Choosing The Best Bully Sticks For Your Dog
According to your dog there are many things in your home that make fine chews: your best leather shoes, TV remotes, eye glasses, anything from the kitchen trash, and that big stick from the backyard, to name a few. Dogs will find ways to exercise their natural urge to chew! However, for safety’s sake, and for your dog’s health, it’s better to choose your dog’s chews with care. One of the most popular chews for dogs is the bully stick.
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What are bully sticks?
Indeed, like many odd-sounding dog treats, the source of the “bully stick” is not immediately apparent from the name. Bully sticks are actually beef dog treats and chews made from the penises of cattle – sometimes called pizzle sticks. Pizzles have been used for centuries for different things. People have used them for medicine, made walking canes from them, and used them for human food. It’s not surprising that dogs love them, too.
There are literally hundreds of bully stick products made for dogs today. Most of them are made from cattle that comes from the United States or South America. However, in recent years some bully stick products have also been made from cattle from India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Most people recommend that you buy bully stick products that come from the United States, Canada, or South America because the inspection and manufacturing processes are higher. Bully sticks can be made in different ways. Some are sun-dried (less preferred); others are smoked to remove moisture, which leaves a smoky odor on the bully sticks. Some are cooked in an oven and are odor-free. Cooking in an oven removes more moisture from the product. The longer and more fully bully sticks are dried, the less odor they will have. Whether you choose a product that is smoked or oven-cooked is usually a matter of preference. Your dog will prefer that a bully stick have a little more moisture/odor because the stick will also contain a little more flavor but some owners are not as excited about bully stick odor.
What are the benefits of giving your dog bully sticks?
The primary benefit of giving your dog a bully stick is that it is a healthy chew that satisfies a dog’s natural urge to chew. Good quality bully sticks have some nutritional value. They are also considered to be safer than rawhides and some other chews. Chewing also promotes good dental hygiene and good breath.
What to look for in a bully stick
The best bully sticks are a natural product with nutritional value in the form of good quality protein. They are also free of chemicals and other additives. The beef pizzles used for making bully sticks are a tendon that is particularly high in the amino acid taurine. Taurine is good for your dog’s heart, eyesight and other functions.
Here are some tips to help you choose the best bully sticks. You can look for this information on packages or from vendors:
The best bully sticks are made from 100 percent natural free-range beef. This may also be described as grass-fed beef. Cattle from the United States, Brazil, and Canada are usually recommended. Ideally the beef will be USDA inspected and passed as human grade beef tendon. Lesser quality bully sticks are usually made from cattle that come from India and China.
Look for bully sticks that are made from cattle that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, some manufactured bully sticks contain other chemicals to remove odor or preserve the products. Some manufacturers will also use chlorine or other chemicals to wash bully sticks to remove odor or hide other signs of a poorly made product. It’s better for your dog to choose a quality bully stick that is chemical-free than to choose an inferior product that takes these shortcuts.
Which bully stick should you choose for your dog?
Bully sticks come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, though most of the products sold in the U.S. are either six inches or 12 inches long. They can also be molded into knots, rings, braids, or other shapes before they are fully dried.
Bully sticks are not just for big dogs. Small dogs love them as much as large dogs. If you have a small dog you may want to buy a smaller bully stick. Often the kind of bully stick you purchase will depend on how vigorously your dog chews as much as his size. If your dog is a powerful chewer, then you will probably want to buy a thicker bully stick to keep him happy. If your dog has only a moderate interest in chewing you can buy a slimmer bully stick.
Can you store bully sticks?
Bully sticks can be stored for a long time before you give them to your dog. If you keep them in the package, you can store them in your freezer and they will last even longer. If you give your dog a 12-inch bully stick, many people will take it away after the dog has chewed on it for a while and put it in the freezer. This will preserve it and cause it to harden again. You can take it out and give it to your dog to chew on again whenever you like. Most dogs will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to chew a bully stick. Products are usually good for a couple of years.
Are bully sticks safe?
Good quality bully sticks are made of 100 percent protein so if your dog ingests small bits of them it should not harm him. Dogs can digest bully sticks. At the same time, it’s always recommended that people supervise dogs when they chew bully sticks or other chews in case your dog should get something lodged in his throat. It’s a good idea to inspect your dog’s bully stick each time you give it to him or take it away to make sure there are no large pieces that could strip off.
How do bully sticks compare to rawhides?
Many people consider good quality bully sticks to be safer than rawhides because bully sticks are fully digestible. Rawhides are the bestselling chew in the United States but they are harder for dogs to digest. In some cases rawhides can cause blockages. Rawhides also lack the nutritional value that bully sticks have. When you give your dog a bully stick you are providing some protein to his diet. Technically, you could figure the protein calories into his daily caloric intake.
Good quality bully sticks
Here are a few of the best quality bully sticks that we know about. There are others, but you can use these as a guide.
Barkworthies makes lots of great bully sticks. This particular bully stick is a double-wide. It’s 12 inches long so it would be a great choice for a big dog that loves to chew. This is a 100 percent natural, 100 percent digestible product made from a single ingredient – the bull pizzle. Additive, preservative, and chemical-free.
Bully Sticks Braided Bully Sticks 7” (3 per package)
These braided bully sticks are made from cattle that are free-range and grass-fed. Bully Sticks brand makes their bully sticks in different sizes and shapes. These 7-inch braided sticks are good for smaller dogs that love to chew. Great for chewing puppies, too.
Obviously, there are LOTS of other bully stick products. Barkworthies, Redbarn, and other companies make some very good bully sticks. These are just a few that came up when we searched on Chewy.com. There is some price range with bully sticks but most of them are very affordable. You can also find bully stick products that are combined with cow hooves and pig ears. Many of the products are very creative. If your dog enjoys these other chews and you can supervise him while he chews, there is no particular reason to avoid them. Pig ears don’t last very long when most dogs chew them; and the worst thing about cow hooves is that dogs seem to leave them lying in the floor so you can step on them when you’re barefoot. Otherwise, combining them with bully sticks or other treats seems like a good idea.
As usual, you don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive products but if you buy the cheapest, you are probably buying inferior products. With bully sticks, the cheapest products may be made from beef that comes from India or China and it may contain added chemicals – not things that you want for your dog.
We hope this look at bully sticks helps you choose some chews that your dog will love.