What are bully sticks?
Bully sticks are dog chews made from dehydrated bull pizzle. The muscle of the bull is stretched, then dried and cut into smaller pieces. Every dog that I know absolutely loves them! In fact, dogs like them so much that sometimes it’s hard to keep enough around. The trick is to find sticks thick enough that it actually takes the dog some time to chew through it.
Bully sticks come in many different lengths and thicknesses to accommodate different sized dogs. Some bully sticks are twisted or braided, which can sometimes make them last longer and adds some variety.
Why do bully sticks smell so bad?
Bully sticks can emit a very pungent odor when your dog is chewing on it. Some compare the smell to a dead animal or rotting fish. It’s true, the smell can be overpowering for humans, but it smells like heaven to most dogs.
The odor itself comes from the fact that the pizzle is made from real animal body parts that are raw and dehydrated. Some bully sticks are smoked, which can add to the aroma. Fortunately, odorless bully sticks are available for those who are too put-off by the regular kind.
Are bully sticks safe for dogs?
Bully sticks are promoted as a rawhide alternative that is 100% natural and fully digestible.
As with all treats, moderation is key and your pet should be supervised when consuming. Also, it is important to wash your hands after handling bully sticks as there is a possibility of bacterial contamination (albeit small). Currently, bully sticks are considered a safe treat for dogs to chew.
Odor-Free Bully Sticks
Bully sticks that are advertised as “odor-free” or “low-odor” may be appealing to people who find that natural smell a bit to overpowering. However, the natural state of the bully stick is not odor-free and any process of altering the chew treat in order to strip its natural odor is controversial. Our personal opinion is that the non-odorless sticks are best, and our dogs agree.
Irradiated Bully Sticks
The practice of irradiating bully sticks is common yet highly controversial. Irradiated bully sticks are treated with radiation in order to reduce or eliminate potentially harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, as the sticks are exposed to the radiation, chemical changes may occur which could potentially be harmful to pets. If you are concerned about feeding your dog irradiated bully sticks or other products, you can check with the manufacturer of the product to find out if they use this practice with their products.
Country of Origin
The safety of dog products produced outside of the United States is a concern of many dog owners. In general, avoiding bully sticks from China is probably a good idea. Beyond that, you should use your best judgment and contact the manufacturer with any concerns you have about where they source the bulls for their product.
Where can I buy bully sticks?
It’s easy to experience a tinge of sticker shock when you go to your local pet store and see the cost of one bully sticks. If your dog goes through his chew treats quickly, then you should definitely look into buying your bully sticks in bulk from online retailers.
We have purchased our bully sticks from Amazon and Ebay in the past, both with good results. Currently we only purchase our bully sticks on Amazon because we love Prime two-day shipping!