Every pooch loves to chew. It keeps them entertained, helps them wind down after a long day, and can even help with teething pain.
Giving your pup a dedicated chew toy will allow him to engage in his natural behavior safely, while also ensuring your personal belongings won’t be gnawed to pieces.
There are plenty of chew toys out there that can help relieve your dog’s nomming urges, but some are better than others. Today, we’ll be taking a close look at one of the best: beef esophagi (aka gullet sticks).
We’ll explain everything you need to know about them, list their main benefits, and share some of our favorites below.
Best Beef Esophagi for Dogs: Quick Picks
These single-ingredient treats are packed with protein, boast a rich, beefy flavor, and are eco-friendly.
Slow roasted to bring out a beefy aroma, Redbarn beef treats are loved by most doggos and won’t drain your wallet.
These beef esophagus treats have a unique, braided shape that can make chewing more fun and relieve teething pain.
What Are Beef Esophagi for Dogs?
Beef esophagus is a dog treat made from the muscular tube within a cow’s neck. It’s located just behind the windpipe (trachea), and connects the mouth to the stomach.
Although it’s not easy on the eyes, beef esophagus is easy on your dog’s belly. It’s packed with protein, has a low fat content, and is extremely digestible. It’s also high in chondroitin and glucosamine, both of which help promote joint health.
Beef esophagi rarely contain artificial ingredients or preservatives, and unlike bone chews, they won’t splinter into pieces or damage your dog’s teeth.
The 7 Best Beef Esophagi for Dogs
Now that you know why beef esophagi are so awesome for dogs, it’s time to pick out the best ones for your pooch! Check out our seven favorite options on the market below!
1. Natural Farm Gullet Sticks
About: Natural Farm Gullet Sticks are made from one ingredient only, making them ideal for dogs with food sensitivities. Despite the lack of additives and chemicals, the sticks still maintain a rich, beefy flavor. They come in two different sizes — 5 inch or 6 inch — and three pack options (20, 25, or 50 sticks).
And environmentally conscious pup parents out there will be pleased to know that the packaging is made from 51% recyclable sugar cane. Natural Farm also donates to non-profit organizations tailored to protecting animals and the planet.
- Made from grass-fed Brazilian beef
- Single-ingredient with rich beefy flavor
- 2 different sizes, 3 pack options
- Packaging made from 51% recyclable sugar cane
- Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
- Range of options to choose from
- Can only buy 5-inch sticks in 20 pack
- Not long lasting
2. Redbarn Beef Esophagus Treats
About: Redbarn Beef Esophagus Treats come in two different sizes, medium or large, and each stick contains around 50% protein and 10% fat. They’re also slow roasted to bring out the beefy aroma and flavor that dogs love.
You can get these treats in bulk, or if you want to try them out before committing, there’s an option to simply buy one to two sticks. Plus, they’re just as easy on your wallet as they are on your dog’s stomach!
- Contains 50% protein and 10% fat
- 2 different sizes (medium and large)
- Can buy in bulk or individual sticks
- Slow roasted to bring out beefy flavor and aroma
- Affordable, with non-bulk options — perfect for trying out
- High in protein
- Strong beefy flavor
- Some owners said the size of the sticks can vary drastically
- Can be very thin
3. Hotspot Pets Braided Beef Esophagi
About: The Hotspot Pets Beef Esophagi are thick, tasty, and come in a braided texture, all qualities that make them fun to chew on. Their unique texture is particularly ideal for dogs suffering from teething problems, as it better massages their gums than smooth-textured treats.
- Available in 6 inches or 12 inches
- Unique braided texture, thick style
- Made from free-range, grass-fed beef
- Ethically made in South America and hand packed in USA
- Braided texture helps relieve teething pain
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes
- Generous money-back guarantee
- Strong odor
- Don’t last very long
4. ValueBull Beef Gullet Sticks
About: Beef esophagi typically come in small packs, with most companies offering 50 sticks in a pack at maximum. ValueBull is one of the few exceptions: It offers high-quality beef esophagus treats in packs of 100, 200, 400 and even 800. So yep, you’ll never run out, no matter how fast your doggo noms through them.
