of an organ that is shed and regrown each year. To be effective as a nutrient rich supplement, deer antler velvet must be collected and processed approximately midway through their growth stage, prior to their calcification. Because calcified, hardened antler does not have any blood supply, antler that is shed does not provide the nutrients desired for medicinal purposes.

No deer are killed for deer antler velvet. The largest supplier of deer antler velvet in the world is the country of New Zealand. On these farms, deer are raised outdoors on green pasture by farmers who are vested in caring for the healthiest animals. Once per year, deer antler velvet is humanely removed using local anesthesia, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, as required by New Zealand law. Deer are not harmed during the procedure.

What is the Composition of Deer Antler Velvet?

The chemical composition of deer antler velvet is highly complex, containing nearly 40 key compounds and 400 active ingredients. It is a truly unique superfood, containing the most concentrated source of widely-diversified nutritional substances ever found in the plant or animal kingdom.

Although the ingredients in deer antler velvet are generally known, it is believed that the combination of ingredients as a whole contributes significantly to the efficacy of deer antler velvet. Specific substances rarely perform alone, and consuming a whole food such as deer antler velvet, as provided by nature, are superior to using isolated elements, whether synthetic or natural..

Deer antler velvet, in “whole-stick” form from tip to base, is composed of approximately: 53% proteins, 34% minerals, 3% lipids and 10% water. It contains 13 growth factors, 21 amino acids, 20 glycosaminoglycans and many minerals and trace elements.

Proteins and Growth Factors

  • Amino acids – precursors for all protein production, aids tissue growth, muscle recovery and repair Insulin-like growth factors
  • (IGF-1, 2) – precursors for the growth hormone production, promotes muscle growth, tissue growth and organ health Epidermal growth factor
  • (EGF) – protein that stimulates cell growth to produce collagen, for cell renewal and wound healing Collagen – a structural protein present in bone, tendons, ligaments, other connective tissue and articular cartilage

Glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s)

  • Glucosamine sulphate – builds, maintains and repairs joint structures including bone, cartilage, ligaments, joint fluids and tendons
  • Chondroitin sulphate – helps protect and rebuild degenerating cartilage, gives cartilage elasticity, an anti-inflammatory agent
  • Hyaluronic acid – a substance that binds cartilage cells together and lubricates joints


  • Phospholipids – builds cell components and enhances cellular activities, repairs structural damage caused by free radicals, pathogens and toxins
  • Glycosphingolipids – compounds involved with growth and metabolism of cells and with memory and learning
  • Prostaglandins – regulates contraction and relaxation of muscles, regulates inflammatory mediation


  • Calcium – builds and maintains bones, teeth and nerves, important for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, blood pressure and blood clotting
  • Phosphorus – a key component of metabolic reactions, provides structure for bones and teeth, important for function of heart and kidney
  • Potassium – essential for electrolyte balance and also muscle and nerve function
  • Sodium – allows the body to maintain normal fluid balance and electrolytes
  • Magnesium – helps cells restore and release energy for regular muscle and nerve function

Trace Elements

  • Selenium – powerful antioxidant that reduces infections, protects blood cells, the heart, liver and lungs
  • Sulphur – element of insulin and various amino acids, protects body against toxins
  • Zinc – a component of more than 90 enzymes necessary for healthy skin, growth and the healing of wounds
  • Copper – essential for formation of red blood cells, energy making, bone and connective tissues
  • Iron – essential in the blood cells transporting oxygen through the body
  • Cobalt – Used for anemia and stimulating new red blood cells. Required in the synthesis of vitamin B12

Other Compounds

  • Monoamine- oxidase inhibitors – an enzyme that inhibits the oxidation of neurotransmitters, improves mood and feeling of well-being
  • Erythropoietin – a hormone produced by specialized kidney cells to stimulate red blood cell production

Does Deer Antler Velvet Really Work?

A scientific study by the University of Montreal showed that antler velvet provided considerable support for joint mobility, gait and overall performance in dogs with impaired mobility. It concluded that the administration of deer velvet was beneficial for supporting mobility (Moreau et al., 2004).

RESEARCH – Clinical Evaluation of Velvet Antler for Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Abstract — Velvet antler powder was evaluated on dogs with osteoarthritis in a clinical, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study. The study was conducted by the University of Montreal. Thirteen dogs received a placebo for 30 days and then velvet antler for 60 days. Twenty-five other dogs received velvet antler for 60 days. Gait analysis measured with a force plate, clinical signs assessed by an orthopedic surgeon, performances in daily life activities and vitality assessed by the owners, and complete blood analyses were obtained at days 0, after 30 days of placebo and/or 60 days of velvet antler.

