Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?

Filed in Dog Products on January 14, 2020

Text stating 'Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?' with dog chewing on bully stick

You may be wondering are bully sticks safe for dogs?

These single ingredient treats are very popular among dogs.

However, there are pros and cons to bully sticks.

In this blog post, I discuss whether bully sticks are safe for dogs and other related information.

Short answer: Yes, bully sticks are safe, generally speaking, as long as made by a quality company with safe cooking methods to eliminate bacteria. Additionally, some dogs may get an upset stomach or diarrhea from them, so it will also depend on your particular dog.

With any new foods, please speak with your veterinarian first.

Let’s Find Out: Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?

What Are Bully Sticks Made Of?

First things first. So that there are no surprises, it’s important to know what bully sticks are actually made from. As hinted by in their name, yes, they are from bulls.

But to be blunt, bully sticks are made from bull pizzle, an old English word for penis. Pizzles, and thus bully sticks, are 100% beef tendon, all-natural, and have nutritional value.

How Are Bully Sticks Made?

Bully stick manufacturers prepare the tendon by cleaning, stretching, and twisting it into a variety of shapes.

Most bully sticks are sun or oven-dried, and some manufacturers prefer to smoke them before packaging.

Some manufacturers specialize in making bully sticks in a variety of sizes and thicknesses to cater to the different chewing preferences of dogs.

Are Bully Sticks Healthy?

Chew treats, in general, can satisfy a dog’s chewing instincts. But bully sticks offer additional health benefits. Here are a few:

  • Single-ingredient treats
  • Made from high-protein beef
  • No artificial chemicals, additives, or preservatives
  • Good source of amino acids
  • Easily digestible

F.Y.I. Amino acids are compounds needed for vital processes like the building of proteins and synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters and support a dog’s brain, body, and coat.

bully sticksAdditional Benefits of Bully Sticks

In addition to their ability to keep a dog chewing for a long, long time, and on top of their quality nutrition, bully sticks have other benefits.

Bully sticks have a long shelf life, up to three years if they are kept in a cool, air-tight package. So your dog will be able to chew for years to come… And, your shoes will be safe.

Tip: A partially eaten bully stick can be safely stored in your freezer, where it will re-harden for your dog to chew at a later date.

Another benefit is that they have been shown to help with teeth cleaning.

When a dog spends time chewing on a tough bully stick, they are gnawing repeatedly and in a variety of directions. This helps to scrape away plaque and buildup from their teeth before it can become tartar.

Note: Never stop brushing your dog’s teeth, but just know that bully sticks are a great way to add to their dental health.

Risks of Bully Sticks

One of the downsides of bully sticks is their high amount of calories. Even a small 6-inch stick contains roughly 90 calories, and they get much bigger depending on your dog’s size.

There have also been reports of bacterial contamination in some bully sticks. The reason is that some bully sticks are cooked longer than others (or not at all). As a result, there have been recalls due to Salmonella. It’s important to investigate the manufacturer and their cooking methods of bully sticks before purchasing.

Some dogs can also get diarrhea or an upset stomach from them.

How About Rawhide?

First, there is little to no nutritional benefit to rawhides. They are literally the inner layer of cow or horse hides.

These types of chews can pose choking hazards and create blockage risks. Also, they can and often do create digestive irritation for dogs.

Because the fun is in the chewing of a rawhide, versus the tasting, dogs often swallow larger pieces. These bigger bits can get stuck in the esophagus and other areas of the digestive tract.

What To Look For In A Bully Stick For Your Dog

As mentioned earlier, bully sticks come in multiple shapes and sizes, offering options for all sizes, breeds, and preferences of dogs.

For small, delicate chewers, you can get thinner bully sticks, while braided bully sticks are best for heavy chewers.

If your dog is good with their paws and can hold things while they chew, try the bully stick rings – these are a perfect challenging chew.

Look For Bully Sticks that are:

  • 100% natural US beef
  • From free-range, grass-fed bulls
  • Approved by USDA/FDA
  • Free of additives and hormones
  • No artificial preservatives

The only thing to note about bully sticks is that they have a particular odor – some people don’t mind it, while others notice it quite a bit. If your nose is sensitive look for odor-free bully sticks.

Conclusion

So are bully sticks safe for dogs? Generally yes, as long as you buy from a quality manufacturer with safe preparation methods. Since they contain a high amount of calories, it’s best to give them only once-in-a-while than daily. Additionally, some dogs get an upset stomach or diarrhea, so carefully watch your dog and do not give them too much at first.

Bully sticks are also great for chewing, highly digestible, nutritious, healthy, and dogs love them.

Oh, and if your dog is a big time champion-level chewer, we have more help for you here.

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