Are bully sticks good for dogs?

7 minute read

Bully sticks for dogs are all the rage these days, but did you know what they're really made of?

It's a beef or steer penis!

So many people are unfamiliar with it and while it may gross you out, your dog won't care.

So, why would you want to spend money on something like this?

What are the advantages for your dog? And what are the dangers? In this post, we'll look at both the benefits and drawbacks of this odd treat so you can make an informed decision.

The Pro’s & Con’s Of Bully Sticks

  • Bully sticks (also known as pizzle sticks, or bull pizzles) are made of bull penises
  • They're a hearty chew that's beneficial for dental health and endorphin release.
  • Because they are high in calories, you should only feed one or two of them per week at most.
  • Bully sticks may be contaminated with potentially harmful organisms, such as salmonella. Reduce the risk by buying from trustworthy suppliers and washing your hands thoroughly after handling.
  • Bully sticks have a distinct odor! They're ideal for dogs, but they might not be the greatest choice for their owners.
  • They're easily digested, so the danger of stomach blockage is minor.
  • Large pieces can be hazardous since they might cause suffocation if eaten unsupervised – keep an eye on your dog and remove the final piece to minimize the danger.
  • It’s OK to give them to puppies (but for only for 5-10 minutes at a time)

What are Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are made from stretched and twirled beef or steer penises that have been dried.

The drying procedure is usually dehydration, but they may also be baked or smoked.

Treatments such as chemicals or irradiation are used to destroy harmful germs.

They're cut into 6-, 12- and 30-inch pieces after being completely dry, ready to be served as dog treats.

Benefits of Bully Sticks for Dogs

Dental Health

Bully sticks remove tartar, decrease plaque, and enhance jaw muscle strength. They can give hours of chewing enjoyment.

Mental Health

Bully sticks, like all long-lasting chews, produce endorphins that help with optimal mental health.

Oral Health Benefits of Bull Pizzles

One of the primary reasons why pet owners like bully sticks is because they provide excellent oral health benefits.

Bully sticks are quite durable, and even powerful chewers will get a good 30 minutes of chewing time out of them.

Smaller dogs may even get several hours or days worth of chewing out of one bully stick.

All of this is due to the mechanical abrasion which helps remove tartar.

Mental Health Benefits of Pizzle Sticks

Chewing and licking stimulate the production of endorphins, which reduce anxiety and provide a lot of mental stimulation.

If you have a dog with phobias or separation anxiety, bully sticks (or any long-lasting chew for that matter) might help.

Nutritional Information for Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are high in protein, 80-90% and low in fat, around 3%, so are overall a highly nutritious natural dog treat.

Calories & Feeding Guidelines

Don’t Overfeed

Bully sticks are extremely high in calories.

The caloric density for a bully stick is 15 kcal/inch, which means a small, 6-inch bully stick is approximately 90 calories!

That is a large amount of calories for a treat, especially since dogs can consume considerably more than 30 percent of their daily calorie requirements in one sitting. T

Feeding Guide

Pizzles should only be fed as part of a well-balanced diet.

Since they account for a large proportion of daily calories, they are not suitable as a daily treat. You might want to restrict bully sticks to special occasions or give them only one or two per week.

However, keep in mind that those calories must come from somewhere, so the special ocasion could just be a long walkie in the park.

Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs?

Safety Information

Bully sticks for dogs are generally safe, but bacterial contamination is a concern.

Try to get bully sticks from reputable suppliers that use sanitary manufacturing processes. After handling them, wash your hands toroughly.

Bacterial contamination

Dogs' stomachs are considerably more durable than humans', and they can withstand certain bacterial contamination.

In rare cases, though, it might induce stomach cramps and other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Buying bully sticks from reputable manufacturers who do some sort of processing before producing dog snacks in a sanitary facility may help you avoid this.

Bully sticks have gotten a lot of bad publicity due to potential bacterial contamination. Naturally, any ‘all-natural' item will have had little or no processing, allowing some harmful bacteria can still remain on it.

The more processed it is (for example, as a result of radiation, extreme heat treatment, or the use of chemicals to disinfect it), the safer it is from contamination.

However, those treatments take away from one of the most important reasons why people buy it, they are all natural.

If you want to give your dog bully sticks, be sure to wash your hands afterward and sanitize the area where they ate since these germs may cause significant health problems in both young, old, and immunocompromised individuals.


A pizzle stick can become hazardous when it's small enough to swallow whole. If it reaches the stomach, there shouldn't be a problem since they are completely digested.

However, it might get trapped in the throat before reaching the stomach, leading to potentially dangerous choking hazard. As a result, remove the last bit when it gets tiny.

Beef Allergies

Bully sticks are high in protein, so if your dog is allergic to beef, it can have negative reactions.

Avoid bully sticks If…

Bully sticks, like any other high-calorie treat, should not be given to overweight dogs.

Are Bully Sticks Unpleasant to Have in the House?

Bully sticks for dogs have a distinct odor!

The unprocessed ones have an extremely powerful odor to them, and you will want your dog to eat it only outside.

Some bully stick producers, on the other hand, claim that their products don't have an odor. They will be more processed and, once chewed, will still smell although somewhat less.

Bully Sticks for Puppies

Limit Chew Time

Bully sticks are suitable for dogs of all ages. They're hard, but not as hard as a rawhide bone, so they won't harm your puppy's teeth.

As a result, they're ideal for soothing your dog's teething pains.

You should remove the bully stick after five to ten minutes of chewing time because pups have sensitive stomachs.

Alternatives to Bully Sticks

Thinking about buying your dog bully sticks, but not fully sold on the idea? Here are some alternatives which you might want to think about:

  • Yak Stick: These milk sticks are compressed blocks of yak milk that have been smoke-dried for about a month, originating from the Himalayas. They're 100% natural, extremely long-lasting, and beneficial to dental health. They are nevertheless not suitable for overweight dogs due to their fat content, as with bully sticks.
  • Deer antlers: They're ideal for chewing on to improve oral health, alleviate boredom, and reduce anxiety. Because they aren't consumed, deer antlers are a great fat-free alternative to bully sticks.
  • Ostrich tendons: If you're searching for a chew that lasts a long time and is high in protein, ostrich tendons are similar to bully sticks in terms of length and dental health benefits. They have the same longevity as bully sticks and are equally rich in protein.

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