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Bully sticks are a popular treat for dogs because they’re long-lasting, easy to carry around and delicious (according to your pup). But are bully sticks truly safe for dogs?
These chews can be a great source of protein for your dog. They’re also higher in quality than other treats because they normally don’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. But, like all treats, they do need to be given in moderation.
It is essential to consider the size of your dog as well when introducing bully sticks as a treat. If you have an aggressive chewer who tends to swallow anything whole without chewing, then you may need a bully stick holder. Bully stick holders help prevent your dog from gulping down the last large piece of a bully stick.
Let’s discuss in further detail bully sticks and what to look for before buying them for your dog.
What are bully sticks?
We’ll start by answering the question on everyone’s mind – yes, bully sticks are bull penis. According to a survey from the Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, about half of dog owners don’t know this fact.
This dried muscle is a tasty teat for your pup and can be a great chew. Bully sticks are made through a thorough process of dehydration. Sometimes, these treats are made using additional procedures like smoking or baking to treat the bacteria, while all the nutrients remain intact.
Are bully sticks safe for dogs?
You may have heard conflicting opinions about the safety of bully sticks for dogs, so the answer to this question can feel a bit gray. Most reputable sources (such as the American Kennel Club) say that pizzles are one of the best chew options for a dog and provide readily digestible protein and fats. These same sources say that these chews contain low-fat and taurine (an amino acid that aids with heart muscle health).
While bully sticks are considered safe, you still need to purchase high quality products from reputable companies to ensure their process properly removes the bacteria. Also, as with any treat, supervise your dog’s chew time.
Nutritional benefits of bully sticky
Mental health benefits
A bully stick is an excellent treat for dogs of all ages. Humans often do different things in the name of hobbies to keep our minds occupied and the same is the case with our furry friends. Mental stimulation is incredibly important for your dog. Not properly working your dogs mind can make your pup bored. As often discussed on entertainmy.dog, boredom is when a dog gets into trouble.
Chewing different things is an activity that dogs enjoy and will help occupy their time. Bully sticks offer one of the best and safest ways for dogs to chew on while also keeping their mind occupied!
The natural act of chewing and licking can be a calming relief for anxious pets. Not to mention the endorphins released provide mental stimulation as well! If you have any dog that suffers from phobias or anxiety, bully sticks can be great help.
One of the primary and most crucial benefits that makes the bully stick great is its benefits for oral health. Bully sticks have a hard texture, and even if your dog is an aggressive chewer, he will have to spend time chewing on them. If you have a small breed dog, they can spend a whole day chewing on a bully stick. The mechanical abrasion that occurs due to chewing will help remove tartar.
Full of nutrition
Bully sticks are perfect for your pup because they’re all natural and made from that single ingredient discussed prior (bull penis if you forgot). They contain no artificial additives, flavors, or chemicals – just pure protein full of amino acids that are great for their muscles, coat, and skin!
Available in different sizes
Bully sticks for dogs are great chew toys. They come in different shapes and sizes, so there’s plenty to choose from! Puppies can start using bully sticks as soon as they have teeth that will allow them to chew on hard food. The dental benefits of these treats make them an excellent choice for any dog lover with an aging pup or young newbie alike – the chewing action is sure to please all age groups!
Problems associated with feeding bully sticks
The first and the most critical problem in using bully sticks is that they contain a higher number of calories. From the prior referenced, University of Tuft study, pizzles contain about 9-22 calories per inch. The number of calories increases as the thickness of the stick increases. This means the standard 6” bully stick contains about 90 calories.
The problem of the high caloric content can be addressed by awareness – knowing how many calories a bully stick contains and the amount your dog can have per day.
90 calories from treats in a day is the recommendation for a dog over 60lbs. The general rule of thumb is treats should be about 10% of your dogs daily calories.
That rule of thumb is not helpful if you don’t know much your dog should be eating. For a quick solution, you can use a the Calorie Calculator for Dogs from the Pet Nutrition Alliance. This calculator is designed as a tool for vets and states it “is only a guideline.”
For the long term, we recommend you speak with your vet about your dog’s specific needs.
Many people are concerned about the bacteria due to bully sticks being an all-natural, raw animal muscle. Thankfully, dog’s stomachs and bodies handle infections differently than humans. Their stomachs are far stronger and can deal with bacteria better than ours. But, there is still potential for vomiting or diarrhea if not purchasing high quality pizzles.
A large mitigation to this concern is to be aware of the contamination risk and to ensure you properly handle treats – mainly washing your hands after contact.
Negativity around bully sticks often comes because of the belief that chemicals are used in processing these treats like chlorine. Reputable companies do not use chemicals in their process of making bully sticks. Improperly processed bully sticks have been linked to cancer.
While not a guarantee, purchasing from a reputable company can prevent encountering chemical or bacteria contaminated bully sticks. These companies make sure their process is as hygienic as possible.
How to choose a bully stick for your dog?
Bully sticks are available in various sizes, shapes, and textures to suit all dogs’ needs. There are thinner bully sticks for small-breed puppies who need a more delicate chew that will help them get their teeth used to chewing without crushing too much of the stick at once. Heavy chewers should go for braided or knotty bully sticks, which have greater resilience and texture than other types of dog chews.
What you should look for when purchasing your pup’s pizzles:
- Made up of 100% natural beef
- From free-range
- Contain no artificial preservatives
- Free of hormones and additives
- No chemicals
Bully sticks are extremely popular among dog owners because of their taste and nourishing qualities. With a few precautions in mind, they are safe to use as well.
- High Quality
- No Chemicals
- Awareness of the calories