Reading the ingredient label of your average dog treat these days can be an eye-opening experience.
You will likely be faced with a long list of chemicals, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. After giving up on trying to pronounce them, it takes a trip to Google to even have a clue as to what these compounds are – and why they would be present in any type of “food.” Even products that at first glance seem healthy can be full of surprises, and you may find yourself wondering if they contain anything natural.
Now the conventional wisdom is that this is what it takes to make a commercial product – capable of being shipped and stored. But it leads us to question…
Is this really necessary?
Well, judging from the wide variety of truly natural dog treats that have hit the market in recent years – No! It is simply a matter of convenience and cutting corners for manufacturers.
We do our best to refrain from eating processed foods and junk, so why would we not do the same for our dogs?
Introducing Himalayan Dog Chews
It is not too often that you stumble across a completely new and different type of treat in the pet store. When we first saw Himalayan Dog Chews we were immediately intrigued and headed to their webpage to learn more.
Turns out these chews are:
- Made of Yak and Cow’s milk
- 100% Natural
- Free of Artificial Preservatives
Himalayan Dog Chews claim to be long-lasting, but since they weren’t exactly cheap (which can actually be a good sign) we wanted to learn a bit more before we purchased.
We reached out to Himalayan Dog Chews to learn more, and they were kind enough to send us some samples! It took some convincing, but Harley and Charlie decided that they would squeeze this taste test into their busy schedules.
What exactly is a Himalayan Dog Chew?
Technically – It’s CHEESE (but the locals call it concrete, glass, or metal). Wait one minute…isn’t dairy bad for dogs? Read on friends!
How are Himalayan Dog Chews Made?
Himalayan Corporation estimates that approximately 30% of the production work is completed by their network of Nepalese farmers. The process starts by hand milking free-ranging, pasture-raised cows. The milk is then boiled for 4-5 hours then poured through a centrifuge device to remove the fats (removing the lactase that sometimes upsets doggy tummies).
Once the milk has cooled, it is treated with lime juice and salt. The acidity of the lime juice coagulates the milk and the salt speeds up the process! The solids are then separated using a burlap sack which is washed to remove the whey and any hints of lime juice and salt.
The solids are then squeezed between a bed of bricks for 3 weeks (or until they contain no more than 5% moisture). The resulting cake is then cut to size and is strung on ropes to cook under the sun and smoke for 2-3 months.
An initial sort for quality is completed in their facility in Kathmandu Nepal (10% of the work). From here the chews are then sent on to HDC’s warehouse in Washington State, where the remaining 60% of the work is completed.
Here chews are once again sorted for quality, buffed and cleaned with lime juice, packaged, and finally shipped to your local healthy pet store!!
Yes, you read right…Each batch of treats takes nearly 6 months to make!
Fair Trade, Ethically Produced….You bet!
“There doesn’t seem to be anything “fair” about this, can we please open it, Mom!”
HDC prides itself on the work that they do with their network of over 900 Nepalese Farmers. The chews are purchased directly from the farmer, allowing them to make more in one year than they would have in 5 years selling independently. Simply put, their “better than fair trade” policy is contributing to the economic development of Nepal.
How about the animals, how are they treated?
“Cows and yaks are raised in sheds, as it has been done forever. No modern equipment or techniques are used in raising or milking the animals. They graze on open grasslands or are brought fresh-cut grass by their families, and have never been introduced to hormones, prophylactic antibiotics, or other chemicals. Cows and yaks are considered to be sacred life-givers and are directly responsible for the improved economic situation of the family.”
What Did the Dogs Think? (Our Himalayan Dog Chews Review)
Our fear was that these chews would last for a couple of minutes. Both of our boys are aggressive chewers and will persist (staying up all night to chew a new bone). Would these treats last for minutes, hours, or days???
After opening the package, I had everyone’s attention (even Max the cat). I didn’t smell a noticeable odor at all, but the boys clearly smelled something because they acted like they were about to get some people food!
We decided to go with the 55lb and underbone for Charlie (he weighs about 65lb), and the 70lb chew for Harley (he weighs 90lb). The boys took their bones to their respective corners and went to town.
After about 20 minutes of chewing we noticed that Charlie had broken a large chunk off of his chew. After reading the back of the package and the website, we learned that this was okay, he could either eat the chunk, or we could microwave it to create a “puff” of sorts.
I was curious, so into the microwave it went. You can see the before (above) and after picture (below). The piece went from being dense and able to sit within a quarter to being much larger than the quarter and light as air! Charlie happily chomped on this little treat!! Yum!
After about an hour of relentless chewing, Charlie had managed to eat about 95% of the chew. HDC’s website indicates that if you have an aggressive chewer, you should give them the largest chew and ignore weight standards. If I had read more carefully, I think I would definitely have given him the 70+ lb size!! Was I disappointed? No-it was my mistake and the chew still lasted over an hour, whereas a typical “dental chew” last approximately 5 minutes, if that.
Not to mention, Charlie spent most of the next hour searching the carpet for little crumbs, which is pretty exciting in and of itself!
How about Harley (the craziest chewer ever)? Well, after being given the appropriate size treat, you can see below that Harley had made little progress in the same amount of time. We honestly were flabbergasted! Harley can take down a standard (non-heavy weight) rawhide in one sitting. Winner, Winner!!! How long did it take Harley to finish….well, we don’t exactly know. We went to bed within 2.5 hours of giving them the treats. What we do know is that Harley brought it into bed with him, and in the morning, it was gone!
Stomach or digestive issues?
Although the website shares that approximately 10% of dogs can experience some loose stools after eating a whole treat in one sitting, both boys were regular. Just happy puppies…Good deal!
Why MyDogLikes Himalayan Dog Chews
We love everything about these chews. They consist of recognizable, healthy ingredients, and contain no preservatives or junk! They are ethically produced and support the fair trade policies that we expect of our own food.
Unlike a lot of other chews, they last. If you use common sense and buy the right size treat for your dog (based on the aggressiveness of chewing), they will last hours and perhaps days. Although the boys finished these chews in hours, I could easily see a medium-sized dog taking days to get through the largest size of this treat. Often when pieces break off of treats, chews, or bones, we toss them because of the fear of blockages. We loved the fact that when left with little bits of this chew, we could microwave them and create another tasty treat for the boys! Plus it was just really cool to see.
Overall, is it worth it? Though they are slightly pricier than a rawhide/standard chew, they are much healthier for your dog. If you have a very aggressive chewer, I could see these being something you treat with them a couple of times per month. In our case, they also worked well as an emergency, “I need to occupy the dogs with something while I get some work done” kind of treat. If you have a medium-sized to small dog, or just not the “jaws of life” kind of chewer, I could see these treats as something that you keep in the house all the time, lasting for days at a time.
Want to give Himalayan Dog Chews a try?