Let’s face it – dogs can be the most loving and amazing souls on earth. They’re loyal, dedicated, and are masters at divvying up unconditional love to their human companions. They can be highly destructive and rambunctious, at times too. Providing your canine companion with enough mental and physical stimulation daily is key to ensuring that they live long and healthy lives without destroying your property too. Experts worldwide agree that daily walks, exercise in your backyard, chew toys, and puzzle games are fantastic for helping your pet burn off energy.
Many pet owners give their pets bully sticks into assisting them in burning energy and giving them something to chew on besides their shoes. However, there is some controversy about bully sticks and whether these are a safe treat for your beloved pet. In this brief article, we’ll discuss everything you ever wanted to know about bully sticks and more. With a better understanding of this treat you can decide for yourself whether they make the perfect treat for your best canine friend.
What Are Bully Sticks?
About 25% of American dog owners give their dogs bully, pizzle, or steer sticks. Bully sticks are bull penises. Yes, you’ve got that right. Most people who give their dogs bully sticks don’t realize that they’re chewing on a bull’s cow-manly parts. Amazingly, most people who give their dogs bully sticks do their best to provide their dogs with safe foods and avoid preservatives and other byproducts; however, they have no idea what is in these things. Many people give them to their dogs because dogs LOVE them. Not only do they provide a long-lasting chew, but they take a very long time to chew and are perfect for distracting your dog from other bothersome or destructive things, like chewing on furniture or shoes.
Many people don’t realize that bully sticks are typically drained of any fluids when they’re cooked, and manufacturers differ on how they process them. There is no standard processing method, and they are available in many different shapes or sizes.
Benefits of Bully sticks
There are some benefits of giving your dog bully sticks. Here are the main ones:
- Dogs love the taste of bully sticks.
- They are high in protein and low in fat.
- Pizzlesticks are not hard to digest
- They can be safe for puppies, adults, and senior dogs, too.
- Bully sticks improve the dental hygiene of your pup.
Disadvantages of Bully Sticks
Now that we have discussed some of the main benefits of bully sticks, we will now discuss some disadvantages.
- Bully sticks stink – a lot. They have a very distinct smell, and the more your dog chews on them, the more the natural smell mixes with your dog’s saliva to produce a pungent odor. Some manufacturers claim that some bully sticks are odorless; however, most still contain a scent. Odor-controlled bullies are exposed to moisture and heat when they’re raw, and this is supposed to lessen the smell. However, it’s impossible to find an utterly odorless bully.
- Bully sticks can be hard to find. It is not always easy to find bully sticks in your local pet stores. Although some big box stores have started carrying them, they might be harder to find than those in specialty natural pet stores. If you order online, it may be harder to find pizzle sticks that are from reputable sources.
Risks of Giving Your Dog a Bully Stick
Many people wonder if bully sticks are safe for dogs. The main risk of bully sticks is that they may be contaminated with bacteria. According to Tufts, a study was conducted that tested 26 bully sticks and one was infected with a type of staph bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Yes, one was contaminated with MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Another one was contaminated with Clostridium diffile, and others were infected with E Coli or Escherichia coli. Although this isn’t to say that all bully sticks are contaminated and might harm your dog, they are a bit risker than other treats, and this alone is very scary indeed.
Another issue with bully sticks is that they contain A LOT of calories, and if your dog is a chunker who needs to lose a few extra pounds, this could put them at risk of many ailments. A bully contains about 22 calories in every inch which means that the average 6-inch bully is about 100 calories. Keep in mind that an 11lb Yorkshire needs about 250 calories a day, and a Lab needs about 1000 calories a day. Therefore, it is important that if you decide to give the dog bullies that you monitor how much they chew so that you don’t exceed their daily allotment of calories.
Alternatives to Bully Sticks
If your dog has beef allergies, you can try a bison bully stick. However, these are more expensive, and they tend to smell even worse than a regular bully stick.
If you’re concerned about bully sticks and calories, there are other treats that you can try for your dog. Always stay away from onions and garlic, grapes, chocolate. However, some healthy treats might be crunchy or dehydrated vegetables, kibble in puzzle dog toys, homemade chicken broth that is frozen, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and celery, too.
Bully Sticks vs. Rawhides
Many people wonder if bully sticks are better than rawhides. The answer is, in most cases, bully sticks are better than rawhides. Bully sticks are long-lasting and natural. They can be chewed up and digestible, so they break down quickly in your dog’s stomach. They help clean your dog’s teeth (much like dental chews), and they are low in carbs and somewhat low in fat.
If you want to try a billystick, it is a good idea to get your dog a billystick holder. These will help your dog slow down when eating them and can keep your dog from swallowing the last few inches and possibly choking to death. Either way, it is best to supervise your dog when they’re chewing a bully stick and take it away from your dog when they get too close to the end of the stick.
In conclusion, dogs have a natural tendency to chew. When left to their own devices, they can indeed wreak havoc on furniture or shoes. Bully sticks taste good to dogs, are high in protein and low in fat, are easy to digest, can be safe for dogs of all ages, and can help improve your dog’s dental hygiene. They can also contain harmful bacteria and may cause your dog gastro issues if they’re allergic. Therefore, you must proceed with caution. Ask your et if she thinks bully sticks may be suitable for your dog and if so, choose a high-quality brand that is less likely to contain harmful bacteria. Additionally, you may want to include other healthy and lower-calorie treats like carrots, celery, and cucumbers in your dog’s treat diets. Regardless of which type of doggie treat you will give your dog, they will love you for it.