From curbing anxiety or restlessness to just passing the time, bully sticks can be a tasty treat for dogs. Like anything they put in their mouth, you will want to be mindful of where it’s made and what it’s made of. If you’re new to bully sticks, they are flavor-packed beef, usually made with just one ingredient – steer penis or bull pizzle. They are dehydrated meat sticks that can arouse your dog’s senses while offering them benefits. Most dogs can smell a bully stick if they’re anywhere near, as they have a keen sense of smell. Like most dog products, you may notice a variance in price and options, leaving you wondering what bully sticks are best for dogs. Here’s what you should know about bully sticks for dogs.
Before we get to the bully sticks that leave pups begging for more, here are the answers to your questions and what factors to consider when choosing the best bully sticks for dogs.
What To Consider When Choosing Bully Sticks for Dogs
Bully sticks come in a variety of sizes, and sometimes size does matter. But because bully stick makers understand that dogs come in all shapes and sizes, they make their sticks in varying lengths. Choose the right bully stick by shopping for your pup’s size.
Usually, thicker bully sticks are better since they last longer and give a fun chewing experience for your dog. For larger and heavier dogs or dogs with an aggressive chewing style, a 12-inch stick may just be perfect. However, you may want to start with a thinner bully stick for smaller dogs to prevent choking.
Quality plays an important role in your pup’s treats and meals. Skip bully sticks that have preservatives or artificial ingredients in them. The point of a bully stick is to give your dog a single-ingredient treat that’s not been pumped full of fake additives. To ensure quality, only buy from trusted companies or take recommendations from your vet.
Usually, you’ll find bully sticks to be straight, and although an excellent option, you can also try different shapes like braided rings or curled sticks. They’re also fun to chew, and your dog may like them more than the straight ones. Try your dog out on different shapes to see which they like best.
Now, here’s our list of the best bully sticks for dogs! Which one will be your furry friend’s favorite?
The 10 Best Bully Sticks for Dogs
Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Treats provide entertainment and dental benefits from chewing with a raw, protein-rich snack that’s gluten-free and void of artificial ingredients. Chewing on these 100% natural sticks gently removes plaque and buildup while also delivering a nutritious and delicious snack that’s freeze-dried instead of cooked to preserve nutrients. And while your pup is happy, you can feel good about treating them with one of these best bully sticks as they’re completely USA-made and packaged.
- Made from raw beef muscle
- Free from gluten and artificial ingredients
- No rendered by-products
- No synthetic vitamins or minerals
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes
- Promotes oral hygiene in dogs
- 100% USA-made and packaged
- Reviewers mention unpleasant smell
Help fulfill your dog’s daily protein and chewing needs with Cadet Bully Stick Dog Treats, single-ingredient bully sticks made from 100% beef. Full of protein and natural flavor, these slow-roasted bully sticks are good for heavy chewers. They’re easy to digest and contain nothing artificial. And because they measure between 4 – 7 inches, they’re recommended for small and medium dogs of adult age.
- Made of 100% beef pizzle
- Long-lasting and ideal for oral care
- Good for heavy chewers
- High in protein, low in fat
- No artificial colors, flavors, or fillers
- Inspected in the USA, adhering to FDA guidelines
- May be small for large dogs
If your pup is a picky eater, Nature Gnaws Bully Sticks for Dogs provide a chewing solution! These 5 – 6-inch beef bully sticks are made from a single ingredient without the use of any preservatives or artificial flavorings, giving your dog the ultimate pleasure in chewing. And if your dog can gnaw through anything, they’ll find this bully stick for aggressive chewers a match for their chompers. Safe for all life stages, they’re great for teething puppies too. They contain globally sourced ingredients and are packaged in the USA.
