What Is A Bully Stick And How Do They Benefit Dogs? | 99PetCare
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​What Is A Bully Stick And How Do They Benefit Dogs?

One of the most common questions we are asked is “What is a bully stick?”. Bully sticks are one of the most popular types of chews for dogs. Dog chews, like bully sticks, satisfy a dog’s desire to chew, while also helping to strengthen and clean your dog’s teeth and gums.

Bully sticks also provide an excellent source of real-meat protein for your dog. So, if you’re worried about his diet lacking the necessary protein content for him, bully sticks can be a great addition to his diet.

Bully sticks come in a variety of types, sizes, and flavors to meet the needs and likes of your dog.

What Is A Bully Stick Made Of? How Is It Made?

So, what is a bully stick for dogs made of? Bully sticks are made from the pizzle, or penis, of bulls. While this may sound somewhat off-putting, the bull pizzle actually contains a high amount of protein and are an all-natural alternative to other types of dog chews, like rawhide.

Bully sticks go through a drying process to become sticks. The process involves cleaning the bull pizzle thoroughly, and then hanging it to dry. Then, much like a beef jerky, the pizzle gets smoked and slow-roasted, which gives it the meaty, smoky flavor that dogs love. This interesting video by k9kraving offers a more detailed look into the making of a bully stick:

Depending on the bully stick manufacturer, they may contain other ingredients, like beef tendon rather than pizzle, or go through slightly different drying and cooking processes. However, true bully sticks are made from one ingredient only, beef pizzle, because of its ability to turn into the long-lasting chew dogs love.


What Are The Benefits Of A Bully Stick For Dogs?

Bully sticks come in different varieties of shapes and flavors, but for the most part, they’re very similar to each other. The most significant differences are shapes: straight, curled, and braided are the most popular types.

The type you choose depends on your preference and your dog’s bite. Braided varieties tend to be thicker and tougher to chew through, whereas smaller and thinner varieties are better for smaller breeds with smaller jaws.

Bully sticks also come in several sizes to meet the needs of your dog. If you have a smaller breed and prefer to feed him a smaller stick, look for 5-inch or 6-inch bully sticks. Larger breeds may enjoy a 12-inch bully stick.


Are There Any Cons Associated With Bully Sticks?

Dog owners should also be aware of the potential risk for bacterial contamination associated with raw products, like bully sticks. There have been bully stick recalls in the past for salmonella contamination, which can potentially be fatal. Studies conducted on several bully treat brands also showed contamination from staph and E-coli on some of the bully sticks.

In conclusion, be aware of the risks and purchase bully sticks only after researching the company, recall data, and customer reviews.

How Does A Bully Stick Differ From Rawhide?

The general idea behind bully sticks and rawhide is basically the same. They both help promote healthy gums and teeth and satisfy a dog’s need to chew. The main differences lie in ingredients and texture.

Rawhide is typically made from the inner layer of cow hide. It also goes through a drying process to turn into the tough texture dogs enjoy chewing. However, rawhide usually breaks down from a dog’s chewing much faster than a bully stick and can become mushy and no longer palatable to some dogs.

Bully sticks remain firm for much longer, with some having a shelf life of up to 3 years. They can be a bit more expensive than rawhide, depending on brand. However, they are more digestible than rawhide and seem to be a safer alternative.

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what is a bully stick

How Often Should I Feed My Dog Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks may be high in protein and low in fat, but, much like human food, low fat doesn’t equal low calories. If you go overboard with feeding bully sticks to your dog without giving him proper exercise, he could be getting way too many calories that he isn’t burning off.


I hope I’ve answered your questions. They may not sound like the most appetizing treat to us (and trust me, they’re stinky!), but rest assured, dogs crave the texture and taste.

Bully sticks offer very similar benefits as rawhide treats. They satisfy a dog’s chewing need, while also keeping gums and teeth clean and healthy. However, they are more digestible than rawhide chews and pose less risk for choking or stomach blockages. And with only one ingredient, they’re just about the most natural treat you can give your dog.

As with any dog treat, remember to feed your pooch bully sticks sparingly and only when you’re able to supervise. You certainly don’t want your dog to overeat or be at risk for choking when you’re not around to help.

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Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for 99PetCare during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Braden Bills - July 26, 2017

I want to make sure that I get something that can help clean my dog’s teeth. Bully sticks seem like a great way to handle that! Not only can they clean his teeth, but they can strengthen his jaw and provide protein! Then there’s also the fact that he would have a great time chewing it. I’ll have to see if I can get some!


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