Which bully stick is best?
Dogs know we love them, but we don’t always have a way to communicate how grateful we are to have them. One solution is to shower them with treats, but this can lead to adverse effects like weight gain. An excellent middle ground to this approach is giving them tasty bully sticks to chew on. Top choice Pawstruck 12-Inch Bully Sticks are high in calories but can last long enough to mitigate that fact.
What to know before you buy a bully stick
Length and thickness
Bully sticks come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses to fit the size and caloric needs of any dog breed. It’s important to use appropriate lengths and thickness with your dog. If it’s too small, it becomes a choking hazard; too large and it can upset their stomach or be difficult to chew.
Four-inch sticks are best for dogs under 30 pounds, while six-inch sticks are best for dogs between 30-50 pounds. Dogs between 50-100 pounds should chew on 12-inch sticks, and dogs over 100 pounds should chew on 24-inch sticks.
Bully sticks are available in a variety of shapes. The most common is a straight stick. Others include curls, rings and braids. Rings take the longest to chew, while braids provide the most dental benefits.
Bully sticks are available as an individual purchase, but this is rare. Most come in packs of at least five, though some can be as large as 100. It’s recommended to start with a small package to see if your dog likes the treat before upgrading to larger sizes for cheaper per-stick costs. Extra-large packages should be stored in airtight containers to prevent them from spoiling before you can use them all.
What to look for in a quality bully stick
All bully sticks have a natural odor. It becomes stronger as your dog pumps moisture into them while chewing. Fair warning: many consumers find the odor to be difficult to stand. Thus, many manufacturers use one of several methods to reduce or change the odor into something more manageable. The most common method of odor reduction is to dry the stick for varying lengths. The less moisture it contains before chewing, the less it will smell. But even the most thoroughly dried sticks — often marketed as odor-free — still have some amount of smell. Smoking the stick to make it smell smoky is also commonly done.
All of this said, the smellier the stick, the more flavorful it will be and the more your dog will enjoy it. Some dogs will outright refuse to chew an odorless stick.
Some bully sticks take the “treat” aspect even further and stuff the center with all manner of fillings, peanut butter being among the most common. The downside to filled treats is the increase in calories and the likely presence of preservatives that fill-less sticks usually lack.
How much you can expect to spend on a bully stick
Small packages of bully sticks usually cost $10-$30. Medium-sized packages usually cost $20-$50. Large packages can cost up to $100, and the rare individual bully stick rarely costs more than $15.
Bully stick FAQ
What is a bully stick made of?
A. Bully sticks are made from high-protein muscle. They’re a good source of protein and taurine, which improves the health of your dog’s muscles and organs.
How often can a dog have a bully stick?
A. Generally speaking, one stick a day. However, due to the high levels of protein, it’s wise to consider one every two or three days. Too much protein can upset a dog’s stomach and negatively affect its liver and kidneys. You also need to balance your dog’s caloric intake to prevent unhealthy weight gain.
How safe are bully sticks for my dog?
A. When given responsibly, perfectly safe. The biggest risks are simply too much protein and calories. They can also be a possible choking hazard once your dog has chewed a stick down to a size it can swallow, so it’s best to take the stick away once it hits that point. The health benefits of the treats and the dental benefits of being a hard chew outweigh the risks.
What’s the best bully stick to buy?
Top bully stick
What you need to know: These sticks can last for several hours of chewing and provide plenty of nutrition and fun for large-breed dogs.
What you’ll love: Each one has approximately 120 calories. The braided design is excellent for cleaning teeth. They’re sourced from free-range Paraguayan bulls and have no additives, including color or preservatives. Pawstruck is a family-owned small business.
What you should consider: The extra-large size makes for a long-lasting smell. Stick quality is inconsistent between packages.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bully stick for the money
What you need to know: These are lower-cost and come in perfect sizes for any breed.
What you’ll love: They are sourced from free-range, grass-fed Brazilian cattle and contain no additives. The sticks resist even heavy chewers. and help keep your dog’s teeth clean. They’re available in a 6-inch pack of 20 or a 12-inch pack of 12 or 24.
What you should consider: They aren’t fully odor-free, only odor-reduced with some packages being more or less so. Stick quality is inconsistent between packages.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you’re unsure about bully sticks, try this small-size package.
What you’ll love: These are 6 inches long and provide adequate dental cleaning. The company sources only fresh material, irradiates for cleanliness, submits for food-grade testing and is packaged in the U.S. with a further round of UV disinfection.
What you should consider: Some consumers found these sticks to have a powerful odor. Others were unhappy with the thinness and hollowness of the sticks.
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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