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What is beef gullet and should we feed it to our dogs?

DepositPhoto/Solovyova

My raw feeding co-op offers beef gullet and I've always been curious about it, but never thought much of it.  Since Rodrigo can only tolerate the occasional meal of green beef tripe, I ignore most beef products for all the dogs.  Because I think it's important that our dogs have a well -rounded diet, I decided that maybe I shouldn't be so quick to write off beef products for Sydney, Scout, and Zoey.

What is Beef Gullet?

The gullet is the esophagus.  Like the duck feet our dogs love, beef gullets are a good source of chondroitin and offer a boost to joint health.  In my research, I found that raw feeders are feeding it as a chewy treat (dehydrated) or joint supplement.  Some raw feeders chop or grind up raw beef gullet and mix it into their dogs' food.

Where Can I Buy Beef Gullet?

I can order ours through Wazzuor, our raw food co-op (CLICK to find a co-op in your area).  But they're whole and I like the idea of mixing them into our dogs' food.  I could chop them up and put them through our meat grinder, however, buying pre-ground would be ideal.

Preground Beef Gullet

Dehydrated Beef Gullet

What are the Risks of Beef Gullet to Dogs?

The main risk of beef gullets (along with duck necks and turkey necks) is feeding a dog these animals parts risks exposing them to active thyroid secreting hormones, which can lead to hyperthyroidism.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is when a dog's thyroid gland is over-active and secreting too much of the hormone, increasing their metabolism beyond what is natural or healthy.  A dog who suffers from hyperthyroidism may show weight loss, a constant state of being hungry or thirsty, vomiting, increased heart rate and, if the hyperthyroidism is left untreated, liver and kidney failure.

How do We Protect Raw Fed Dogs?

First, not only raw fed dogs are at risk because kibble fed dogs can have treats made from beef gullet, duck necks, and turkey necks.

Second, the best way to protect our dogs is to feed them a varied diet of meat – not just meat from the neck of an animal.  We feed our dogs rabbit, duck wings, duck hearts, venison, elk, pork, and lamb.  A diet of too much of one thing can come with a risk.  If we're feeding our dogs duck necks, turkey necks, and beef gullets without care of sourcing (so we don't know if they pieces were cut to remove the thyroid gland), then we are raising the risk of hypothyroidism, however, I don't think this risk should make us remove this beneficial source of yumminess for our dogs' joints from their diet.

3/10/2017 Update: I have been feeding my dogs a product from GreenTripe.com that combines green beef tripe, beef trachea, and beef gullet.  The dogs eat a meal of this tripe blend several times a week.  In two years, they have not had issues with their thyroid and I think it's because I buy their food from quality sources that I trust and this food is only a portion of their diet.

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