- Single-ingredient and 100% natural
- Ideal for strong chewers
- Great for stress relief
- Perfect for teething puppies
- Rawhide free
- Small business, family-owned brand
- Available in three package sizes: 8-ounce, 1-pound, and 2-pound
- Reviews report inconsistency in size
Can’t stand the nasty smell of bully sticks? I and love and you Free Ranger No Stink! Natural Bully Stix promises less odor but great taste and a satisfying chew made from free-range Brazilian cattle that are grass-fed and raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. Free from all harmful ingredients and rich in protein, these sticks are highly beneficial for your dog’s dental hygiene and perfect for heavy chewers.
- Single-ingredient beef pizzle from Brazilian cattle
- No stinky odors!
- Free of fillers, grains, and artificial ingredients
- Makes teeth clean and healthy
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes
- 100% recyclable packaging
- Not as odorless as they say, but still less stinky
Nature Gnaws makes our list of the best bully sticks for dogs again with their Braided Bully Sticks for Dogs. The braded design offers a different chew experience while still delivering a quality single-ingredient bully stick your dog will love. And because Nature Gnaws adheres to a 5-step safety process that includes fresh raw material sourcing, irradiation, food-grade lab testing, hand packaging in the USA, and UV disinfection of their facility, you can expect a safe and quality product in every bag. Available in 12-inch and 6-inch options, these braided bully sticks are good for dogs of all ages and sizes.
- Braided design for something different
- Made with premium quality, all-natural beef
- Available in 6-inch and 12-inch sizes
- Delicious and lasting flavor
- Great alternative to chemically made rawhide
- Safe for all life stages
- May not stand up to strong chewers
Best Pet’s GigaBite 6 Inch Beef Gullet Jerky Sticks are bully sticks made from free-range Brazilian beef esophagus for a chewing stick with less odor. A single-ingredient flat jerky chew, they’re high in protein, low in fat, and contain no hormones, preservatives, or chemicals. Serve these bully chews as a whole stick or break-off pieces as a training aid. Plus, they’re easily digestible and help reduce tartar and plaque buildup. Available in 20-count or 40-count packages.
- 100% natural product that’s rich in protein
- Made from grass-fed Brazilian cattle
- No additives, hormones, or chemicals
- Prevents the buildup of plaque
- Dog-approved taste
- Affordable pricing
- Safe for puppies and adult dogs
- Pungent smell
- Stick sizes may vary
If you’re introducing bully sticks to your dog for the first time or have a small dog, you need a pack of Raw Paws Thin Bully Sticks. They’re six-inch sticks of thin width that are great for small mouths whether they belong to puppies or small breed adults. A safer option than rawhide and artificial treats, Raw Paws bully sticks are made of single-ingredient, all-natural beef pizzle with no added hormones, preservatives, or steroids. These beef sticks are rich in protein and offer a taste dogs crave. They’re easy to chew and great for your dog’s teeth and gums. Moreover, they kill boredom and help relieve stress in your dog while keeping them occupied.
- 100% all-natural, grass-fed, free-range beef sticks
- Best for puppies and small dogs
- Great for teething
- Free from artificial ingredients, corn, and soy
- Highly digestible compared to rawhide
- Sourced only from sustainable and ethical farms
- Sold in half-pound value packs
- May not be suitable for large dogs
- Not for strong chewers
If your dog gets bored easily and no toy can keep them interested, Chomp’ems Naturally Delicious Bully Sticks are just the solution you need for your pup. Containing one single and all-natural ingredient, these beef muscle sticks don’t contain any grains, gluten, or preservatives. They’re among the best bully sticks for strong chewers, offering a long-lasting and highly digestible alternative to rawhide. And Chomp’ems ensures quality and safety with USA lab testing.
- Single-ingredient beef muscle
- Great for aggressive chewers
- High in protein, low in fat
- Suitable for all life stages
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
SmartBones SmartSticks are different than traditional bully sticks as they offer a chew stick made with real beef, chicken, and veggies and enriched with vitamins and minerals. They’re made with a yummy vegetable-beef outside layer with chicken on the inside. That’s layers of flavor without any artificial preservatives!