- Comes in quantities of 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800
- 6 inches in length
- Oven-baked to maintain taste and nutrients
- Beef sourced from Brazil
- Available in bulk quantities
- Treats are hand-inspected for quality
- Owners say their dogs can’t resist the taste of these chews
- They’re pretty thin
- Some owners complained about their odor
5. GigaBite Beef Esophagus Treats
About: With the GigaBite Beef Esophagus Treats, you’re sure to find the perfect chew for your canine companion. They come in a whole range of shapes and sizes, such as 6-inch thick braids, standard 12-inch sticks, and bitesize strips. The thick braided style is suitable for large breeds or moderate chewers, while the strips are ideal for small pups.
- Different sizes and shapes to choose from
- Slow-roasted, made with no additives or chemicals
- Suitable for puppies and adults of all ages
- Made in Brazil
- Easy to find an ideal treat for your dog’s size and chewing habits
- Resealable bag to keep things fresh
- Less odor than standard bully sticks
- Strips can be quite thin
- According to owners, the packs sometimes don’t contain the correct quantity of sticks
6. Hotspot Pets 12-inch Beef Sticks
About: These beef esophagus treats from Hot Spot are ideal for large dogs, thanks to their thickness, firmer texture, and 12-inch length. They also tend to last longer than other beef esophagus sticks on the market (though they’ll still be demolished in minutes by heavy chewers).
- 12 inches in length (featured pack)
- Thick and fairly firm
- Made from Brazil-raised, grass-fed cattle
- Different pack sizes available (1-pound bag or pack of 12)
- Ideal for large chompers
- Last longer than most other beef esophagus treats
- Odor isn’t overbearing
- Variable amount in the pound bag option
- Some dogs didn’t care for the taste
7. Barkworthies Beef Gullet Sticks
About: If your pooch is small but mighty, the Barkworthies Beef Gullet Sticks are a pawfect option. They’re bitesize, at around 2 to 4 inches, and are crunchy but soft enough for delicate mouths. The strips also work great as training treats for big breeds. Plus, they can easily fit inside most food puzzle toys.
- 1.5 lb bag of beef esophagus treats
- Bitesize strip style, 2 to 4 inches in length
- Beef sourced from Brazil, single-ingredient
- Each stick contains roughly 23 to 27 calories, high in protein
- Ideal for small breeds
- Suitable for training or food puzzle toys
- Good texture for delicate mouths
- Oils can stain surfaces
- Some owners complained about consistency issues
The Benefits of Beef Esophagus for Dogs
Beef esophagi are considered one of the best chew toys for a reason: They offer several benefits for your canine companion! These include:
- Safe alternative to other chews. Beef esophagi are highly digestible and don’t splinter like bones do, meaning the chances of injuries and obstruction are low. They’re also soft on teeth. With that said, always make sure you check with a veterinarian before giving your pup a new chew treat. Your dog’s chewing style, size, age, and health can all affect their overall safety.
- Offers a healthy outlet for chewing. Your pooch is going to chew, whether or not he has something you’d like him to chew nearby — it’s part of his natural instincts. Giving your dog a beef esophagus will allow him to relieve his chewing urges in a healthy, safe manner. It’ll save your furniture and slippers too!
- Promotes joint health. Beef esophagus is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, both nutrients that help promote joint health. The chew treat is particularly popular with pet parents of dogs suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia.
- Prevents boredom. Left to their own devices, dogs often engage in unwanted behaviors to keep themselves entertained, such as digging, excessive barking, and counter surfing. A dedicated chew treat will keep your pooch busy and mentally stimulated. It can also help relieve separation anxiety, as it offers comfort and a distraction for your dog.
- Encourages good dental hygiene. Beef esophagus treats can help loosen debris and plaque on your pup’s teeth. However, don’t treat them as a substitute for daily toothbrushing, but rather as something that can further help dental hygiene. Unfortunately, beef esophagi also won’t get rid of that… “lovely” doggy breath smell.
- Keeps the coat shiny. Beef esophagus is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to help a dog’s coat stay glossy. Research — including this 2004 study published in Progress in Nutrition — has shown these acids can also strengthen the immune system, help with skin health, and reduce inflammation.
