As a dog owner, you must be aware that pups love chewing. They often chew to relieve pain or get rid of discomfort. Among the chewy treats, bully sticks are quite popular among puppies. But can puppies have bully sticks? In this article, you will find the answer and all the additional information that you should know.
Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?
Puppies seem to enjoy bully sticks a lot, but many dog owners don’t know what they are. What are the benefits or risks of this treat? So we will let you go through the pros, cons, and nutritional value of this unusual treat. It will help you decide whether bully treats are good for your puppy or not. So let’s get straight into the details. Shall we?
What Are Bully Sticks?
Bully sticks are dog treats made by drying and stretching a specific beef or steer muscle. The process used for drying is either dehydration, smoking, baking, or air drying. After that, manufacturers apply different chemicals to the bully sticks to kill unhealthy bacteria. After sterilization and drying, bully sticks are cut, packaged, and delivered to markets.
Bully sticks come in different lengths; they can be 6, 12, or 30 inches long. There are different names of bully sticks that you might not know, like steer sticks, pizzle sticks, bull pizzles, pizzles, and bully sticks. But whatever the name is, bully sticks are the chewiest treats, full of proteins that get digested easily.
What Are the Benefits of Bully Sticks for Pups?
During the early months of teething, the pup’s favorite activity is to chew. They don’t spare anything, from clothes and bags to furniture. You name it, and they chew it. Keeping this habit under control is a constant struggle. And the best solution is to give your puppy a bully stick. It will keep your clothes and bags safe and promote the healthy growth of the puppy. Here’s why.
1. Rich in Nutrients
Bully sticks are chewy treats that easily digest and break down in the pup’s stomach. These sticks are made from beef muscle and hence contain a high amount of protein and a low amount of fat. The protein content helps promote healthy body growth in the puppy.
The bully sticks also have great taste, so the puppy will enjoy the treat and get health benefits from the essential amino acids contained in the pizzle sticks. These amino acids are great for the little puppy’s healthy skin, coat, brain, and muscle growth.
2. Mental health benefits
Bully sticks are great for maintaining the mental health of your little furball. This is because chewing activity releases crucial chemicals in the brain: dopamine, endorphin, and serotonin. These chemicals promote a healthy brain and help combat boredom.
3. Dental Health Benefits
Bully sticks are also great for maintaining teeth in good health. They remove the tartar, kill the bacteria on the teeth, and strengthen the jaw muscles of pups.
What Are the Downsides of Bully Stick?
Bully sticks are generally safe for dogs, but some risks are associated with them that might affect your pup’s health and well-being.
Chances of Bacterial Contamination
Dogs have a higher tolerance for bacterial contamination than humans, but they are sometimes also taken down by bacterial infections. As a result, they suffer from symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches, dehydration, etc. To avoid this, buy the bully stick from a reputable enterprise.
When pups keep on chewing the bully stick, it reduces the size of the bully stick. Eventually, it becomes so small that it becomes a potential hazard for a puppy. If the pup swallows the small piece, it can get stuck in the throat and cause a serious choking issue. So keep an eye out when your puppy is chewing the bully stick, and make sure to take it away when they reach the end.
Some dogs are allergic to beef proteins, so bully sticks can have adverse effects on such pups. Avoid it if your pup also suffers from a beef allergy. The bully stick area is also rich in calories, thus causing the pup to become overweight.
What Size of Bully Stick is Good for Pup?
Bully sticks cones in various sizes and shapes. Most bully sticks have lengths ranging from 6 inches to 30 inches and thicknesses ranging from 10mm to 23mm. Not every size fits your pup, so be careful while choosing the bully stick because it must be appropriate according to your pup’s size and weight.
If the stick is too big, the pup cannot finish in one sitting. There are also chances of overeating, which might upset the stomach. And on the other hand, a very small bully stick won’t satisfy the pup’s craving. There is also the possibility that the pup will break the small stick into pieces and choke on it. Swallowing small bully stick pieces can result in intestinal obstruction.
Start with the smallest size stick of 6 inches when the puppy is less than 15 lbs. Proceed to 12 inches when the pup is around 45 to 60 lbs. And then give sticks bigger than 12 inches when the pup weighs around 75 to 90 lbs. Also, keep the pup’s chewing strength and taste preferences in mind while selecting a bully stick.
Nutritional Value of Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are full of nutrition. The protein content in bully sticks is 80–90%, while the fat content is only 3%. The cholesterol level is also very low. The calorie count in bully sticks is 2500 to 3500 kcal/kg, which is quite high. This means that the 6-inch bully stick that you give to your little pup has 90 calories in it! And it will make up around 30% of your pup’s daily calorie requirement. Hence, they are not suitable as daily treats.
How to Introduce Bully Sticks to Puppies
Introducing bully sticks to puppies should be done with care and consideration for their health and chewing habits. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely offer bully sticks to your puppy:
Step 1: Choose the Right Size
Select a bully stick that is appropriate for your puppy’s size and chew strength. For smaller breeds or younger puppies, look for thinner and shorter bully sticks to prevent choking hazards and to ensure they are not too tough for their developing teeth.
Step 2: Start with a Short Duration
Initially, allow your puppy to chew on the bully stick for only a few minutes. This helps you gauge their interest and chewing style, as well as preventing them from ingesting too much too fast.
Step 3: Supervise the Chewing Session
Always supervise your puppy while they’re chewing on a bully stick. This allows you to intervene if they try to swallow large pieces or if they become too aggressive, which could harm their teeth or gums.
Step 4: Check for Quality
Ensure the bully sticks are from a reputable source and are free from harmful additives or contaminants. High-quality bully sticks are more likely to be safe and digestible for your puppy.
Step 5: Observe Your Puppy’s Reaction
After the chewing session, observe your puppy for any signs of digestive distress or allergic reactions. Symptoms such as excessive drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea warrant a visit to the veterinarian.
Step 6: Gradually Increase Chewing Time
If your puppy is responding well, gradually increase the duration of the chewing sessions. However, bully sticks should not replace a meal and should only be a supplement to their diet.
Step 7: Store Properly
After your puppy has finished chewing, if the bully stick is still intact, you should store it in a clean, dry place. This helps to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold on the chew.
Step 8: Maintain Oral Hygiene
Bully sticks can contribute to dental health, but they should not replace regular dental care practices. Continue to brush your puppy’s teeth regularly and consult with your vet for the best oral hygiene routine.
Step 9: Regular Evaluation
Periodically reassess the bully stick’s suitability as your puppy grows. What worked for a three-month-old puppy might not be appropriate for one that’s six months old or older.
Remember, while bully sticks can be a great tool for teething relief and keeping your puppy occupied, they should be introduced thoughtfully and with the guidance of a veterinarian, especially for very young or small puppies.
In conclusion, bully sticks can be a beneficial and enjoyable treat for your puppy when introduced properly and used in moderation. They serve as an excellent aid for teething puppies, helping to alleviate discomfort while also promoting healthy chewing habits. However, it is crucial to choose the right size for your puppy, supervise their chewing sessions, and ensure the treats are of the highest quality. By following these guidelines, you can make bully sticks a safe and satisfying part of your puppy’s routine. Remember, always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about giving your puppy bully sticks or any new type of treat.