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals
- Easily digestible; no rawhide
- Picky eater approved
- Help clean teeth
- Variety of flavor options
- Not a traditional single-ingredient bully stick
- For adult dogs only
Super chewers, get ready because you’ve met your match with Pet Factory 100% Beefhide 7″ Braided Sticks! They’re proudly American-made and 100% natural rawhide sourced from American-raised, corn-fed cattle. And you’ll find they have less odor than beef muscle chew sticks. These hand-braided beef hide sticks have no fillers, grains, sugar, or preservatives. To mix up the taste for your dog, try the Peanut Butter flavor!
- Perfect for dogs who love to chew
- Encourage healthy gums and teeth
- All natural ingredients
- No mess, no smell
- Not suitable for small dogs
- May stain fabrics
Related: Our Picks for the 10 Best Dog Treats
BONUS: Avoid Making This One Mistake with Bully Sticks!
So what one bully stick should you avoid? Simple: avoid giving your dog a bully stick all alone. Always use a bully stick holding device to prevent choking.
While bully sticks are substantially safer than products like rawhide, which cannot be fully digested and often cause obstructions, bully sticks are not without their risks. The biggest risk involves your dog swallowing the final piece of a bully stick, since it becomes to small to hold between the dog’s paws.
Many companies have invented ingenious bully stick holders. Our favorite is the Bow Wow Labs Buddy Safety device.
We also like the more budget friendly Bully Grip brand holders.
Think of bully sticks as a dog’s candy, only healthier! With that idea in mind, coupled with the information above, we bet you’ve already got a choice or maybe two in mind for your dog. Make their chewing dreams come true and buy some of these best bully sticks for your dog now!
Looking for more healthy dog chews? Check out the 7 Best Collagen Sticks for Dogs!
Frequently Asked Questions About Bully Sticks for Dogs
1. Are bully sticks good for dogs?
Bully sticks are great for dogs as they provide a healthy treat that lets them chew. They’re an excellent way to keep your dog engaged and work as a delicious treat while waiting for their next meal. Bully sticks are made from a single natural ingredient, usually beef penis muscle, which is sometimes listed as beef pizzle. And because they are comprised of muscle, there will be no risk of splintering bone that can harm dogs’ sensitive oral tissues and digestive tracts.
2. Is it okay for dogs to swallow bully sticks?
Bully sticks are digestible, so there’s generally no harm if your dog bites off small pieces and swallows them. However, if your dog swallows the whole stick, you may want to consult a vet, as it has the potential to become a choking hazard or cause a gastrointestinal blockage.
3. Can I give a bully stick to my dog every day?
There’s no harm in giving your dog one bully stick a day to help fulfill chewing needs and provide some teeth cleaning. But multiple bully sticks a day isn’t the best idea. Excess of anything can be harmful.
4. Why do bully sticks smell?
Bully sticks are made from all-natural ingredients, generally bull penises, and don’t undergo any chemical process. Thus they may carry a distinctive and unpleasant smell. However, this odor does not usually bother dogs; after all, doggies love some stink in their life from time to time! Search for odorless bully sticks if you can’t stand their smell, but don’t expect a stink-free miracle.
5. What are the best bully sticks for dogs?
The best bully sticks for dogs will be made in the USA with high-quality materials by a reputable brand. There are several choices on the market that fit the criteria. Single Happy, Healthy™delivers a 100% digestible, all-natural, long-lasting bully stick. It’s made from Free-Range and Grass-Fed cattle sourced and produced in the USA. Order yours today at iHeartDogs and feed three shelter dogs with your purchase.
6. Do vets recommend bully sticks?
Most vets encourage dog owners to give their dog bully sticks and deem them safe. The American Kennel Club also calls bully sticks a safe and healthy treat for dogs. Bully sticks should not splinter, making them a safer option than other types of dog bones and stick-like treats. Dog treats that can splinter present the risk of broken pieces, causing internal problems in the dog. None of us like a surprise vet bill, nor do we want to put our dog at risk. Therefore, bully sticks are the treat of choice for many dog owners (and dogs, too).
