Churpi Chew FAQ
We created this Churpi Chew FAQ to cover the most asked questions about these chews. As these chews are still relatively new to many dog owners we have received many questions about them. The majority of dog owners out there know about the pros and cons of bones, rawhides, and bully sticks. However, the information on this old traditional Himalayan cheese is rather sparse.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions that are not answered in this list or feel like something is missing in the list.
What Is A Churpi Chew?
Churpi is known under different names, Himalayan Yak Chews, Yak Cheese, Chhurpi, Himalayan Dog Chews or Himalayan Bones.
These are all made from the same type of cheese.
The official name is Chhurpi Durka. Known to be the hardest cheese in the world. Churpi has been made in the Himalayans (Nepal, Tibet, and parts of China) for centuries, and is still made in the same traditional way.
The cheese is made with Yak milk (sometimes cow milk), lime juice and a small amount of Himalayan Salt. Chhurpi cheese is naturally dried and smoked, giving it a nice smoky scent and flavor.
The hardness of this cheese means it has a very low moisture content and so it has an exceptional shelf life ranging from 3 to 20 years, depending on how it is stored.
How Is Churpi Made?
Making Churpi is a simple but time-consuming and labor-intensive process. The milk gets heated to a certain temperature after it maintains this temperature for a while lime juice and a little salt is added to the milk. This will cause the milk to curdle. Imagine cottage cheese or ricotta, which will be floating on the liquid.
The next step is to separate the curds from the liquid. The liquid will go on to be turned into whey. The collected curds will get tightly packaged in cloth and left to dry under weights for a few days, causing them to lose a lot of the excess moisture and slowly harden.
After this initial drying period, the blocks of churpi will get cut in bars. These get strung up and hung in a hot place where they get smoked and dried for an extended period of time. Resulting in a hard bar of cheese that smells delicious (honest, they smell really good!)
Is Churpi All Natural?
Yes, the ingredients and the fabrication of churpi is an all natural process. The cheese is made and dried under pressure of weights for an extended time, it gets cut into bars which are hung in a warm spot as they are smoked. Churpi has been made like this for many generations and the process has not been changed.
Churpi is just made from the 3 ingredients. Grain-free, vegetarian, no fillers, low-fat and on top of that lactose-free!
Are Churpi Chews Safe For My Dog?
These Yak Cheese Chews are one of the safest dog chews around.
Being made from limited ingredients and in a very simple process this chew is fully digestible. Dogs will spend a long time chewing the actual bar, aiding them in cleaning their teeth as it slowly softens. Sometimes they manage to break off little pieces that they will chew on for an extended period of time to continue softening them.
However, just like any dog toy or treat, we do suggest you supervise your dog. Once the chew is nearly done, some dogs might try to swallow the remainder which could pose a choking hazard. The great thing is you can turn the leftover piece into a nice crunchy treat in the microwave so they still get full enjoyment and nothing is wasted.
My Dog Is Almost Finished Their Churpi Chew, What To Do With The End Piece?
As your dog works its way through a chew and, depending on what type of chewer they are, we suggest that you take the remainder away before it is a size that they could potentially swallow. Just stick your leftover piece of Churpi in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes. The Churpi should puff up nicely. Take it out and let it cool down. The result is this delicious tasty treat that is completely safe for your dog!
I keep reading about Himalayan Churpi Chews being microwaved, is it safe?
Yes, Churpi IS safe after being microwaved.
When a piece of Churpi is too small for your dog to safely chew, we suggest you microwave it for 1 to 2 minutes. Your dog will love this crunchy treat and, due to the texture, it will help clean your dog’s teeth. These crunchy treats are very easy to chew (and crunch!) for dogs and they love the smell. Please do make sure you let it cool down long enough before giving to your dog!
My Dog Is Lactose Intolerant Or Has Sensitive Bowels Can They Have Churpi?
Of course, just like us, each dog is different and responds differently to certain foods. Nonetheless, the lactose is naturally removed from Churpi during the heating process, when enzymes break down the curds and the lactose stays behind in the liquid. Often churpi is an easy treat for your dog to digest. If you have a dog who has a very sensitive GI tract slowly introduce them to the chew by letting them have it for shorter periods of times, but this hard yak cheese is often the least irritating dog treat available.
What Size Churpi Chew To Pick For My Dog?
One of the most asked questions, because it depends on the size dog, the way they chew and how powerful they bite down on their toys. A gentle chewer that just gnaws calmly versus a dog that it’s sole goal is to destroy any toy thats given to them in a record time.
The following chart is great to use to get an estimate, we suggest that if you are not sure to go up one size.
Is Churpi Nutritious?
Churpi is VERY nutritious! Both the Himalayan Yaks and the cows from Nepal graze naturally with the farmers. This allows them to eat natural, organic grass along with herbs and weeds that grow locally. Compared to a western, commercial diet where cows have limited access to grass or are fed prepackaged grains and hay, not allowing them to roam for what they need.
