You have got yourself a great dog, if only he would stop chewing things that he shouldn't. Notoriously aggressive chewers need something to distract them or they will find entertainment with your shoes, furniture or even your walls. If you've been wondering are bully sticks good for dogs, I've got the answer!
So, what do you give a non-stop chewer? Some healthy alternative are carrots, KONG toys, Nylabones, naturally shed antlers or bully sticks.
What are bully sticks? Are bully sticks good for dogs? Are there better alternatives for power chewers? I'll give you all these answers and explain everything else you need to know about this popular dog chew option.
Are Bully Sticks Good for Dogs?
Bully Sticks – What are They?
You may have never heard of bully sticks, or you may already buy them regularly for your dog. For those of you who are not in the know, bully sticks are made from the male bovine’s raw dried private parts. In other words, bully sticks are named so because they are dried bull penis sticks.
That may be shocking. While you should realize that these are all-natural treats, they are also considered a by-product from the waste of meat processing plants.
These bully sticks are dried raw and cut into 6” and 12” lengths, or can be left uncut up to 48” long. The processing plant can also shape the bully stick into spring shapes (curly bully sticks) or can take three bully sticks and braid them together.
There are a number of companies that make bully sticks, but the only ingredient on the label should be bull penis or bull pizzle. Since they are 100% beef your dog is sure to love them.
Are Bully Sticks Good for Dogs?
Bully sticks sound like a great option for aggressive chewers, especially since they are all-natural and made of 100% beef. Giving these to your dog should be a healthy treat option, or is it?
Bully sticks can provide a safer alternative to rawhide chews and do not contain any additives, chemicals, preservatives or coloring. They are also a great source of protein and contain taurine, which is an amino acid that moves important nutrients to and from cells.
Are Bully Sticks Safe?
In order to answer the question, ‘are bully sticks good for dogs,' you have to know if they are safe. According to the American Kennel Club, bully sticks are not only a safe treat for your dog, but they also offer a variety of other health benefits.
These treats are easily digestible, unlike rawhide, which can be hard on your dog’s stomach. Bully sticks break down easily and also do not splinter like many other treats that are on the market so you do not have to worry about broken pieces causing internal injuries.
Being a safe single ingredient treat, bully treats are only made from high-protein beef muscle.
Beef is a good source of amino acids which helps to maintain your dog’s muscles, skin, and coat. Since bully sticks are free of any artificial ingredients or chemicals, they are a good choice if your dog has any particular allergy to certain other food treats.
The information of the safety of bully sticks is also conflicting in that bully sticks are packed with substantial amounts of calories and there is also the risk of contamination of potentially harmful bacteria. The packaging on bully sticks rarely provides information on what they are made of let alone the fact that the sticks are actually uncooked, dried, raw, strips of meat.
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Handling Bully Sticks
Most pet owners who give their dogs bully products or bully sticks do not know that they are made of bull penis. Manufacturers don’t come right out and say what it is on the packaging, so when surveyed only 44% of consumers knew that bully sticks were made from cow penis. You would be more surprised to know that only 66% of veterinarians knew about bully sticks.
The packaging also never contains information for the consumer on handling uncooked, dried, raw meat. When bully sticks are tested for bacteria, tests show that they can contain Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus (MRSA), and E. coli.
Owners who handle the treats should wash their hands immediately after touching them, as they would if they had handled raw meat. Research has shown that there have been prior outbreaks of illness that has been linked to bacteria caused by contamination from pet products.
Bully sticks are a great lean chew treat for your dog, made of 100% pure high protein beef. Beef muscle is a good source of amino acids and taurine, which your dog needs to grow, be happy and healthy.
However, with obesity in pets a real problem, taking calorie content of treats, including chews into account of the overall diet is important. You should be sure to factor in your dog’s treats and table food, as part of your dog’s overall calorie content for the day, not just what you put in its food bowl.
Bully sticks, while being a significant source of protein, can contain up to 22 calories per inch. Overall this means that the average 6-inch bully stick can contain up to 9% of the required daily calories for the average 50-pound dog.
If you have a smaller dog, that could be an even larger percentage and a significant source of calories that as an owner, you may not even think of. As an overall part of a nutritious calorie plan, bully sticks can be a great addition to your dog’s diet.
Better Than Rawhide?
Bully sticks are much better for your dog than rawhide treats. Bully sticks do not splinter or come apart in broken pieces that could lodge in your dog’s throat or cause severe internal injuries.
Bully sticks are dried naturally and are 100% beef simply stretched and pulled into shape. Rawhides, on the other hand, are made from the inner layer of cow hides. Sometimes it can even be horse hides.
When you look at these chews you’ll find a variety of shapes, flavors and colors. That is because what goes into processing the rawhide is a chemical-laden manufacturing process mainly for drying and preserving the hides.
Afterwards, the hides are commonly bleached with hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and other chemicals; then they are ‘colored’ to appeal to the consumer with more chemicals, artificial colors, and preservatives like sodium benzonate.
These hard chews also expose your dog to risks like getting rawhide stuck in the esophagus, which can be an extremely dangerous situation. Rawhides also can damage teeth and cause other problems. Bully sticks, don’t seem to have those types of inherent dangers, and have a real nutritional value as well.
Go Easy and Keep Clean
Are bully sticks good for dogs? When it comes to bully sticks, most owners initially have to get over the ‘yuck' factor. Once you realize how much your dog loves bully sticks, and you can understand the nutritional value behind them – you can get over just about anything.
It is also a relief to know that your dog is safe while chewing away on its new favorite toy. Being educated about what a bully stick is made of, the calorie content, and its nutritional value will allow you as an owner to make good choices for your dog when it comes to how much and when.
When asking ‘are bully sticks good for dogs,' you also have to wonder if they are safe for you to be touching. You must remember that you are handling raw meat when you are touching the bully stick, and be sure to wash your hands every time. Going easy on the treats and keeping clean will make both you and your pet happy.
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