Beef tendon chews are 100% natural dried beef tendons. They are usually taken from the Achilles tendon of a cow, but any long thick tendon can be used.
They can be sourced from all over the world, however in Europe, Turkey seems to be one of the main producers of beef tendon chews for dogs. They are by-products of the meat industry, and would have been discarded or minced up into dog food had they not been harvested for tendons.
Tendons are usually quite large, at six to ten inches long, and either air-dried or dehydrated with heat. Some tendons are wood-smoked to add extra flavouring, but this is unnecessary as dogs love them just as they are.
Most tendons look relatively natural, but they can be dried into a twisted shape or plaited together with another tendon or two. These twists and turns can be beneficial when it comes to abrasion against the teeth to improve the effectiveness of teeth cleaning.
Benefits of Beef Tendons for Dogs
Beef tendons are nutritious, low-fat chews for dogs which help improve dental health, as well as mental health, by providing plenty of chewing time. They also contain glucosamine and chondroitin which helps to improve joint health.
Beef tendons can provide a few hours of enjoyable chewing which releases endorphins.
Beef tendons fray as they are chewed and the fibres have an abrasive, cleaning effect.
Beef tendons contain glucosamine and chondroitin which are linked to cartilage production and improved joint fluid.
Beef tendons are tough to chew through, and will keep your dog entertained for hours. Constant chewing stimulates the release of endorphins; natural compounds which help your dog feel happy and relaxed. Coupled with the hour or two of distraction that a beef tendon will provide your dog, they are ideal to improve your dog’s mental health, especially if they are a worrier, suffer from separation anxiety, or need some distraction through a thunderstorm or fireworks display.
Also, chewing through tendons helps improve your dog’s dental health. The chewing action provides abrasion against the teeth, resulting in less plaque build-up and cleaner teeth.
Beef tendons are full of connective tissue. This is high in protein and low in fat, and also naturally contains glucosamine and chondroitin. These compounds have been scientifically proven to improve joint cartilage health of osteoarthritic dogs. Glucosamine and chondroitin are precursors for cartilage, and stimulate the production of glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) which make up cartilage. They also improve joint fluid through stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid.
However, there is a variable amount of glucosamine and chondroitin in each individual product, and it is unlikely to be sufficient to make enough of a difference alone. Therefore, joint supplements are a superior option to ensure your dog is provided with a clinically relevant dose of the compounds. It’s also important to remember that neither supplements or beef tendon chews are substitutes for taking your dog to the vet to receive treatment when he is uncomfortable.
Nutritional Information for Beef Tendons
Beef tendons are also highly nutritious. As already mentioned are high in protein and low in fat, making them excellent choices for dogs which are overweight. The average guaranteed analysis is:
Protein is an integral part of your dog’s diet and helps keep muscles strong, as well as synthesise DNA and hormones. A dog’s diet should be made up of predominantly protein, so beef tendons contribute to it very well.