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Beef Tendons for Dogs: The Good, the Bad, and the Tasty

Chews By Meg Marrs 8 min read May 24, 2021

dogs love beef tendons

Best Beef Tendons For Dogs: Quick Picks

  • Pawstruck Beef Tendons [Best All-Around Beef Tendons] — Made in accordance with US quality standards, these low-odor beef tendons are ideal for medium to large doggos .
  • Hotspot Pets Beef Tendons [Best for Older Dogs or Those with Dental Issues] — Slightly thinner than many other beef tendons, these tendons are made in the USA and vet-approved.
  • Sancho & Lola’s Beef Tendons [Best for Small Dogs] — Measuring 5 to 8 inches long, these US-sourced beef tendons are a good choice for small pooches.

Every pupper loves to wind down at the end of a long day with a good dog chew.

Tasty chews provide an outlet for your dog’s natural urge to gnaw, offer some much-needed mental stimulation, and help his chompers look and feel their best. 

Unfortunately, finding healthy dog chews can be tough, as the market is awash with products, which all vary in countless ways.

But amid this crowded product category, a few — such as beef tendons — are starting to break out of the pack, given the number of upsides they present.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about beef tendons below, so you can decide if your pooch might like to add them to his goodie jar.

What Are Beef Tendons for Dogs?

Beef tendons are thick, connective tissue that comes from cows. Tendons attach muscle to bone (just like the Achilles tendon in your heel), so they’re thick and fibrous.

Beef tendons aren’t as hard as bones that may crack your dog’s teeth, but they can withstand a fair bit of chewing and are considered a moderately long-lasting dog chew, keeping your doggo busy for a long time.

In terms of size and thickness, they’re roughly comparable to bully sticks.

Besides being a relatively safe dog chew option that shouldn’t splinter, beef tendons are rich in valuable proteins, including collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and elastin. 

What Should You Look for When Buying Beef Tendons for Dogs?

While beef tendons can be a great dog chew option, it’s important to keep a few safety precautions in mind before making a purchase. This includes: 

  • Sizing: To prevent choking, you want to make sure the tendons are large enough that your dog can’t fit the entire piece in his mouth at once. This can be tricky with large breeds, but it’s a must, especially if your dog is prone to swallowing chews whole.
  • Country of Origin: Ideally, you want to seek beef tendons made in the USA. Not every country has strong manufacturing requirements with pet products. Look for a “made in the USA” treat seal or browse a brand’s website to find out for sure. If it’s difficult to spot a manufacturing location, you’re better off skipping a product to be safe. If you can’t find US-made beef tendons you like, be sure to stick to those made in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or Western Europe.
  • Safety: US-made tendons are generally safe, but imported ones can be given a green light if they follow the relevant safety protocols. Several international suppliers adhere to US standards, but always visit their website first to be sure. Manufacturers should clearly list what safety checks their plant provides. If none are mentioned, we’d take our business elsewhere.
  • No Unnecessary Additives: Flavorings and dye aren’t necessary with beef tendons, and they may even cause problems. Not only can they lead to staining around the house, but dogs with sensitivities may experience tummy upset.
  • Low Odor: Beef tendons don’t smell like roses, but they shouldn’t have an overwhelming odor. In fact, beef tendons usually smell better than some other chews, like dried fish or hooves. If you notice a funky smell, we’d steer clear.
  • Resealable Bag: Beef tendons typically come in packs, and to preserve freshness, a resealable bag is best. You can always slip them in your treat jar, however, as long as they aren’t too large.
Keep Safety in Mind!

Beef tendons are pretty safe chews for dogs, but no chew is completely risk-free.

Accordingly, you’ll want to be sure you supervise your pet anytime he’s enjoying a beef tendon — especially the first few times you give him one.

Best Beef Tendons for Dogs

Beef tendons are relative newcomers to the dog chew market, but a few worthy contenders caught our eye.

1. Pawstruck 7-9″ Beef Tendons

About: Pawstruck Beef Tendons are single-ingredient chews harvested from free-range, grass-fed cattle. Tough enough for a vigorous round of chewing, these are a pup-friendly pick for dogs of all ages.

Best Overall Beef Tendon for Dogs

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Beef Tendons by Pawstruck

Pawstruck Beef Tendons

Measuring 7 to 9 inches long and made from grass-fed cattle, these low-odor beef tendons should please owners and pups alike.

Features:

  • Made in Paraguay, Brazil, or Colombia
  • Each tendon is between 7 and 9 inches long
  • Despite being made overseas, the manufacturer follows third-party, US-grade quality standards
  • Do not contain artificial coloring or flavor

Options: Choose between packs of 10, 25, 50, and 100 tendons.

PROS

The length of these beef tendons is ideal for larger dogs, as your pup can happily cradle it between his paws with some slack to chew. The manufacturer even offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, which makes it easier to buy with confidence.

CONS

Because of their size, these may not be the best option for small dogs who may find them too long and thick to handle. A few sensitive-nosed owners noted a slight scent too.

2. Hotspot Pets Beef Tendons 

About: Hotspot Pets’ Beef Tendon Chews are a quality addition to your dog’s chew arsenal. Fully digestible, they provide a safe way for your pup to get his regular chomping in. 

Best for Older Dogs or Those with Dental Issues

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Hotspot Pets Beef Tendons

These made in the USA, vet-approved beef tendons are designed to be a little easier to chew than many similar products, making them great for older dogs with dental issues.

