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Best Himalayan Yak Chews for Dogs: Naturally Delicious

Chews By Meg Marrs 11 min read May 24, 2021

Yak cheese chews

Yak chew! Now before you say bless you to that sneeze soundalike, there’s no need. A yak chew is a very real — and very delicious — treat for your doggo. 

As the pet industry moves towards safer chews for dogs, Himalayan yak chews have increasingly joined bully sticks, tracheas, and other natural-based dog chew products in stores.

But while other options tend to get all the spotlight, the Himalayan yak chew deserves more attention as a tasty chewing treat

Read on to learn more about these hidden gems of the chew world, or just check out our quick picks below!

Best Himalayan Yak Chews for Dogs: Quick Picks

  • #1 Pawstruck Monster Yak Dog Chews [Best for Big Dogs] — These super-sized cheese chews are ideal for big dogs and power-chewing pups. Honestly, we’d probably consider them the best all-around option too!
  • #2 Native Pet Yak Chews [Most Sizes and Quantity Options] — Available in several sizes and quantities, this is the perfect choice for owners dipping their toe into the yak cheese waters, or those who know exactly what they want.
  • #3 Himalayan Cheese Dog Chews [Most Socially Conscious Option] — These treats are great in their own right, but the manufacturer also donates books to Nepalese libraries.

What Are Himalayan Yak Chews?

Despite what the name suggests, a Himalayan yak chew isn’t made of yak meat like a jerky. Rather, the chew is made using yak’s milk, which gives it the alternate name of yak cheese. 

dog yak chew

For those who don’t know what the floof a yak is, it’s essentially a big, furry cow-like critter that’s super cute.

yak

Well, kinda cute, anyway. YMMV.

Yak cheese originally hails from the Himalayan mountain range, and its still made there using traditional cooking techniques. 

Makers boil yak milk, add an acid (often lime juice), and finish the mixture with salt for preservation. Once combined, the cheese is dried or smoked over several weeks, creating a hardened, low-moisture cheese that your canine can chomp on. 

Some manufacturers may also add cow milk, while others might add flavoring, such as liquid smoke.

As with all chews, check the ingredient list before purchase to avoid any canine allergens that may be added during production. 

always Read Product Labels!

Note that many products listed as “yak cheese,” are actually made from regular ‘ol cow milk and contain no yak milk at all. That’s not necessarily a problem for all dogs or owners, but yak milk and cow milk do have a few nutritional differences (more on this below).

We’ve tried to focus on those that specifically include yak milk below, but there is one exception (which we note).

What’s the Difference Between Cow Milk and Yak Milk?

While both yak and cows are bovines, the composition of their milk differs. One study found that:

  • Yak milk contains more protein, fat, and lactose
  • Yak milk has more essential amino acids than cow milk, especially batches harvested in warmer months
  • Yak milk contains more calcium and iron
  • Phosphorus levels are roughly the same between cow milk and yak milk
  • Yak milk is obtained during breeding seasons, whereas cow milk is harvested year round, thereby affecting supply (and pricing!)

As you can see, while there’s nothing wrong with cow’s milk (in moderation, and assuming your dog isn’t lactose intolerant), yak milk is probably preferable in most cases. Although if your dog has trouble with lactose, cow milk tends to be lower in lactose and may be a better pick.

Benefits of Himalayan Yak Chews for Dogs

Himalayan yak chews have a hoof up over chewing competitors for several reasons, including:

  • They’re completely digestible. While some chews like rawhides can pose a problem with digestion, yak chews break down in your pup’s belly.
  • They’re entirely edible. When a yak chew wears down to a nub, you can soften it in water and give it to your dog to enjoy as a biscuit. Just be sure to supervise so he doesn’t try to swallow a piece big enough to cause choking.
  • They won’t cause stains. Stained flooring and paws are left in the dust since these chews don’t have any pesky residue or coloring to deal with.
  • They lack sharp edges. Yak cheese tends to have rounded edges, preventing the cuts and scrapes sometimes caused by other chews.
  • They’re not stinky. Unlike hooves, fish chews, or pig snouts, yak chews aren’t very smelly. They aren’t exactly potpourri, but they’re not as overpowering as many other treats. 
  • They contain minimal ingredients. For dogs with sensitivities, you don’t have to worry about a lengthy list of additives to weed through. Most yak chews contain only a single protein source (yak milk) and have little sugar or fat.
  • They last a long time. Yak chews are relatively hard compared to many other chewing products, giving them a decent lifespan against gnawing puppers and making them a favorite long-lasting dog chew.
  • Many yak cheese manufacturers are charity-oriented. Some manufacturers have locally based programs to support Nepalese farmers, earning a paw’s up in our book.