- Relieves teething pain. Chewing on a beef esophagus can help relieve sore teeth, as it massages the gums and distracts your dog from the pain.
- Low in fat. Beef esophagus is one of the few chew treats that is low in fat content. It also rarely contains preservatives or artificial ingredients, making it a healthier option overall.
How to Select the Best Beef Esophagi for Dogs
There are plenty of beef esophagi on the market, and each is best suited to certain needs or situations. Like humans, dogs also have their own preferences when it comes to shape, size, and flavor.
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing out a beef esophagus treat:
Your Dog’s Size
The chew treat should be a size that’s appropriate for your pooch. A chew that’s too small can pose a choking risk, while something that’s too big will make it difficult for him to chew and enjoy. Beef esophagus treats come in different sizes, and most offer guidelines for what breeds they’re suitable for.
Small pooches do best on relatively small strips, like the Barkworthies Beef Gullets, while big pooches will love to chomp on 12-inch treats, such as the Hotspot Pets Beef Sticks.
Your Dog’s Age
While most adult dogs will have no problem nomming through a tough, thick chew, senior dogs may struggle with this. This is especially the case for those suffering from dental problems. Opt for a beef esophagus treat that’s soft and easy on sensitive teeth, like the Barkworthies Gullets.
Puppies experiencing teething pain will benefit from braided beef esophagus treats, such as the Hotspot Pets Braided Sticks, because the shape helps to massage the gums.
Your Dog’s Chewing Behavior
Every doggo has their own unique chewing behavior. Some love to gently nibble, while others love to chomp down hard.
If your dog is a heavy chewer, try to opt for a beef esophagus treat that’s dense, thick, and fairly long lasting. We recommend the Hotspot Pets Braided Sticks. Nibblers will benefit from softer, smaller chews.
Aggressive chewers who devour treats in minutes may fare better with a longer-lasting chew, like bully sticks.
The Chew’s Purpose
Chews can serve many purposes, from preventing boredom to easing teething pains. Below, we’ll list a few common purposes of beef esophagus treats, then include the chew that we feel works best for each need:
- Preventing boredom: The Hotspot Pets 12-inch Beef Sticks tend to last longer than other beef esophagus treats, making them a good option to keep your dog busy and entertained. You can also buy a variety of shapes and styles from GigaBite to keep things exciting for your pup. And if your dog spends hours on end getting his nose stuck in puzzle toys? Swap out his rewards with Barkworthies’ Bitesize Strips.
- Easing sore gums: Stick to something that’s delicate, soft, and massages the gums, such as the Hotspot Pets Braided Sticks or Natural Farm Gullet Sticks.
- Improving joint health: Virtually all beef esophagus treats are packed with nutrients that support the joints, so use other criteria to drive your choice.
- As a training treat: Barkworthies Bitesize Strips are the perfect size for training treats.
The Flavors Your Dog Likes
Unsurprisingly, beef esophagi tend to have a rich beefy flavor and aroma, especially if they’ve been slow roasted, like the Redbarn treats.
If your dog doesn’t care for the beefy taste, you can cover the chew in a flavor he will enjoy, such as a dog-safe peanut butter spread or cheese. You can also explore other healthy chew options, which we’ll discuss a little later.
The Source of the Esophagus
Most beef esophagus treats are made in the USA, South America, or Southeast Asia. The source is a consideration when it comes to the environmental impact, as well as food safety and quality-control protocols. If possible, it’s typically best to avoid treats made in Southeast Asia, where protocols aren’t very stringent.
However, always familiarize yourself with customer reviews, the company, and their typical manufacturing process. Some organizations, like ValueBull, hand inspect their treats for quality. Choosing treats made from free-range, grass-fed cattle is also a more ethical option.
How to Offer Your Dog Beef Esophagi
Beef esophagi are healthy chews that help dogs stay mentally stimulated. However, it’s important you offer your canine the treats in a way that’ll keep him safe and happy.
Aside from picking out a size appropriate chew, there’s plenty of other things to consider:
- Always supervise your dog: You should always supervise your dog when he’s chomping down on a chew, no matter how digestible or soft the treat is. Chews can always pose a choking risk, and your pooch shouldn’t be left alone with them.
