The world has gone churpi mad! In all reality there is actually a lot of positive reasons to consider churpi cheese (also known as Yak cheese). If you want to spell Churpi cheese correctly, you need an extra ‘h’ – chhurpi. Of course, “yak cheese” just sounds like something you would probably leave on the store shelf!
Meet Your New Favorite Dog Chew: Chhurpi / Durkha
For those of us pet-parents who care about our fur-babies and treat their health and well-being like we would any other member of our family, what our dogs chew is important. Finding the safest, tastiest, and longest lasting dog chew for your pup that is actually good for his or her teeth and gums is a high priority.
And because you’re taking the time out of your busy day to read this article, we know you’re one of us. Let us fill you in on an amazing all-natural product that your pooch will salivate over. It comes from the exotic nether regions of far-off Tibet and is now known as churpi cheese. It is worth noting that it is more than a Himalayan dog chew! Churpi cheese can be used in all aspects of your dog’s nutrition.
The Himalayan Nomadic Lifestyle
Famous for housing Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth, the Himalayan mountain region is home to only the heartiest of plants, animals, and people. Despite the harsh conditions of this high-altitude mountain climate, the Tibetan nomads have been able to thrive over many generations through extreme cold, high altitude, lack of adequate oxygen, and strong UV radiation on a diet many would consider malnutrition.
During the majority of the year where fruits and vegetables are scarce, the typical Yak herder’s diet consists of little more than Yak milk and the cheese they make from it, Chhurpi or Durkha. Yet these are some of the healthiest people on earth. Have these superhumans of Nepal, Tibet, India, and Bhutan somehow adapted to this extreme and unforgiving environment, or do they know something we don’t?
The Newest Superfood Health Buzz: Yak Milk
According to Food and Nutrition Sciences, Yak milk is “rich in numerous bioactive substances that function beyond their nutritive value.” A high-energy source, Yak milk is richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, casein, and fat than any other milk. Yak milk boasts both amino acids and calcium content 15% higher than cow’s milk, as well as significantly higher amounts of vitamin A. Studies have shown this elixir of life can improve bone density and strengthen the immune system. The milk also aids in building muscle tissue and controlling diabetes.
Turning Yak Milk Into Cheese and Butter
Yak herders have traditionally make Yak butter to use in their infamous Yak butter tea (which we’re told has quite the distinctive flavor), soft cheeses often mixed into rice dishes, and their harder crowned jewel: Chhurpi. Traditional recipes include only Yak buttermilk, a few drops of lime juice, and a dash of salt to separate the curds and whey. Drain curds wrapping them in thin cheese cloths or jute bags. The whey forms a soft cheese, which is similar in texture, color, and flavor to Italian ricotta. This soft, white, neutrally flavored cheese can be left out to ferment, giving it a tangier flavor profile.
Tibetan nomads use the hard variety used as a kind of traveling jerky. The curds are wrapped in a jute bag and hard-pressed. Once completely dried out, it is cut into smaller sticks and hung over an open fire to further harden it. The Yak Herders, ever on the move, typically consume this hard chhurpi by breaking off a chunk and storing in their cheek where it slowly softens over time and becomes chewable. Keeping a small cube in the cheek-cavity lasts humans about two hours.
An Excellent Dog Treat
The street dogs in Himalayan communities are known for being robust, with shiny coats and clean teeth. The great health is probably due to snacking on the scraps of Chhurpi thrown out by the locals. The high protein content naturally derived tangy flavor, and incredibly hard texture make Chhurpi /Durkha a superior treat for dogs.
These natural Himalayan dog chew products are now hitting the market in a big way. Being 3-4 times harder than a bone or bully stick, the prolonged gnawing cleans teeth of plaque and tartar.
Pitfalls of other Popular Chews
Rawhide has been a go-to for many large dog owners because they tend to last longer than other chews. However, if you have an over-enthusiastic chewer, they can end up swallowing large chunks, which is a choking hazard. In addition, many brands of rawhide chews are treated with potentially harmful chemicals, so even if they don’t choke, they are consuming less-than-desirable ingredients.