Are Himalayan Yak Chews Safe for Dogs?

With any new product, you should always question its safety for your doggo. While no chew is 100 percent safe in every instance, yak chews seem pretty safe for most canines.

However, it’s important to consider a few potential hazards and issues when looking at Himalayan yak chews, including:

  • Belly upset — Since it is a milk-based treat and something that’s likely new to your pup’s diet, some tummy trouble may occur, especially if your dog consumes a lot of the chew at once. Also, many dogs are lactose intolerant, which means these may turn your pooch into a living whoopee cushion.
  • Hardness — As with all hard chews, there is a risk of tooth breakage. That said, yak chews aren’t nearly as hard as bones, antlers, or other super-hard chews. 
  • Choking — All chews come with an inherent choking risk if your dog tries to swallow things he shouldn’t. 

To reduce these risks, always monitor your dog when he is enjoying a chew. Not only can it prevent him from eating too much at once or potentially choking, but you can also observe how easily he’s chewing it. 

If the chew appears too hard for your pooch, you can always throw it in the microwave to soften it (yum, warm cheese).

Just make sure you give it enough time to cool off so he won’t burn himself. Offering plenty of water is also recommended 

With all these factors in mind, the Himalayan yak chew is one of the safest, long-lasting chew options for most dogs.

Yak Cheese Color Varies

Note that yak cheese naturally varies in color. Most blocks are yellowish, but some can be closer to brown or even red.

This is no cause for concern, and your pup won’t care one way or the other.

The Best Himalayan Yak Chews for Dogs

While Himalayan yak chews are relatively new on the pet industry’s radar, there are several great options available today, including:

1. Pawstruck Monster Yak Dog Chews

Pawstruck Monster Yak Dog Chews are large yak cheese chews made using traditional methods in the Himalayas. Odorless and grain-free, they’re a hit for sensitive noses and pups alike.

Best for Big Dogs

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Pawstruck Yak Cheese Chew

Pawstruck Monster Yak Dog Chews

The largest yak chews we could find, these cheesy chews are all-natural and ideal for big dogs and aggressive chewers.

Features:

  • Extra large design made for medium to giant, heavy-chewing dogs
  • Undergo quality testing in Nepal and the U.S. to ensure standards are met before shipment
  • All ingredients are 100-percent natural 
  • Made in Nepal

Options:

Can be purchased in increments from 1 to 50.

PROS

If you have a big pooch or an aggressive chewer, this is undeniably the yak chew for him. The large size is unmatched, and these will last much longer than natural chewing alternatives.  

CONS

Small dogs will have trouble handling such large, dense chews. And since these are large, you also want to watch to ensure your pupperoni doesn’t ingest too much at once to avoid any tummy troubles.

Our Personal Experience with Pawstruck Yak Chews

Remy and I got to try Pawstruck’s yak chew ourselves. Considering I knew this chew was made of cheese, I was surprised by how hard it is! In it’s existing state it doesn’t pass the fingernail test, so it’s quite hard.

It’s nice to know you can microwave them a bit to soften them up if you’re concerned about them being too hard.

yakchew

Remy was very curious about the yak chew initially, but his interest was pretty short lived. After a few licks he decided it wasn’t for him.

I guess Remy is more of a carnivore dog! He’s a fan of bully sticks and cow ears but not these cheesy chews.

yakchewremy

I was pretty surprised with his lack of interest, but all dogs are individuals.

Luckily, yak chews aren’t terribly expensive so it’s not a big deal to try them out with you pup, even if your dog might be like Remy and not be a fan.

2. EcoKind Pet Treats Gold Yak Dog Chews

EcoKind Pet Treats’ Gold Yak Dog Chews are long-lasting, limited-ingredient treats that keep your pooch busy gnawing away. Natural treats that are free of preservatives and additives, these won’t stain your furniture or leave any sour smells behind.

Best for Lactose-Intolerant Dogs

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Native Pet Yak Chews

These lactose-free yak chews are a great option for dogs who can’t digest milk sugars.

Features:

  • Made with a blend of yak and cow milk
  • Provided in 6- to 8-inch lengths of cheese
  • Glucose and lactose free for stomach-friendly fun
  • Imported from Nepal

Options:

These can be purchased by the stick, or in 1, 2, 3, and 5-pound bag options.

Ingredients:

PROS

The hardness of these chews won over pup parents who praised their longevity, even with super chewers. The limited ingredients also earned high marks, as most dogs didn’t experience tummy upset or other adverse reactions.

CONS

Inconsistent sizing appears to be an occasional manufacturing issue along with mold, though the latter could come from packaging defects or poor storage. Pup parents also noted that these seemed to break easier than other yak products, making monitoring a must to avoid ingestion of smaller pieces.