- Don’t overfeed: You should always give chew treats in moderation. Overfeeding can affect your dog’s diet, cause excessive weight gain, and put him at risk of stomach problems. Feed occasionally, around a few times a week.
- Speak to a veterinarian: It’s best to check with a veterinarian if beef esophagus is safe to give your pup. This is particularly important for dogs with health problems, food sensitivities, or special dietary needs.
- Be wary of stains: Beef esophagi often stain surfaces. So, avoid giving your dog these treats on carpeted floors or couches. Instead, offer him the treats when he’s in his crate, outside, or on a smooth floor that’s easy to wipe clean.
Beef Esophagus Alternatives to Try
Beef esophagi are great chew treats, but they’re not suitable for every pup. Here are a few alternatives you can try that may be better suited to your doggo’s needs.
- Beef tendons: Beef tendon treats are made from cow connective tissues, the parts that hold muscle to bone. They’re moderately long lasting and are similar in thickness to bully sticks.
- Tracheas: Beef trachea treats are made from cow windpipes, and are similar to beef esophagus in texture, taste, and nutritional value. While beef tracheas are slightly messier, they do tend to come seasoned or stuffed with more interesting flavors, such as apple cider vinegar, peanut butter, and chicken.
- Beef cheek rolls: Tasty, chewy, long-lasting treats that most dogs tend to love, beef cheek rolls are pretty safe and affordable options for most doggos.
- Cow ears: Cow ear treats are digestible, affordable, and less messy than tendons and tracheas. However, they tend to come with additives and sometimes splinter into smaller pieces.
- Bully sticks: Bully sticks are made from bull penises. While it doesn’t exactly sound… appetizing, these treats are actually incredibly tasty for dogs. They’re also tough and long-lasting, making them ideal for aggressive chewers.
- Yak cheese chews: Yak cheese chews are made from skimmed yak milk and cow milk. They’re sometimes seasoned with salt and lime juice. These chews are long-lasting, dense, and have a delicious, milky flavor. However, they’re not suitable for pups with dairy sensitivities.
Beef Esophagi for Dogs: FAQ
Despite being digestible and rich in nutrients, not many pet owners know about beef esophagi. We’ll go as far as saying that they’re the most underrated treat in the dog world!
Of course, since they’re not exactly common, you probably have a few questions about them and whether or not they’re safe. We’ve addressed common concerns and queries below.
What’s the Difference Between Beef Esophagus and Beef Trachea?
Despite common misconception, beef esophagus is not the same as beef trachea. While they’re both located within the neck, the trachea is a pipe that connects the mouth to the lungs, while the esophagus is another pipe, located just behind the trachea, that connects the throat to the stomach.
Are beef esophagi good for dogs?
Beef esophagi are generally good for dogs. They contain glucosamine and chondroitin — both nutrients that help maintain joint health — and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which keeps coats looking healthy and glossy.
Beef esophagi are also high in protein despite being low in fat content, making them a healthier alternative to commonplace dog chews. With that said, treats should always be given in moderation.
Aside from their nutritional benefits, beef esophagi can also relieve teething pain, keep dogs entertained, and ease anxiety.
Are beef esophagi safe for dogs?
Beef esophagi are generally safe for dogs. They’re highly digestible, soft, and rarely splinter. Most beef esophagi also don’t contain artificial flavorings or additives, so they can even be suitable for pups with food sensitivities.
With that said, any chew treat can pose a choking hazard, so you should always supervise your doggo while he is chomping. You should also ensure that the beef esophagus is size appropriate.
If your dog starts to eat through the treat rapidly, or bites off large chunks, take it away from him to prevent digestive issues.
How often can dogs have beef esophagi?
While nutritious and low in fat, beef esophagi should only be given in moderation. Talk to your vet about the appropriate schedule for your dog, but most pups can safely consume one every other day. Giving your pup beef esophagi too frequently can potentially cause weight gain, stomach issues, and diarrhea.
Does your dog love to chomp on beef esophagi? Have they devoured any of the products featured on our list? Let us know in the comments down below!