When shopping for bully sticks, remember they are not all created equal. Choose a brand you trust that uses natural ingredients whenever possible. Additionally, bully sticks are available in a variety of sizes. Choose the appropriate bully stick size and design for your dog and its size.
Looking for a solid bully stick? Snack on this – Single Happy, Healthy™️ All-Natural Free-Range & Grass-Fed Monster Bully Stick!
7. Is it OK to give my dog bully sticks every day?
While you can give your dog a bully stick daily – there are some things to consider before making this decision. Dietary needs can vary on a case-by-case basis, so for some dogs, a bully stick daily may not be the best snack. For a normal, healthy dog, treats should not comprise more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.
Let’s look at the calories of an average 6” bully stick to help us understand this. On average, the bully stick has about nine calories per inch, so the whole 6” stick is about 54 calories.
To calculate your dog’s recommended caloric intake daily, you can use the following formula:
(Weight of the dog in kilograms x 30) + 70 = Calories recommended per day
- To convert your dog’s weight to kilograms, one pound is equivalent to .45 kilograms.
8. How often should you give your dog a bully?
While this is up to the pet owner’s discretion, dogs should probably only snack on a bully stick 2-3 times a week. However, some may say that daily is fine, too. Recommendations can be influenced by your dog’s nutritional needs rather than the safety of the bully stick.
9. Are bully sticks safe for puppies?
Puppies are known for their destructive behavior, so good news here – you can give your puppy a bully stick if they have adult teeth and are at least 5 pounds. Puppies are usually around six months when their adult teeth develop. Recommendations may vary depending on the product, so be sure to check specific recommendations.
10. When should you give your dog a bully stick?
If we are talking age, your puppy should have adult teeth and meet weight requirements before getting a bully stick. If we are talking time and location, this will be up to your discretion. If you have two or more dogs, you may want to give each dog their own treat to avoid conflict. Bully sticks can be given at home or in public. You may want to put a towel or barrier down for your dog to chew the bully stick on. If at home, the smell and residue can stick to surfaces. If in public, the ground is dirty so you may want to offer your dog a clean space to enjoy their treat.
11. Are bully sticks good for a dog’s teeth?
Bad dog breath is the epitome of dogs, especially older ones. Giving your dog bully sticks can promote oral health as they can help clean your dog’s teeth. Bully sticks also provide protein and other nutrients which can promote healthy teeth and gums.
If you need more defense against bad breath, try Brushy Sticks (dental treats for dogs). With every purchase of Brushy Sticks, we donate 7 meals to a dog in a shelter. That means you are fighting two battles at once.
By taking action to keep plaque away, you can only hope your dog’s breath will improve. Bad breath can be a sign of dental disease, which is one of the most common medical conditions in dogs. You may want to consult your vet if your dog has bad breath.
12. Can you calm your dog with bully sticks?
Bully sticks can calm your dog’s anxiety while preventing destructive behavior. Chewing, in general, can help dog’s calm down. To avoid relying on bully sticks all the time, find a mix of chewable toys that your dog enjoys. Some flavored chew toys can be used as a substitute to cut down on calories. Remember, your dog relies on you to help relieve stress and find mental clarity and peace. Monitor your dog’s behavior. They might be unable to talk, but their behavior can tell you quite a bit.
Other benefits of bully sticks for dogs include:
- Rich nutritional value: Bully sticks are an all-natural treat that are packed with beef-flavor and nutritional value.
- Protein-packed: High in protein and low in fat, bully sticks are a nutritional treat for dogs. They also contain vitamins such as calcium and magnesium that can promote strong bones.
- Promote oral health: Bully sticks can help prevent plaque build-up and cavity formation. They can also promote healthy gums, reducing the chance of developing periodontal disease.
- Relieve boredom: Dogs get bored, especially when they don’t have a proper outlet to release energy at all times. A bully stick can help distract and occupy the dog to keep them busy. As a result, this can help avoid destructive behavior.
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