Consequently, being able to graze naturally increases vitamins and minerals in their system and in such in the milk! This type of grazing and natural lifestyle of the dairy cattle tends to cause Churpi to be high in B1, B2, C, D, E, K, and folic acid.
My Dog Is On A Low Sodium Or Special Diet Can I Give Them Churpi?
The sodium content in Churpi is typically less than 0.25% which, on a 4 ounce bar, would translate to less than 1 gram of salt for the whole chew. To put this in perspective, an average 33 lb dog should not have more than 2,000 mg of salt per day and a 4-ounce bar often lasts days, if not weeks. The average dog food actually contains 0.3% sodium per serving. If you are unsure if this treat would fit in your dog’s diet plan feel free to reach out to us and of course consult with your veterinarian.
Why Does My Dog Drinks A Lot After Chewing On Their Chew?
A common question we receive is regarding a dog drinking after chewing on a treat. This is mainly because us pet-parents are concerned that the dog might be ingesting too much salt. However, the increased drinking is actually not related to the salt but due to the intense chewing. It’s comparable to us talking or chewing gum for an extended period of time, you will need your water to keep going. The salt content in a Churpi is a mere 0.25%, almost negligible in fact, and definitely far less than many other treats given to dogs.
My dog has a soft stool after eating Churpi is something wrong?
If your dog never had a Himalayan Dog Chew and finishes a full bar in a short period of time they might get some diarrhea, a pretty normal response when a dog’s body reacts to a sudden change in diet.
Very comparable to the situation if you suddenly change from one brand of dog food to another without introducing it. It is simply a change to what their body is used to.
If your dog has loose stools it doesn’t mean the Churpi was bad or something is wrong, it probably was just too much of a good thing at once. Dogs that get these chews more frequently will not show this as the body considers it part of their normal diet.
However, most dogs will spend days with these chews and only ingest small amounts, when given the appropriately sized bar for them.
This should resolve quickly, within 24-48 hours. If your dog continuous to show abnormal stools something else could be causing his upset stomach.
Pieces Break Off The Chew Is This Normal?
Yes, sometimes small pieces do break off.
However, this is more common when the size Churpi chew selected is too small for your dog.
An extremely powerful chewer has the jaw strength to potentially break pieces off small or thin chews. Often dogs will chew those little pieces for a while prior to swallowing them, as the saliva softens the cheese.
However, some dogs are notorious “vacuum cleaners” and if you are concerned with your dog swallowing pieces that are too large or might pose a choking hazard then we advise taking the pieces away and microwave to turn them in a crunchy cheese puff your dog can enjoy.
My Dog Swallowed A Piece Of Churpi, What To Do?
Churpi is fully digestible and will be digested in the stomach acid. Regardless, if you feel like your dog has swallowed pieces of churpi and they cause a discomfort in a small amount dogs and might cause them to vomit once to get rid of the pieces.
Experimental data has shown that pieces of churpi immersed in gastric acid will soften and reduce approximately 50% in size after 8 hours, helping it pass through the digestive tract.
Even though the data is consistent with 100% digestibility, we highly recommend you supervise your dog while it is chewing on the Churpi to see if they are breaking off large pieces and to also take the final end piece if you feel it might pose a choking hazard. Just put these final pieces in the
microwave for 1 or 2 minutes and let it cool after. The result is a tasty very crunchy treat.
If your dog is breaking large pieces off with ease, we suggest you go one size up from the size your dog is currently chewing on.
Churpi Feels Really Hard Is It Safe For My Dog’s Teeth or can it cause a broken tooth?
The chances of a dog breaking a tooth on a Himalayan dog chew is less than most dog bones that are given. The outer layer of the Yak Cheese will soften as the dog chews on it and they will be able to get little pieces of the chew that are easily digestible.
Actually, it is this chewing motion combined with the texture that will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and strong and will massage the gums.
Please not that if you have a dog with a preexisting dental issues (small fracture, loose tooth or tooth decay) a good alternative might be our crunch bites, crunch bars or bully sticks. If you are not sure please consult with your veterinarian.
Can People Eat Churpi?
Yes, for centuries and still to this day, Churpi is considered a human food. The story actually goes that when someone gave a dog a piece of Churpi to see if the dog would like it, locals were initially somewhat offended.
There is a softer form of Churpi, made with just cow milk. The process is the same as yak milk variant but it doesn’t get as hard. Churpi has been used by the people from Nepal in two forms. The soft form, similar to Paneer, is used in hot dishes and is called Chhur Singba or Chhur Mingba.
The hard Churpi Durka made out of Yak milk. This because very hard and locals would take small pieces and keep it in their mouth like we commonly do with gum. They would wrap the hard Churpi in yak skin where it would stay good for up to 20 years.
Our Churpi Durka is a human grade food, making this extremely safe for your dog to enjoy!
Can I Give Churpi To A Cat?
Yes, due to the vitamin content, Yak milk is actually very beneficial for dogs and cats alike. However, most cats do not seem to have the same chewing urge like dogs. If you have a cat that loves churpi we would love to hear about it!