On placebo, the 13 dogs did not show significant improvement (P > 0.05); however, their gait, their performances in daily life activities, and their vitality were significantly improved on deer velvet antler, based on changes in values exceeding those observed when placebo was administered. The 25 dogs on deer velvet antler for 60 days showed similar improvements. No clinical changes were revealed on blood analyses. Administration of velvet antler was effective in alleviating the condition in arthritic dogs.

A prototype dog food using New Zealand velvet as a functional ingredient was trialed in one of the world’s most extreme dog races in March 2006 providing excellent results. The 1,850 km race run day and night over 9 – 12 days was beneficial to both the animals endurance and stamina, a key element which aided their 8th place finish, out of 83 teams. One of the formula’s developers, Geoff Williamson explains “it’s also great for temperature endurance, which is important as a lot of the racing takes place at night.”

Deer antler velvet has been proven in university studies and veterinary trials to relieve the symptoms of Osteoarthritis, Hip Dysplasia, and Congenital Joint Disease (CJD).

Would Your Dog Benefit from Deer Antler Velvet?

Deer antler velvet can relieve symptoms of degenerative joint disease, arthritis and osteoarthritis. Degenerative joint disease is when normal wear and tear of articular cartilage causes the cartilage to become frayed, injured, torn or worn away. Without the protection of healthy cartilage surrounding joints, movement causes painful bone on bone friction. Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints, while osteoarthritis is the term for chronic joint inflammation caused by deterioration of joint cartilage.

These conditions can be a result of abnormalities like hip or elbow dysplasia, or normal wear and tear of an active lifestyle, or canine obesity. Osteoarthritis affects 1 in 5 of all dogs.

How do you know if your dog may have degenerative joint disease, arthritis or osteoarthritis? Here are the symptoms to look out for:

  • decreased level of activity
  • occasional lameness
  • stiff gait that worsens with exercise
  • walking slowly
  • difficulty getting up from laying down
  • shifting weight, favoring one leg
  • becoming aggressive or withdrawn
  • unwilling to walk, jump or play
  • refusing to use stairs
  • change in appetite
  • muscle loss
  • yelping when touched

Clinical records at Cedar Animal Medical Center (NM) show the effectiveness of deer antler velvet as reported by the dog’s owners.

RESEARCH – Dogs Treated with Deer Antler Velvet - Cedar Animal Medical Center Clinical Record

Velvet antler powder was given to dogs of all breeds and ages for various mobility issues by their owners and asked to visually evaluate the results of supplementation. Below is a table that reflects the benefits observed.

Breed Age Conditions Dosage Results/Owner Comments
Terrier mix 16 Appetite, activity 200 mg Improved for 4 months
German Shepherd 8 Hip pain 200 mg Improved for 4 months
Mix 9 Elbows 200 mg No change in two weeks, improvement with 400 mg
Dachshund 12 Hip/back 200 mg Improved
Blue Heeler 7 Neck, back, elbows 210 mg No change
Golden Retriever 11 Appetite, skin, low activity 200 mg “Great” “new dog”
Lab 10 Hips 200 mg Improved
Lab 12 Hips, back 200 mg Some improvement
Yazzie 8 Tendons 1000 mg Improved
Poodle 12 Kidneys, back 200 mg Improved
Basset Hound 10 Back pain 200 mg "Much better"

Where Can I Buy Deer Antler Velvet?

Most deer antler velvet supplements for dogs on the market have small amounts of the actual active ingredient in their products. Additionally, the deer antler velvet is likely to be very low quality and severely underdosed. The reason for this is that the raw material is quite expensive because it is highly sought after in the human dietary supplement market.

Antler Farms® is the leading manufacturer of the world’s best deer antler velvet. Made from naturally raised New Zealand red deer, Antler Farms® deer antler velvet is 100% pure, freeze dried, HUMAN GRADE deer antler velvet that has been carefully selected for potency. There are no additives or fillers. It is free of growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMO), and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The suggested dosage is one capsule (500mg) per 45 lbs. of bodyweight, sprinkled on their food, once per day. Each bottle of Antler Farms deer antler velvet contains 180 capsules and typically comprises a three to six month supply depending on the daily dosage given. If you are looking for the highest quality supplement for your pet, visit Antler Farms® for more information.