For dogs, livin’ the good life means a loving human, plenty of food, lots of walks, treats, and of course yummy bones. Bones and chew sticks are a great alternative to giving your dog too many treats. Even better, they can give you a reprieve for a good 30 minutes or so while your dog sets about working on (or hiding) their bone.
In this post, I will be providing readers with a review of the best bully sticks for dogs. I talk about what bully sticks are made of and whether they are safe for dogs. Then we will look at the the types of bully sticks for dogs and puppies. Last but not least, their will be an overview of the top brands and bully stick products.
What are Bully Sticks Made of?
One of the most popular questions when it comes to bully sticks if what are they made of. Bully sticks also known as pizzle sticks, beef pizzles, steer stix, and beef sticks are made from bull penises. Pizzles have historically been used to create walking canes, medicinal powders, and are still even eaten raw or cooked by humans in certain parts of the world today. In the United States, one of the primary uses of bull pizzles is to produce dog chews. They largely come from North American cattle. The result of the manufacturing process of bully sticks is 30-40 inches long, very hard brown sticks. These are then cut to sizes as small as three inches for little dogs and can range up to 30 inches. This includes pretty much any length in between such as 5, 6, 7, and so forth.
Most people’s reaction to when they first find out what they are made of is either repulsion or perplexity. That is why some manufacturers now put on their packaging that the sticks are made from “dried muscles” or “beef tendons.” While that is certainly part of the anatomy of a bull penis, it is just a way for these companies to try and circumvent the psychological barrier many people have.
Why the heck would I feed my furry little friend bull privates!? Well that is a good question. There are a number of reasons these are so popular. Probably the leading reason bully sticks have grown in popularity is because is that they last an incredibly long time. For a large dog, they can last a few days and for smaller dogs sometimes even a week or so. The hardy bully sticks are also great for reducing tartar and plaque. Another reason is that bully sticks are a 100% natural product. On average, bully sticks contain about 80% crude protein, 2% crude fat, 1% crude fiber, and about 20% water content. This is an excellent source of protein for dogs without getting a bunch of carbs or fat calories.
Furthermore, most manufacturers process includes creating odor free bully sticks. If they are cleaned and processed the right way they do not have odor. However, the strength of the odor will vary from brand to brand, with low quality cheap ones usually having a smell. In general bully sticks do not smell as much as some other types of bones such as dried tripe sticks for example. The manufacturing process of bully sticks also reduces waste. Every part of the animal is being used which in turn helps farm operations become more sustainable.
Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs and Puppies?
Bully sticks for dogs are suitable for any dog with wheat and corn allergies. They only contain protein, fat, and moisture. While they take awhile to chew, enough chomping with the blunt back teeth and saliva makes them soft enough to tear off pieces. These pieces are safe for both dogs and puppies to digest.
There have been some pet owners concerned with either health risks posed by bully sticks or the calorie content of them. Some types of bully sticks do contain a great deal of calories. In a small study, researchers found bully sticks contained 9 to 22 calories per inch. However, the study does have some limitations. The sample size was 26 sticks. These sticks were bought from different manufacturers and retail locations in Canada and the US. It wasn’t disclosed just how they went about selecting the 26 sticks. Even if you work out the average that is about 88 calories per 6 inch stick. For a 50 pound dog that is about 9 percent of its daily diet. So, that still stays under the daily recommend 10% of a dog’s diet being composed of treats.
The other concern is bacterial contamination with bully sticks. While this is a valid concern, it is very rare for a bully stick to contain anything that will harm your dog. Petco has been selling bully sticks for about 10 years and there has never been an epidemic. Just as with raw hide bones and other types of treats, there is always a risk of it being contaminated. Most manufacturers do their best to sanitize and create quality products. In recent years some new products have been introduced to the US market. For example water buffalo bully sticks from India. Most people prefer US made bully sticks because of the cooking and safety standards employed. If you are very concerned about health risks try to find a reliable brand or avoid them altogether.
Most Popular Bully Sticks
My dog Puddles (English Bulldog) loves bully sticks. She favors them over raw hide bones, but she’ll taken down either one in a few hours tops. If your dog doesn’t like raw hide or you are just looking to add some variety, you may want to try one of these.
Best Odor Free Bully Sticks: Bully Sticks by Patriot Pet Products
These are great low odor bully sticks. They are hand inspected for quality and made in the United States. They last longer than rawhide and you don’t get the soggy mess clean up that sometimes is the result. While these are pricey, they are extremely high quality. The thickness of the sticks increase the longevity of these sticks.
Best Bully Sticks for Puppies: Supreme Bully Sticks by Best Bully Sticks
Best Bully Sticks is one of the most popular bones ordered online. They are 100% all natural beef and fully digestible. I’ve purchased the 6 inch sticks and they are perfect for my 40 pound dog. Any bully stick will help promote healthy gums and teeth because of all the chewing required to eat the bone. Best Bully Sticks are made from free range Brazilian cattle.
Best Braided Bully Sticks: Best Pet Supplies Braided Sticks
These bully sticks are braided for extra thickness and long lasting. They come in 6 inch or 12 inch options. All of Best Pet Supplies bully sticks are produced at FDA certified sites in the US. That means these bones are randomly tested for safety.
Best Thick Bully Sticks: Peppy Pooch Bully Sticks
If you’re looking for some of the best bully sticks, these premium organic sticks are top of the line. Peppy Pooch makes some extremely thick bully sticks. These sticks will last forever and really help your dog’s oral hygiene.
Best Low Cost Bully Sticks: Cadet Bully Sticks
Cadet bully sticks are a very popular option for dog owners. They are one of the most popular bones found in Pet Stores. You can get 1 pound of premium quality bully sticks for about 20 bucks. Not bad.