Dogs love to eat. They don’t seem too picky about what they eat, which can be a problem for us caretakers. We are charged with making sure that they don’t eat anything that can harm them in any way. So, when trendy snacks and treats get your attention, you likely want to learn about them before giving them to your own dog.
One such trendy treat is the bully stick. So, are bully sticks good for dogs, or are they something that should be avoided? The bottom line is that bully sticks can be enjoyed by dogs of all shapes, sizes, and most ages. Here is everything your need to know about bully sticks and feeding them to your furry family member:
Here’s What Bully Sticks are Made Of
The truth is unappetizing to humans, but you must know about it: bully sticks are made of bull penises. True bully sticks are made of nothing more than the muscle of the bull’s penis. Dogs happen to love the taste and texture of bully sticks, which are typically free of hormones, chemicals, and artificial ingredients. A dog would consume all the organs of any prey they take down in the wild, so bully sticks are a perfectly normal and natural thing for them to eat.
The Benefits of Giving Bully Sticks to Your Dog
Natural bully sticks that are not made with any artificial ingredients or additives can be beneficial to your dog in a variety of ways. First, they are pure meat, so they are an excellent source of protein. They’re also easy to digest, which is great for dogs with sensitive gastrointestinal systems. Bully sticks help to clean the teeth as well, which promotes optimal oral health as time goes on. What’s more is that these sticks help to relieve boredom and stimulate the mind, both of which are important for a dog’s quality of life.
The Bully Stick Controversy
There is a bit of controversy surrounding bully sticks, as some people believe that they pose a choking danger and that they could harbor bacteria which can be dangerous to dogs. However, bully sticks that are properly packaged and stored will not collect or harbor any bacteria to worry about. When it comes to choking, all treats and toys can pose a risk so it’s best not to give your dog a bully stick when they won’t be supervised.
It’s important to look for bully sticks that are made without additives of any kind and that are packaged in the United States to ensure that they are handled according to FDA standards. According to the American Kennel Club, bully sticks are not only safe for dogs, but they serve as healthy treats too.
Types of Bully Sticks Your Dog Might Like
All bully sticks are made of the same thing, so there aren’t technically different “types” of them. However, there are different lengths, widths, shapes, and sizes to choose from. Most bully sticks come in lengths of 4, 6, and 12 inches. Smaller dogs tend to do best with the 4-inch and 6-inch options, while the 12-inch options are perfect for large breed dogs like German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.
When it comes to width, it’s usually the case that the wider the bully stick is, the thicker it is. So, the widest options should be reserved for the largest dogs. In terms of shape, there are a few options to choose from depending on the type of chewer your pooch is. Light chewers do well with straight bully sticks, but aggressive chewers might do better with braided or pretzel-shaped bully sticks. Other shapes to look for include loops, curls, and springs.
Best Times to Offer Your Pooch a Bully Stick
Single-ingredient bully sticks can be a healthy part of your dog’s diet, so offering one up to your pooch is never a bad time. However, it’s important to remember that bully sticks are designed as snacks and should be treated as such. These treats should never take up more than 10% of your dog’s overall diet. Giving your dog a bully stick two to three times a week is a great schedule. A great time to offer your canine buddy a bully stick is when you want to keep them busy so you can get some stuff done around the house—just keep an eye on them while you work.
When to Take a Bully Stick Away from Your Dog
There are some instances when it is a good idea to take a bully stick away from your dog. Once a bully stick gets small enough to swallow without chewing yet is still large enough to pose a choking hazard, it’s probably time to take it away. Check the chew often to make sure no large chunks are about to fall off. If so, break the chunks off and discard them before giving the stick back to your dog. You should also take a bully stick away if your pooch starts to become aggressively protective of it.
Some Final Thoughts
Bully sticks are fun and healthy treats that dogs of all shapes and sizes can enjoy. Most are made of natural ingredients and are long-lasting, which can help ensure that your pooch never spends an afternoon bored at home again. Hopefully, our guide has provided you with the insight you need to confidently provide your pup with a bully stick of their own.
Featured Image Credit: Iryna Imago, Shutterstock