There are a few brands of rawhides that are digestible and safe for certain dogs. For the most part, we strongly advise against using rawhide for any pet. Check with your veterinarian before buying these for your pup and read our previous article on the topic of rawhide and bully sticks.
Synthetic ‘Bones’ Made From Nylon or Plastic
Why would you give your best friend plastic to chew on? This idea stumps many veterinarians and pet advocates alike. Yet, many popular dog chews are made from plastic and polymeric materials. Not only can they damage teeth due to their extremely hard makeup, but as the dog chews, they can cause sharp edges to form which lacerate the inside of the dog’s mouth, leaving tiny cuts that are a hotbed for bacteria and infection. If your furbaby does manage to break off a chunk and swallow it, as many determined chewers will, these indigestible bits, when swallowed, can pose serious health risks. Let’s looks at other more natural options like bones, horns, rawhide, and churpi cheese.
Animal Bones, Horns, or Other Animal Parts
Cooked bones are hard, indigestible, and put your pooch’s teeth and GI Tract at serious risk. Many dogs will crack and chip their teeth chewing these. If they do manage to splinter the bone, sharp shards cause cuts inside the mouth and possible internal damage and bleeding. This outcome leads to risky and expensive surgeries.
Uncooked bones can be a safe alternative, but are typically harder to come by. Chicken bones are typically too small to avoid getting lodged in the dog’s throat and can cause choking. Large raw beef bones, other large animal bones, or tracheas are the best bet here, but they can only be safely kept out of the refrigerator or freezer for a few hours at a time due to foodborne illness risks. Contamination will probably occur on every surface the uncooked animal part touches. Hello bacteria!
Before the discovery of Churpi cheese, the demand for bully sticks was extremely high. Made from beef pizzle, or penis (Yes. Eew!), dogs tend to love them and they were previously known for lasting longer than other choices on the market. The downside here is the smell. It may seem insignificant but talk to us after you’ve had your pup carry it around your house. The odor can be strong, noxious, and it lingers. Also, just the thought of cow pizzle germs on all your household surfaces gives most people a strong case of the willies.
These specialized chews help your pooch keep his teeth in tip-top shape and thought the safest bet, until now. Provided as a safe alternative to brushing, these chews are made specifically with a dog’s oral health in mind. However, most are man-made, with many brands using synthetic ingredients that may be less than ideal. If you do go this route, make sure to research the ingredients. It doesn’t take most dogs nearly as long to chew these as some of the other products on the market. While they may seem cheaper, as they go through them at a much faster rate, they can get expensive.
The Chhurpi Chew Advantage
Churpi Chews are all natural, made with the same ingredients the Himalayan Nomads have used for centuries, and have amazing health benefits. Dogs love them for their tangy cheesy flavor, but they carry very little odor, except perhaps a slightly smokey aroma from the drying process. Perhaps the greatest advantage Churpi cheese has over other do treats is their texture. Being extremely hard, your dog has to gnaw over a period of time to get the cheese to melt. These are by far the longest-lasting dog chew on the market today, making them a great value.
The edges of the churpi cheese turn into a 100% digestible and healthful gummy substance. It is then the dog must chew and lick to ingest, thereby cleaning his or her teeth and gums. A well made churpi cheese never has any sharp edges or splinters that could damage the mouth or digestive tract. These delicious treats provide a quality source of nutrition with significant percentages of amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. They possess much higher contents of Vitamins A, B, C, and K. In addition, this treat carries the benefits of being a grass-fed dairy product.
No Meat or Hide
High in bioactive components such crucial enzymes needed by your pup’s liver and other organs to function properly, these chhurpi chews carry active-culture probiotic bacteria to protect his or her entire digestive biome. These churpi chews come from milk and not animal parts, they do not contain any of the health risks associated with FDA-allowed 4D ingredients (dead, dying, diseased, or disabled) of rendered animal source treats. Your pup will not be dragging any kind of germ-filled carcass through your home.
What could be better than an all natural, grain-free, preservative-free, gluten-free treat that tastes great? We strongly recommend considering churpi cheese for your dog’s next treat.