Bully Sticks: Everything you need to know

Words By Gemma Sheehy

July 23, 2019

What used to be a rare and fortunate find has now become a staple of pet stores everywhere – the Bully Stick. A dog treat that graces shelves in an enormous variety of shapes, colours, textures and tastes. Bully sticks are an undeniable Supertreat, boasting out-of-this-world health benefits and addictive taste.

Read ahead for the 411 on bully sticks, as we demystify this treat so that you don’t have to.

What is a bully stick? Where do they come from?

Penis. 

You heard us – member, willy, eggplant emoji 🍆 More strictly, beef pizzle. Before they were pulled and packaged for doggo consumption, bully sticks belonged to the phallic region of a steer. They’re truly a dog treat of variety and are commonly sold raw, dried, cooked, large, small, hard and soft.

The most common bully stick on the market will be dehydrated. Dehydrating animal parts means retaining the wholesome benefits – vitamins, nutrients and a spectacular taste that is often lost in standard cooking procedures. Plus, it seriously prolongs shelf-life. While we probably don’t have to sing our praises of air-dehydrated treats, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention them.

Bully sticks are also usually cut down to a variety of sizes, which means you can mix-and-match the perfect size to the perfect dog. What more could you ask for?

Are bully sticks safe for dogs?

When treated with care, bully sticks – also known as pizzle sticks – are a natural product and completely safe for your dog to chow down on. Bully sticks are completely digestible and – unlike some other commercial treats – they don’t splinter. Meaning, your dog must chew and swallow them carefully rather than having big bites that could pose a choking hazard.

No matter how well you think you know your dog, they can be unpredictable. This means that when you indulge your doggo, it’s essential to take some precautions to ensure their safety.

Each doggo will tackle a treat like bully sticks differently. Keep in mind your dog’s age, size and chewing style while browsing through the treat selection. Always supervise your dog while they chew, and if it looks like they’re not chewing sensible, maybe offer them something softer. 

Can puppies have bully sticks?

Just like adult dogs, puppies will benefit from the nutrition and stimulation that bully sticks provide. But depending on how old they are, some bully sticks might be a bit too harsh for those new puppy teeth.

Puppies have just 28 temporary teeth that usually fall out around the 6-month mark. The puppy teething process means that your new family member will have an insatiable urge to chew – and you want to make sure they don’t take it out on your furniture!

Smaller bully sticks are suitable for your pup to encourage their temporary teeth to vacate, without putting too much risk on their canines cracking. Other softer chews like puppy dental chews or moo tubes will also be suitable.

What are the benefits of bully sticks?

Bully sticks aren’t just a delicious treat for your doggo. Here are just some reasons to treat your pup to a bully stick chew:

  • Bully sticks are super healthy and rich in protein
  • They’re fantastic for dental health
  • They’re long-lasting and durable (so dogs can chew for longer!)

Super Healthy

When compared to other risky treats on the market (we’re looking at you rawhide), bully sticks are totally safe for consumption. They’re ultra-solid which means your dog has to slowly and carefully grind them down, instead of being broken into big bites. These sticks are a ton easier to digest than most other commercial chews, meaning you can chill out while your doggo chows down.

Put a microscope to bully sticks and they only get better. They’re sky-high in protein, crazy low in carbohydrates and super lean so even dogs on a diet can occasionally indulge.

Dental benefits

We’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again – dental disease is a huge problem for doggos, and as dog owners, we’re out on the frontline for pearly-whites. Here’s where bully sticks come in.

Their unique texture and consistency make them ideal for ultimate plaque-scraping, kicking back at tartar build-up in each delicious, dehydrated bite. For the most effective dental care routine you should always include the regular addition of tough chews, maintaining pearly-whites between brushing and professional dental scaling.

Ever had a dental visit you’ve enjoyed? It’s kind of like that. But better. And it tastes like beef.

How long do bully sticks last?

The best thing about them? They last seriously long. If you’ve got a dog that makes it their life mission to demolish treats in minutes, then your prayers have finally been answered. As saliva helps soften bully sticks, you can expect hours of lip-licking fun and some well-deserved peace and quiet.

Some sticks can last from days to weeks, depending on the dedication of the doggo eating it. They are the gold standard of occupy treats: mentally enriching your dog and keeping their mind bright, busy and thinking.

Bully sticks also come in a range of sizes and varieties depending on the chewing power of your dog. If your dog is an enthusiastic chewer, a braided bully stick might provide more of a challenge. Smaller dogs will also love bully bites or thick bully bites for something smaller that still packs a punch. Like any chew, the more suited it is to your dog’s size, the more likely it is to last longer.

While they can last hours, we recommend giving your dog this treat for up to 30 minutes per day as a healthy and stimulating snack.

Why does each bully stick look so different?

Bully sticks come in a huge variety of shapes, colours, patterns and textures. 100% natural treats are taken straight from the source rather than out of a factory mould. No treat is the same, and we think that’s the special charm that comes with feeding super healthy, unique, dehydrated animal parts.

To speak plainly, they’re kind of like the very last, leftover veggies at the supermarket. They come in all kinds of weird shapes and colours, and sometimes they’re a little out of the ordinary. But that doesn’t mean they’re not extraordinarily good for you.

Ready to find the perfect chew for your dog? Bully for you!

Author

Gemma Sheehy

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them at WAG she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.