Bully sticks are one of best chew treats for your dog. They are long lasting and all natural, made up of only one ingredient – high protein beef muscle. There is a major downside to bully sticks, the choking hazard. When dogs get down to the last few inches of their pizzle stick, they can try to swallow the remaining piece whole. When this happens, your dog can choke or the piece can cause a blockage.
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To prevent dogs from swallowing the stick whole, you can use a bully stick holder. But, bully stick holders are not all made the same. Some holders focus on making sure your dog doesn’t eat the last small piece while others focus on making the stick last longer.
All of these holders are meant for bully sticks of a range of thicknesses. For the stick to fit properly, make sure you have the right size.
Note: throughout this article we also refer to bully sticks by their other fun name, a pizzle.
Holders to prevent choking
Bow Wow Labs Bully Buddy
The inventor of the Bully Buddy, Scott Woolwine, created Bow Wow Labs after a scary incident with his pup, Finn. Finn choked on the small piece of his bully stick but, thankfully, was able to successfully coughed it up. After this event, Scott created the Bully Buddy to hold that last piece and prevent your dog from chocking. The Bully Buddy company, Bow Wow Labs, also has their own brand of bully sticks to ensure a proper, tight fit.
In the image above, the green piece on the end allows you to tighten the screw into the bully stick for a tight fit. The screw can be tightened with your fingers.
With a similar story to the above Bully Buddy, the creator’s dog, Tesla, swallowed a 3″ piece of the bully stick. After going to the vet and getting fluids, Tesla was able to pass the stick (in tact). Using the Bully Grip is very intuitive and you just need to twist your dogs bully stick into the thickest part and it will hold the stick in place allowing for safe and fun chewing. A positive and negative of the bully grip is how hard the bully stick is to remove. While it’s hard for the dog, it can also be a challenge to take it out when your dog is done.
Due to reviews from customers struggling to remove the last bit, Bully Grip released the instructional video below. Wet the Bully Grip then use a hex head screw to push out the remaining nub.
The bonehead holders are reasonably priced at less than $6 each but they’re made for Himalayan Yak Chews so they only work with larger bully sticks. With a large or extra thick pizzle, these work by tightening the screw into the bully stick. Unlike the Bully Buddy, the Bonehead’s screw is tightened with a screwdriver so you do need to have the tool on hand.
Newly launched, the SafetyChew is different than the others in functionality. You drill a hole through your bully stick and put the SafetyChew’s pin through the hole. You can also purchase predrilled bully sticks from the company.
While the pin method may take some extra work, it is almost guaranteed your dog cannot get the bully stick out. Also, if you have a drill and small bit, it’s not hard to prep multiple sticks in advance.
Extend Chew Time
These toys will extend the fun of your dog’s bully stick but will not hold the stick tightly. Make sure to supervise your dog and their stick when playing with these toys.
Many swear by the West Paw company and their Qwizl sticks are no different. You stick the bully stick in and it extends the life as your dog tries to navigate the twists and holes. It is recommended for high chewers but is soft so your dog won’t break a tooth. It is possible for your dog to pull the pizzle out so this is not for gulpers.
One negative of the Qwizl is due to how much of the bully stick is covered. It extends the life of the chew but your dog may not be able to access the whole stick so there could be a lot left over.
Another beloved brand, the Benebone Pawplexer is a highly rated bully bone holder. While it does not hold the stick tight enough for a gulper, the Pawplexer makes bully stick time a lot more fun. The holder itself is also a bacon flavored tough chew. Benebones are great quality, US made toys. If you want a tighter hold with the Pawplexer, the white center piece is about 1/2″.
The Toppl is a different design than the other holders we’ve previously discussed. It comes from the highly respected company, West Paw, like the Qwizl. The Toppl is a treat dispensing puzzle but the hole allows you to stuff pizzle sticks through the toy to extend chewing time. You can also buy the two sizes of the Toppl and combine them together as shown in the picture below.
Because of the different design, you can get more creative with this treat dispenser. Put a bully stick through the hole, add yogurt and blueberries then freeze. This makes a long lasting, fun treat for your dog.
LaRoo Yummy Ball
This ball has a hole in the end which you can stick the bully stick inside of as shown below. Because it is a round ball, this turns the bully stick in an exciting toy for your dog. You can also add treats, peanut butter or cream cheese to the outer ridges for more fun.
N/H Stick Holder
Another toy to slow the consumption of bully sticks. The N/H holder allows for you to stick a pizzle inside and extend the life. The textured rubber also cleans your dogs teeth.
An interesting feature of this toy is you can use it to train your dog to carry bags. The toy holds the bag handle to give your pup a better grip.
LaRoo Bone Puzzle
The best part of the LaRoo Bone is you can fill both ends with the bully stick or treats. While not easy, you can cut the bully stick in half to put a side in each end of the bone. You can also add the ridges on the end with cream cheese, soft food or peanut butter. Freeze the bone for longer play.
Recommended Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are not all made the same. With any dog treats, some are made of more high quality ingredients. Others take shortcuts and are not safe for your dog. Cheaper bully sticks also may not last as long.
Natural Farm Bully Stick
All natural, single ingrediant bully stick. Low odor and heavily cleaned before being slow cooked. Because these are natural, the thickness may vary. But, the packages all contain the same amount of meat. The sticks are about an inch thick.
Bow Wow Labs Bully Stick
These bully sticks are made by the same company as the Bully Buddy. The pizzles are from grass-fed, free-range bulls and contain no chemicals. Because they are made specifically for the Bully Buddy, you can match the size of the stick to your Bully Buddy size to ensure a tight fit. It also shows the dog weight for the right size.
Pawstruck Braided 12″ Bully Stick
The braided bully stick from Pawstruck is 3 standard bully sticks intertwined. Due to it being 3 sticks in one, the braided bully sticks are a touch more expensive that a standard stick but these last far longer. Owned and operated in the US, these are made in a South American plant which adheres to the highest quality standards.