3. Native Pet Yak Chews

Native Pet’s Yak Chews contain only four natural ingredients and no allergy-causing additives. Once nibbled down to a stub, just pop them in the microwave and offer to your pup as a tasty, chewable treat. 

Most Size and Quantity Options

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Native Pet Yak Chews

Available in several sizes and quantities, these chews offer a ton of flexibility for ordering owners.

Features:

  • A high-protein snack with low odor
  • Multiple lengths available, allowing you to get the perfect treat for your dog’s size
  • Sourced directly from Nepal
  • Money-back guarantee if they arrive broken or otherwise compromised

Options:

Offered in small, medium, large, and extra large in varying counts.

PROS

Durability is a high point of these chews, with most lasting for several chew sessions even for heavy-duty chewers. The variety of sizes is great if you have a smaller pup who may struggle with larger chunks of cheese. We also like that you can get these chews in a durable plastic container (rather than a resealable bag), which is convenient and helps prevent breakage.

CONS

Manufacturing consistency in size and hardness is an occasional issue, though the company has a guarantee, as we mentioned. Others noted that these shatter if dropped on hard floors, which can be a safety concern.

4. Himalayan Cheese Dog Chew

Himalayan Pet Supply’s Cheese Dog Chew is a milk-based treat that provides hours of tooth-cleaning fun. Made with limited ingredients, it’s an all-natural chew that is best for doggos 12 weeks old and above. Plus, it’s a dog treat that’s made in the USA!

Most Socially Conscious Option

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Himalayan Cheese Dog Chew

Your dog will love these high-quality yak chews, and you’ll love knowing some of your money went to a good cause.

Features:

  • A high-protein, low-fat snack
  • Best stored in a cool, dry place to preserve shelf life
  • Free of common allergens, including corn, soy, wheat, and lactose
  • Made in the USA
  • For each pound of yak cheese sold, one textbook is donated by Himalayan Pet Supply to a Nepalese library.

Options:

Offered in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.

Ingredients

PROS

This treat’s quality gets a wag of approval from pups and owners who find it long-lasting and hardy. Packaging also appears to be a win, as there are few issues with mold compared to some other brands.

CONS

Easy breakage and shattering are occasional problems reported by pupper parents. Like other brands some batches seem to last longer than others as well. A few pickier pups disliked the smoked flavor.

5. Himalayan Pet Supply’s yakyChurro Treats

Himalayan Pet Supply’s yakyChurro Chews are grain- and lactose-free snacks that are gentle on tummies yet strong enough to withstand chewing. Each bag contains four 6-inch chews for ongoing fun.

Ingredient Info

Note that these treats are not made with yak milk — they’re “yak milk flavored” treats made from cow’s milk.

Best Cow-Milk-Based Option

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Himalayan Pet Supply’s yakyChurro Treats

These chews are the perfect choice for owners who like the idea of yak cheese, but would prefer chews made from cow’s milk.

Features:

  • Grooved shape for extra dental cleaning with every chomp
  • Softer than other yak chews, making them a safer choice if your dog is prone to chewing too hard and risking tooth injury
  • As we’ve mentioned, Himalayan Pet Supply works with Nepalese farmers and women promoting literacy and job skills, so they get barks of approval across the board if you’re seeking a human-friendly pet supply company.
  • Made in the USA 

Ingredients List

Potato Starch, Cheese, Vegetable Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate...,

Just those four ingredients!

PROS

Because they’re softer than traditional yak cheese, these are a great option for puppies or older dogs. The sizing works whether your dog is small or large. Also, the lactose-fee ingredients can be great for dogs who don’t tolerate dairy well.

CONS

Since these are softer than traditional yak chews, these won’t last as long and eating the entire thing at once might cause tummy upset in some dogs. The potato starch and other additives may be an issue with allergy-prone puppers too.

Can You Make Himalayan Yak Chews at Home?

You may find yourself curious about making yak cheese yourself at home, especially if you experience a little sticker shock at the register. We totally get it, and while it is possible, it’s definitely not a feat for everyone

For one, some special equipment may be needed depending on the recipe you follow, such as a sieve or a drum. In some instances, you’ll need a smoker, too.

Not to mention you’ll need to track down yak milk, which isn’t always easy to come by. 

Some recipes include cow milk, but cow’s milk alone won’t get hard enough to create traditional yak cheese. If you’re interested, a traditional recipe for Durkha Churpi will set you on your yak cheese-making journey. If you try it, let us know how it turns out.   

***

Has your dog tried yak cheese before? Have you tried any of the brands we’ve listed? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your four-footer’s cheese adventures!

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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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