The Rise of Beef Cheek Rolls: A Healthy and Tasty Trend for Your Pup


Beef cheek rolls, the latest sensation taking over TikTok, have become the talk of pup parents everywhere. Although these chew treats have been around for some time, they are just now gaining popularity due to their durability, affordability, and delicious taste. However, as with any new trend, skeptics have also emerged, and it’s essential to ask questions and gather information before introducing any new treat to your beloved four-legged friend. In this article, we will dive into the world of beef cheek rolls, addressing concerns, exploring their differences from rawhide, and highlighting various brands available in the market.

So, Why the Concern About Beef Cheeks?

One of the most significant concerns surrounding beef cheek rolls is their resemblance to rawhide chews. The white appearance of these treats closely resembles rawhide, leading many pet parents to question their nature. While there is limited information available on the processing of beef cheeks, it is crucial to distinguish between beef cheeks and rawhides to address these concerns effectively. As a pet food retailer, it’s my duty to shed light on the differences and provide clarity to pet parents seeking the best options for their furry companions.

Understanding the Difference Between Hide and Skin

The first question that arises when discussing beef cheek rolls is the distinction between hide and skin. Interestingly, there is no significant difference between them, other than the term “hide” being used for larger animals like cows and buffalos, while “skin” refers to smaller animals like goats, sheep, pigs, or deer. Consequently, “beef hide” refers to the skin of a cow, whereas “rawhide” can be sourced from various animals such as cows, buffalos, or horses. Hide is generally thicker and tougher to chew and digest compared to skin.

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Unveiling the Secrets of Rawhide

To understand what makes rawhide truly rawhide, we must delve into its processing. Despite common belief, rawhide is not a by-product of the beef industry. Instead, it is derived from the top layer of the hide, which is reserved for leather production. The inner layer of the hide is salvaged to create rawhide treats. Unfortunately, during the manufacturing process for leather, hides undergo multiple chemical treatments and exposure to potentially harmful substances. These treatments include chemical baths, ash-lye or sodium sulphide liming, and additional treatments with glues, formaldehyde, bleach, or titanium oxide to achieve that recognizable puffy appearance. Moreover, artificial colors and flavors are often added. It’s worth noting that rawhides are not regulated as “food” and thus lack oversight from regulatory bodies. Given these concerns, it is best to avoid feeding any type of rawhide to your dog.

The Distinctive Nature of Beef Cheek Rolls

Now, let’s explore how beef cheek rolls differ from rawhide. As the name suggests, beef cheek rolls are made from the cheek meat of cows. Cheek meat is naturally tough and rich in collagen, requiring slow and prolonged cooking to reach optimal tenderness. However, for our four-legged friends, a nice and tough texture is precisely what we desire in a chew. Unlike rawhides, which are derived from hide scraps of the leather industry, beef cheek rolls utilize cheek meat that bypasses the chemical treatments associated with rawhide production. While it may be difficult to ascertain if a beef cheek roll contains hide, the crucial distinction lies in the fact that the hide used is not a by-product of the leather industry. As conscious pet parents, we want to ensure our dogs avoid ingesting harmful chemicals present in rawhides.

Exploring Different Brands of Beef Cheek Rolls

Let’s take a closer look at some popular brands offering beef cheeks rolls in the market. It’s important to note that beef cheek rolls can come in various forms, with different ingredients used. Here are a few examples:

Red Barn Cheek Roll Dog Chew

Ingredients: Beef Hide

While some Red Barn cheek rolls have flavored glazes, the primary ingredient remains beef hide. According to, Red Barn cheek rolls, while more digestible than traditional rawhides, are still considered a rawhide product.

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HDP Beef Cheek Rolls

Ingredients: Beef Rawhide

Similar to Red Barn rolls, HDP cheek rolls include beef rawhide as an ingredient. The labeling raises question as to how it can be both “beef” and “rawhide” simultaneously, considering the definition of rawhide.

Bones & Chews Water Buffalo Cheek

Ingredients: Water Buffalo Cheek

This particular brand presents a more promising option, as their cheek rolls specify water buffalo cheek as the ingredient. However, the inclusion of hide is not explicitly stated, requiring further clarification.

Open Range Beef Cheeky Roll

Ingredients: Beef Cheek Meat

Open Range Beef Cheeky Rolls have been approved by our franchise and sold in our stores. They contain no glaze, flavorings, or hide. However, please note that this information was accurate at the time of writing, and it’s recommended to verify the current status with the company.

It’s essential to carefully read labels and contact the manufacturer to inquire about the inclusion of hide or skin in beef cheek rolls, as not all brands provide explicit information.

The Process Behind Beef Cheeks

The processing methods for beef cheeks vary among different brands. Let’s examine how Open Range Beef Cheeky Rolls are produced, shedding light on one approach. Open Range cleans their cheek meat using a natural wash of water and shells, acting as an abrasive to remove hair and the epidermis layer of the skin. This cleaning process allows the cheek meat to absorb water before dehydration, resulting in the puffy appearance resembling rawhide. The white color of beef cheek rolls is a result of this cleaning process rather than the application of bleach or other chemicals. Open Range sources their beef from free-range cows without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, or steroids. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that each brand may employ different processing methods, so it’s advisable to inquire with the company for detailed information.

Beyond Beef Cheeks: The Beauty of Bull Tails

While beef cheek rolls are currently in the spotlight, it’s worth mentioning bull tails as another worthwhile option. When obtained from reputable sources, bull tails offer an economical, long-lasting, and natural chew. Open Range processes their bull tails and other products in the same manner as their beef cheeky rolls. Steamed and hollowed out to remove cartilage, bull tails are a versatile treat. Interestingly, Open Range even stuffs the wide ends of their bull tails with cheek meat, providing an extra surprise for your furry friend.

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A Word of Caution and Final Thoughts

Remember always to supervise your dog while they enjoy any chew treat to prevent choking hazards or blockages. Treats should be chewed to an appropriate size before swallowing. It’s important to note that due to limited information and tricky labeling, it can be challenging for pup parents to determine if a beef cheek roll is simply a rebranded rawhide. To increase the chances of selecting a higher quality product, avoid treats that clearly state “hide” or “rawhide” on the label. When encountering ingredients like “water buffalo cheek,” seeking clarification from the company regarding the presence of hide or rawhide is advisable. Additionally, it’s best to avoid products manufactured in China, as most hides are shipped there for rawhide production. Always opt for treats that have not been irradiated and steer clear of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

While sourcing accurate information may be challenging, my personal recommendation, supported by my franchise, is to choose brands like Open Range and Puppy Love (at the time of writing) for your beef cheek roll needs. These brands prioritize transparency, quality, and safety, ensuring you provide a great chew for your furry companion.

In conclusion, with the rising popularity of beef cheek rolls, it’s crucial to make informed decisions as responsible pet parents. By understanding the differences between beef cheeks and rawhides, carefully examining labels, and reaching out to manufacturers, you can confidently select a higher quality beef cheek roll that will satisfy your pup’s chewing needs. Treat your furry friend to a healthy and tasty chew that will keep them entertained while providing essential dental benefits. Happy chewing!

Beef Cheek Roll

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