Bully Sticks: Healthy Dog Treat or Calorie Dense Junk Food

It’s a natural reaction to want to provide for your dog. They are your companion and friend so wanting to give them the best treats and snacks as a reward is common place. But as the saying goes “a little too much of what you like can be bad for you” may also apply to one of the most popular of  today’s dog treats.

Bully sticks have long been touted as an all natural snack for your canine friend but recent studies from the University of Tufts suggest that there may be some hidden dangers lurking within this tasty snack.


Are you over feeding your dog?

First up are the number of calories that these seemingly healthy protein sticks contain. Now you have to remember that most dogs don’t need to consume a huge amount of calories each day to stay in shape but the research showed that an average pizzle tested contained between 9 and 22 calories per inch.

How Many Calories?

The average length for a bully stick is six inches (6″) which means that it would contain approximately 90 calories.

Now this may not appear to be a great deal of calories for you or me but for little Fido this could in fact account for up to 30 percent of his daily recommended intake of calories.

It should be noted that the sample range for this survey was quite small and only involved a tiny sample of 26 different types of bully sticks selected from retailers across Canada and the United States.

The same bully sticks were then tested for various contaminates including bacteria and antibiotics. Escherichia coli was found in 27% of the samples among other bacteria in lesser amounts.

Not all of the contaminants found have been known to infect humans and dogs do tend to have a more robust immune system. After all bully sticks are a natural meat product so it wasn’t unexpected that these results would detect some bacteria.

What to Take Away From This Survey

So what did I learn from this survey.

  • Everything in moderation. (Don’t feed your dog bully sticks every day)
  • Try to select the best quality dog treats and if your pooch becomes sick after eating one then it may be time to try a different brand.
  • Always wash your hands after touching a pizzle
  • Don’t eat your dogs Bully Sticks

What Surprised Me Most Was ..

One surprising fact to come out of the survey is that many dog owners surveyed did not even know what a bully stick was made from. I’m sure that it’s of no great shock to readers of this site to discover that a Bully Stick is just a dried penis of a bull or steer. But nevertheless some people still find this fact a little repulsive.

Take away what you will from the survey but Bully Sticks are still a very nutritious, digestible and relatively safe treat for your dogs, especially when compared to some of the alternatives such as rawhide.

It always pays to investigate the different types of treats that you feed your dogs and it is worth purchasing the most natural, and by that I mean organic, products that you can.

Your View

What do you think? Do reports like these alter your views on feeding your dog bully sticks?

Comments (3)

  1. Sarah
  2. Rebecca

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