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Many dog owners are familiar with bully sticks. You’ve probably given one to your pooch. But have you ever wondered, what are bully sticks for dogs made of? These chewy treats are favorites of canines, but many dog owners don’t even know what’s in it. So before you buy another bag, we recommend that you read this guide first.
What are bully sticks?
Bully sticks, or pizzle sticks, are chewy treats that can keep a dog busy for hours. It’s also tasty and flavorful, making it an ideal chew treat for picky dogs. It comes in various sizes to suit all breeds.
But the question is this: what are the ingredients in making bully sticks? There are two ingredients in most bully sticks you can buy in the market: dried steer meat (neutered male cattle) or bull penis. Yes, you read that right, bully sticks aren’t made of muscles. Some varieties are made of a cattle’s private part. Still, there are those made of beef.
Take note that both of these ingredients are meat by-products. This is the reason why there are divided opinions about the safety and nutritional value of bully sticks.
Bully sticks can be cooked, raw, or dry. Although it may vary on ingredients, size, and form, all of these are made chewy to encourage dogs to gnaw on it.
However, you should know that bully sticks can be really stinky, especially if your dog has been chewing it for days already. Once the bully sticks get wet, it will start to emit a smell. Over the days, it will smell like a dead animal, especially if you bought a raw one.
In this video, Peter with Patriot Pet tells us more about bully sticks:
Nutritional value of bully sticks
Bully sticks aren’t very high in calories, but you’d still want to watch out over your dog’s consumption. On average, bully sticks have 80 calories. This is much lower than the calories in a single cookie.
One sure thing is that bully sticks are rich sources of protein. It also contains decent amounts of vitamins and minerals, depending on the quality of the sticks you’re going to buy. You can also get the bully sticks in a variety of flavors to suit the preference of your dog.
Unlike rawhide, bully sticks are more digestible. It’s also a great source of amino acids that boost the coat health of a dog. Organic bully sticks are also great options if your dog has allergies.
Benefits of bully sticks
Bully sticks have a lot of benefits if appropriately given. The following are some of the perks your dog will get from this chewy treat:
Unlike bone chews, bully sticks don’t splinter even if chewed aggressively. Still, you should supervise your dog when giving this treat, as it can still be a choking hazard.
Bully sticks are made to last long, which is also a perk for your pocket. For moderate chewers, a bully stick can last for several days.
Bully sticks can be consumed since it’s fully digestible. Unlike rawhide, your dog can swallow the bits of the bully stick. As long as it’s swallowed in small bits, bully sticks shouldn’t cause a blockage. The bits will also be broken down on your dog’s stomach.
Bully sticks are packed with natural flavors that your dog can’t get enough of. It’s a great way to keep the doggo busy and to divert its aggressive chewing to less destructive means. The good thing is that many commercial bully sticks are available in a variety of flavors.
*Perfect for aggressive chewers
If your dog is an aggressive chewer, bully sticks are the best treats. Since it lasts long and can be ingested, you’ll have peace of mind that your dog is in good hands. Again, supervision is necessary when giving any chew treats to avoid choking.
*Natural teeth cleaning
Another good thing about bully sticks is it promotes dental health. As your dog chews, the stick brushes the teeth of your pooch, thus reducing tartar and plaque buildup. However, you must get the right piece and size to prevent mouth injuries.
The safety issue about bully sticks
Many dog owners and even veterinarians have warned about the potential dangers of bully sticks. We think it all stems from proper feeding of the treat. Many dog owners are guilty of tossing a stick and leaving their pooches behind. As much as not all dogs experienced choking, there’s still a high possibility that a canine will experience this hazard.
With over 23% of dog owners feeding bully sticks to their pets, it’s very important to recognize the harm it may potentially bring. The following are some of the risks you should watch out for:
The problem with meat products is that it’s prone to spoilage and contamination. If you are to purchase bully sticks, do so from trusted brands. Look for well-sealed and resealable containers that will keep the sticks’ freshness. As much as possible, give your dog cooked bully sticks instead of raw types that are more susceptible to bacterial contamination.
During a test, some bully sticks were found to be containing E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Both of these organisms are dangerous for both a dog and a human’s health.
Many dog owners underestimate the caloric content of bully sticks. Some bully sticks can have as much as 100 calories per 6 inches of the treat. If you don’t adjust the meals of your dog, the caloric surplus will pile up easily. This may lead to obesity or overweight canines.
If you are thinking about buying dirt cheap bully sticks, think twice. Most of these overly cheap pieces are often produced using artificial flavoring and ingredients. As much as it can mimic the taste of real bully sticks, the artificial ingredients will wreak havoc on your pet’s digestive system.
This is quite a concern among a range of chew treats. Sticks can be a choking hazard if you don’t supervise your dog while chewing it. Also, it’s essential to size up the bully stick based on your dog’s size. This way, they can bite the sticks without swallowing it directly.
When and how to give your dog bully sticks
Bully sticks aren’t a daily thing. You should give it sparingly to control the calorie intake of your dog. You can use it as a major reward after a training session or a once-a-week treat for your pooch. If you want to channel your dog’s chewing away from your furniture, you can use chew toys as alternatives on some days.
You should always give a bully stick with a size appropriate to your dog’s weight. If your dog can chomp an entire stick in one bite, it’s too small. The dog will miss out on the benefit of chewing if this is the case.
Whenever you give your dog a bully stick, you should always keep an eye on them. If ever the canine chokes, you can quickly intervene and prevent further harm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I give bully sticks to my dog daily?
A: Yes, and no. If the bully sticks have minimal calories and are suitable for your dog’s diet, you can give one each day. However, if the bully sticks you purchased are packed in calories, it’s best to give it to your dog once a week, twice if the pooch is physically active.
Q: Do bully sticks smell too much?
A: Bully sticks with specific flavors will usually smell as such. However, if the bully sticks smell spoiled or rotten, you should refrain from giving it to your dog. Bully sticks should have a food-like smell. However, if you’re giving bully sticks made of bull penis to your dog, expect that it will smell a little off.
Q: Will bully sticks give my dog diarrhea?
A: It depends on the bully sticks you bought and the sensitivities of your dog. If the bully sticks are contaminated with bacteria, it will surely make your dog sick. You should always purchase a quality product and be in the know of your dog’s tolerances and allergies. Just because a dog is allergic to beef bully sticks doesn’t mean your canine will be, too.
Q: Can I put bully sticks in the microwave?
A: Chewed up bully sticks can be put in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will puff up and become a soft snack for your doggo. This way, nothing goes to waste, and your dog can enjoy every bit of the bully stick.
Q: How long should my dog chew a bully stick?
A: About 10 minutes of chewing is enough to reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. If you wish to give the treat to your dog longer, you should supervise the pooch every minute to prevent any accidents.
So what are bully sticks for dogs made of? Nowadays, it could be made of various meat options. Just make sure that you purchase one with quality ingredients. Also, supervision is needed to prevent choking.