Are Bully Sticks Safe?

Updated: February 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm, Author: Alice

There are pet owners who are looking for an answer to the question “are bully sticks safe for dogs?” either because they are unfamiliar with the treat or have only recently found out what it is made of, and are understandably leery of feeding it to their pets.


For the uninitiated, bully sticks are also known as “bull pizzles.” Pizzles is an old term for penis, which fully explains what it is made of – it is a dried penis of a bull. Unfortunately for many pet owners and dogs, their queasiness over a bull pizzle leads them to choose rawhide dog chews under the misguided idea that it is safer for dogs.

are bully sticks safe

The truth is that bully sticks are safe for dogs, even when compared to other specific chews. For starters, some chews are manufactured using all sorts of ingredients that you aren’t really 100% sure what goes into them. Bully sticks, on the other hand, are only made from a single ingredient that is fully digestible. The current most commonly used chew, rawhide, is difficult to digest and may result in stomach upsets for your animal.


Differences between Rawhide and Bully Stick


RawhideBully Sticks
Processed with chemicalsMade from a single, all-natural ingredient
Only contains skin. It’s basically like giving flavored leather to your petMade from beef that is free from hormone and antibiotic
Made from cow skin, chemicals, and preservativesOnly made from oven-baked beef
Unchewed skin may get lodged in the dog’s intestines, causing blockages and extreme discomfort, with diarrhea being the most common symptomFully digestible. Beef, even half unchewed pieces will be digested since they’re just food.
Turns into mush when mixed with dog’s saliva. After a few bouts of chewing, they turn into a yucky, sticky mess that you most likely don’t want being spread around the houseHard texture prevents turning into mush so soon. Will have benefits to dog’s dental health since the hard texture helps scrape off plaque and tartar buildup


Several Other Safety Concerns


Another concern that people have over safety, deals with the small ends, which they fear are being lodged in the intestines of their pets when swallowed. First, as mentioned above – this rarely causes trouble because unlike rawhide, bully sticks are perfectly digestible so even if swallowed, there will be no issue as the dog will just digest and pass it off like any other food made out of beef.


Of course, there is valid concern as different dogs have different behavior. Some guarded eaters or abused pups, for instance, have a tendency to swallow food without chewing properly. This can be dangerous because the small ends could be choking hazards when swallowed unchewed. It is something that you have to look out for if you’re giving bully sticks to a puppy or a small dog.


To make bully sticks safe for puppies, you have to watch them while they are chewing on the treats, just to make sure they are chewing it properly. If you notice that they seem to gobble it up immediately, you have to step in.


One practical way of making bully sticks for dogs safe is to use a vise grip. Simply attach the vise grip to the end of the bully stick (or the last inch of any stick), then give it to your dog. With the vise grip attached, the dog will not be able to swallow the last remaining inch even if he tried.


Benefits of Bully Sticks


The question “are bully sticks safe for dogs to eat” can be easily answered as yes, based on the information outlined above. In fact, not only are these treats safe, they actually provide a number of benefits, such as:


  1. Provide Natural Teeth Cleaning – bull pizzles help dogs clean their teeth. They are not a replacement for a toothbrushing routine, but they do wonders and work well as supplementary dental care. This is because the hard texture of the stick help scrape off tartar and plaque buildup from your dog’s teeth, and the natural act of chewing also encourages saliva buildup and exercises the jaw.
  2. High Protein But Low in Fat – protein is good for dogs in moderate amounts. The problem is that most food products that are high in protein tend to also have a lot of fat content, which is bad for your dog. With bully sticks, you get 100% beef that has all the protein your dog needs, without excessive fat. These sticks are particularly ideal for dogs with weight problems.
  3. Long Lasting – other treats for dogs don’t last long. You give those treats to your dog and sooner than you are ready, it’s already gone and your dog wants another. This means you’ll either spend a lot on treats or have a very disappointed dog. With bully sticks, on the other hand, a single treat will last long even if your dog is a very aggressive chewer. You just need one and your dog will be happy for a longer period compared to other treats.
  4. Dogs Love the Natural Flavor – one of the more important factors you need to consider is whether a dog likes the treats you give them. All the benefits in the world won’t matter if your dog won’t even go near a treat or will tire of them after a few chews. Bully sticks, fortunately, have a natural flavor that dogs really love, mainly because they are natural meat eaters and the natural beef ingredient is perfectly suited to their tastes. You don’t have to worry about your pet tiring of those particular treats, as they most likely never will.


In the end, the question “are bully sticks for dogs safe” has been answered above with a resounding yes. Aside from that, it has also been made clear that they are better than other types of dog chews, and have a number of benefits so there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t give them as treats to your pet. You only need to make sure that you’re getting best ones from a reputable shop.

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