Features:

  • Made in the USA using free-range, grass-fed cows
  • Suitable for all breeds, per the manufacturer
  • Malleable enough to chew without breaking teeth (ideal for older dogs)
  • Contain no additives, hormones, or preservatives

Options: Available in resealable 10-packs or 1-pound packages, containing between 20-23 pieces.

PROS

The lack of odor and grease make pup parents and picky pooches happy, as your doggo to enjoy them without making a mess. Sizing is another win with the small-to-medium breed crowd that is often left out of the natural-chew market.

CONS

Powerful chewers may find these a bit too thin and might work through them faster than others. And because these can break easily, they may become a choking hazard if your dog likes to swallow pieces whole.

3. Natural Rapport Beef Tendons

About: Natural Rapport Beef Tendons are made using 100-percent USDA-inspected beef. Antibiotic and hormone free, they offer a fun way for your pup to chew and clean his teeth with no sneaky additives.

Best Flavored Beef Tendons

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Natural Rapport Beef Tendons

Made in the USA from US-sourced cattle, Natural Rapport Beef Tendons are smoked using real wood, which helps ensure a great taste dogs love.

Features:

  • Sourced and made in the USA
  • Contains no added dyes, preservatives, or grains—just beef tendon.
  • Smoked with real wood  
  • Each tendon is roughly 10 inches long

PROS

The resealable package is a plus along with the tendons’ size, which gives large doggos something to gnaw at rather than gobble down quickly. The lack of smell and grease won over dogs and pup parents alike, too.

CONS

These are too large for small breeds to handle, unfortunately. You could always attempt to break them in half for a more chewy-friendly option, however. Just make sure you don’t offer your dog a piece with a jagged end.

4. Sancho & Lola’s Beef Tendons

About: Sancho & Lola’s Tendons are hormone free, letting your doggo enjoy his new snack with no worries of lingering effects. Each chew is odorless and contains no dye, making indoor chew sessions a breeze.

Best Beef Tendons for Small Dogs

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Sancho & Lola’s Beef Tendons

Made for dogs weighing between 10 and 65 pounds, these all-natural, preservative-free beef tendons are made from Nebraska cattle and come in 10-ounce packages.

Features:

  • Sourced and shipped from the USA
  • Beef tendons are between 5 and 8 inches long
  • Each 10-ounce package contains 8 to 12 tendons
  • Your choice between beef and turkey chews (and elk seasonally!)

PROS

The size and strength work well with most small to medium breeds, giving them a chew that’ll last more than one gobble. The alternate protein options are also great for fur kids with sensitivities.

CONS

Heavy chewers will make quick work of these, as these run on the thinner side for beef tendons. Pickier pups may turn their nose up to the lack of added flavoring, too.

5. Natural Farm Thick Beef Tendons

About: Natural Farm Thick Beef Tendons are natural goodies that benefit your dog’s dental health by gently cleaning his teeth and gums as he chews. Provided in a resealable bag for freshness, they make all packaging with 100 percent recycled material.

Best Beef Tendons for Power Chewers

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Natural Farm Thick Beef Tendons

Oven-baked and made from grass-fed cattle, these all-natural beef tendons are processed in USDA-approved facilities and packaged in a resealable bag to help keep them fresh.

Features:

  • Use single-source, grass-fed, farm-raised cattle from Brazil
  • Processing facility is USDA, FDA, and MPA approved
  • Contains no hormones or additives
  • Each package has six 4- to 6-inch tendons

PROS

These are thicker and meatier than other options, which is ideal for larger dogs who may work through thinner cuts quickly. Taste also got a resounding tail wag of approval.

CONS

All that thickness might lead to tummy trouble with smaller pups who eat too much at once or those with sensitive systems. And while the manufacturer notes these as low odor, not every dog parent agrees. This can make indoor dining a nope and may be an issue with finicky Fidos.

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Dog Beef Tendon FAQs

Beef tendons aren’t yet as popular among owners as some other chews and treats are, but that’s changing every day. Nevertheless, many owners have questions about these unusual treats.

We’ll try to answer some of the most common questions about beef tendons for dogs below.

What are beef tendons? 

Beef tendons are the connective tissue that connects a cow’s muscles and bones. Their consistency also works well as a dog chew since they’re hard enough to gnaw but do not represent a very high risk for tooth fracture.

Are tendons healthy for dogs? 

Unlike artificial chews like ropes, beef tendons are an excellent source of nutrients, including collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and elastin. They’re a relatively low-risk way for your pup to enjoy chewing that isn’t as prone to splintering as some harder natural options, like elk antlers and bones.

Are beef tendons digestible? 

Yes, beef tendons pose less of a risk than other chews, like rawhides that can remain trapped in the digestive tract and expand. Most dogs can break off bite-sized pieces that are easily passed. You should always supervise your dog with any chew, however.

Are beef tendons a good fit for my dog? 

It varies by your dog’s needs and chewing habits. If he’s a small dog or average chewer, he’ll likely fair well with beef tendons. For aggressive chewers or those that love to swallow chews whole, beef tendons aren’t the best pick.

***

Does your dog enjoy beef tendons? Has he sampled any of the products on our list, or is he gaga over another? Let us know in the comments!

long lasting dog chew
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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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