Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?

are bully sticks safe for dogs

Bully sticks are one of the safest chew treats you can give to your dog.  As far as an edible chew treat goes, bully sticks are full of protein and do not come with the same risks associated with rawhide dog chews. Whenever you give your dog a new chewable treat, it is essential that you remain diligent about watching for adverse effects, but for the most part, bully sticks can be classified as a safe edible chew treat. Before you go running off to buy your dog a pack, let’s go over what bully sticks are made of, their benefits and some of the issues associated with them.

What Are Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks, as the name may imply come from all natural cow tissue, specifically from that of bull penises, also called bull pizzle.  Bully sticks come in all shapes and sizes depending on your dog’s preferences in flavor and their chewing style. Bully sticks are made without chemicals or preservatives, so they are a great natural alternative to things like rawhide chews.

Bully Sticks Compared to Rawhide?

are bully sticks safe for dogsRawhide can easily fracture and splinter into smaller pieces that become a choking or digestion hazard for dogs.  Bully sticks are made from one single piece of muscle tissue that is extremely difficult for a dog to bite into large chunks.  The fibrous muscle tissue used for bully sticks is also highly digestible, unlike the tough skin of a rawhide chew.

How Long Do Bully Sticks Last?

Bully sticks can have a shelf life and stay fresh for upwards of two years! Dogs typically finish bully sticks at a rapid pace as they are both fun to chew and delicious. If your dog doesn’t finish the bully stick after a couple days, it is a good idea to wash it off before you give it back to him.  Repeat the rinsing process every two or three days until the bully stick is consumed.

Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?  

As with any form of cured animal product, there is a risk of Salmonella and/or E. Colli, but for any dog that is in good health, the trace amounts that these bully sticks may contain is not an issue.  Even if your dog is in good health, it is still a good idea to rinse your bully stick in warm water after taking it out of the package and before giving it to your dog, as this will eradicate any excess bacteria the bully stick may contain.

Can Dogs Choke on Bully Sticks?

A choking risk is always going to be an issue with edible chews, but bully sticks have a much lower chance of being a choking hazard than other chews.  Unlike rawhide, these treats do not break off into pieces that may be dangerous for your dog to swallow. Big dogs run the most significant risk, as they are more likely to try and eat a bully stick whole.  While this would be quite a feat, it is not entirely unheard of. Again, it is important to monitor your dog whenever you give him anything new to chew on. As long as your dog doesn’t try to gobble it whole, then consider yourself in the clear.

What Are the Dietary Benefits of Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are a tremendous source of protein because they are 100% animal muscle with no additives or preservatives.  Unlike other animal-based chews like rawhide, bully sticks are full of natural flavor. One word of caution is to monitor how many calories your dog should be getting in a day and plan around that number.  Bully sticks tend to be high in calories, and if they become a regular addition to your dog’s daily caloric intake, you may be required to take a couple extra laps around the block to help him burn off those extra calories.

Mental Benefits:

are bully sticks safe for dogsExcess chewing can be a sign of stress or anxiety in dogs. Bully sticks offer a safe outlet for your dog to exercise his chewing habit.

Bully sticks can last a long time.  Due to the fine muscle fiber of bully sticks, it can take a while for your dog to make it through a full bully stick. Even if your dog is an aggressive chewer, bully sticks are up to the challenge. Unlike rawhide, where there is fear of contamination, and a short window of freshness, a bully stick can be eaten over a long period without fear of contamination.

Chewing is an integral part of your dog’s daily routine, and bully sticks are a great way to encourage healthy chewing.  Always remember to monitor your dog for any adverse reactions they may have when introducing new foods in his diet.

As you can see, bully sticks are an excellent choice for your four-legged companions. As long as you monitor his consumption and keep an eye out for any adverse reactions, your dog will be able to enjoy a delicious bully stick safely and happily!


Author: Alice. “Top 5 Facts About Bully Sticks.” Bully Stick Shoppe, February 20, 2019, Accessed April 17, 2019.

Dyck, Amy. “What Are Bully Sticks: The Facts, Myths, And Nutrition.” Homes Alive Pets, (no publish date), Accessed April 17, 2019.

“How are Bully Sticks Made?” Best Bully, (no publish date), Accessed April 17, 2019.

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