Bully sticks are beef muscle chews that can serve as a safe, healthy solution to your dog’s persistent urge to chew. While bully sticks are highly regarded as a reliable chew treat option, there are certain risks associated with allowing your dog to keep chewing on his bully stick for too long. If you’re wondering when to take bully stick away from your dog, learn more about bully sticks, their potential benefits and risks, and how to tell when the time is right to take it away:
What Is A Bully Stick?
Bully sticks are popular treats for dogs that contain 100 percent pure beef muscle. Bully sticks are made from dried “beef pizzle,” which is a more friendly term for a certain anatomy of a male bull. As a single-ingredient treat, bully sticks are often considered safe, effective treats that are a great option for dogs who like to chew.
Bully sticks can be found in a variety of forms and shapes to accommodate dogs of all sizes and chewing behaviors. From small farms to commercial pet treat companies, there are many brands that sell bully stick treats for dogs. You can find bully sticks in specialty options, such as low-odor or free-range, depending on your preferences.
What Are the Benefits of Bully Sticks?
Bully sticks are considered superior to other treats in the chewing category, like nylon bones or raw hides, as they tend to have fewer health risks and they contain a pure meat ingredient. These durable chews are popular in the dog owner community, as they can offer the following benefits:
- Because bully sticks are made from beef muscle, they are easily digested in your dog’s stomach. Bully sticks from trusted brands do not contain any harmful toxins, chemicals or pesticides that can pose an issue to your dog’s health.
- Chew alternatives, especially bones, can splinter – resulting in injury to your dog’s mouth or digestive system. Bully sticks are comprised of muscle, not bone, so they are not known to splinter.
- The hard surfaces of a bully stick can help gently scrape plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth as he chews, which can promote positive dental health.
- Beef muscle is high in protein and amino acids, which are both essential elements of your dog’s daily nutrition. Bully sticks do not offer “empty calories,” as they provide the same benefits of eating beef.
- If your dog is an extreme chewer, you know that most materials don’t stand a chance against his best efforts. Bully sticks are surprisingly durable and long-lasting against canine teeth.
- Bully sticks feature the aroma of beef, which appeals to virtually every dog. You can find mini bully dog sticks for small dogs, and large, braided options for large breeds.
When Should I Take A Bully Stick Away From My Dog?
While bully sticks are made of digestible beef muscle, there is a risk factor involved if your dog swallows an entire bully stick or even a large chunk of it. Large pieces of bully stick can serve as a choking hazard or result in a gastrointestinal emergency if a piece gets lodged in your dog’s gut and/or cannot be digested.
It’s a good idea to take your dog’s bully stick away from him when it’s reduced to a size that can be swallowed. You know your dog best; if he likes to chew but doesn’t tend to swallow his edible treats, you may be able to leave the bully stick in his possession for a long time. If your dog can’t resist swallowing every chewable substance in sight, however, you should treat the bully stick with great caution and closely monitor its size and shape.
In any circumstance, it is a good idea to only provide bully sticks to your dog under supervision. It only takes a moment for your dog to swallow the entire stick or a large knot, which can result in a serious health issue. Give your dog a bully stick when you can watch him constantly, and take it away whenever you think there is a risk of it being swallowed. It is better to take it away a bit earlier than you may think, as opposed to pushing the limits of “too late.”
What Do I Do If My Dog Swallowed A Bully Stick?
Even if you practice the most extreme caution with giving your dog a bully stick, an accident can still happen. If your dog gobbled down his entire bully stick, there is a chance he will be perfectly fine, but there is also the possibility it can cause a health emergency. After your dog swallows a whole bully stick or large chunk, look for the following signs:
- – which can indicate a severe health problem
- – like increased, rapid or heavy breathing
- – such as disinterest in food or attempting to vomit
- – because you know your dog’s behaviors best
If you are concerned with your dog’s health after he swallow a bully stick, contact your veterinarian. In some cases, you may need to take your dog to an emergency veterinary facility. Once your dog is at the vet’s office, he will likely need some tests performed to determine where the bully stick is and if it is causing any blockages. Treatment options can range from simple IV fluids and continued monitoring, to life-saving surgery in extreme cases.
Are Bully Sticks Safe For Puppies?
It’s no secret puppies love to chew on anything and everything, so it is natural for puppy owners to explore bully stick options to satisfy their destructive pups. In general, bully sticks are safe for puppies – but the same rules of supervision apply. Always watch your puppy closely and try to understand his own style of chewing behavior. Both little puppies and fully-grown adults can run the risk of swallowing a large piece of bully stick.
If you can commit to watching your puppy while he chews on his bully stick, this product is a great option for providing nutritional benefits that are generally associated with fewer health risks than alternative chew treats (and your possessions he may try to chew on.) Because bully sticks are strong and available in highly durable options, these beef muscle chews are often a smart investment, as they tend to last a long time and serve as a chewing challenge to puppies.
Because puppies can have more sensitive health needs, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about chew options before providing them to your puppy.