Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Can puppies have bully sticks since they are rampant chewers? Yes! Bully sticks are suitable for puppies, especially those in their teething phase.

These popular dog chews not only ease their instinct to chew but also keep their chompers free from tartar and plaque.

Learn more about the health benefits of bully sticks as you read on. We also listed down tips on how to choose the right bully stick for your pooch.

What Are Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are single-ingredient chews for dogs. These come from bull pizzles, also known as bull penises or pizzle sticks.

Bull pizzles are stretched and twisted before dried out to make these dog chews. The drying process commonly uses dehydration to preserve the quality and nutrients of bully sticks.

However, some manufacturers prefer to use other methods such as baking or smoking. In addition, for contamination prevention, some bully sticks are chemically treated or irradiated to eliminate harmful bacteria.

Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?

A Jack Russell terrier eating a bully stick.
Yes, bully sticks are good dog chews for puppies. Here are the health benefits puppies can get from chewing on pizzle sticks:

  • Cater to Their Chewing Needs

    Puppies are natural chewers. This behavior is a way of navigating and exploring their surroundings. Training can lessen their chewing tendencies but not eliminate them.

    This is where chew toys such as pizzle sticks come in handy. They are specifically designed to be gnawed on by puppies. They are also beneficial for dog owners as they prevent their pets from chewing on household items and furniture.

  • Highly Digestible

    When searching for dog chew for puppies, choose chews that are easily digestible to avoid stomach problems. Pizzle sticks fit the bill since they are easier for a puppy’s stomach to break down compared to other types of dog chews.

  • Durable and Long-Lasting

    Are bully sticks safe for teething puppies? Yes, bully sticks are safe for teething puppies as these can endure the assault of their chompers.

    Pizzle sticks are available in different thicknesses, shapes, and sizes that satisfy various puppies’ chewing needs.

    Which bully sticks are best for puppies? Aggressive chewers will enjoy gnawing on braided pizzle sticks. The straight pizzle sticks suit the slow chewers. Bully rings are great for puppies that enjoy a brain-teaser.

    How long do bully sticks last? It mainly depends on how dedicated your puppy is to chew. If he chews non-stop, he can whittle down a bully stick within a few hours or days. The dog chew will last for weeks if your dog is a low to the moderate chewer.

  • Protein-Rich Dog Treats

    Bully sticks are made from high-protein beef muscle, which is low in fat and cholesterol. Moreover, it also contains all the essential amino acids your puppy needs. These are all vital in supporting the development of his skin, coat, muscles, and brain.

  • Good for Their Teeth and Gums

    Bully sticks are good for your puppy’s dental health. Chewing on pizzle sticks encourages the production of saliva, which is rich in lysozyme. It helps bad bacteria from thriving in his mouth.

    Gnawing on pizzle sticks helps maintain healthy teeth since they also remove plaque and tartar, which are responsible for developing periodontal diseases.

Do Vets Recommend Bully Sticks?

A big dog eating a bully stick.
If you are still wondering, “Are bully sticks ok for puppies?” the answer is yes since many vets recommend bully sticks as chew toys for puppies.

These are better alternatives to rawhide chews because of their high digestibility rate. However, pet owners need to take precautions when giving pizzle sticks to puppies due to some health risks.

What Are the Potential Dangers of Bully Sticks to Puppies?

Bully sticks for dogs as chew treats also have some health risks. Shedding light to these concerns will help pet parents safely and responsibly give pizzle sticks to their puppies.

May Get Stuck on the Throat or Stomach

Bully sticks become a choking hazard when they become small enough to swallow. They can accidentally get jammed in a puppy’s throat.

Although pizzle sticks are highly digestible, ingesting large pieces of them causes severe blockage in the stomach. Both scenarios are horrifying for both puppies and dog owners.

For this reason, always keep an eye on your puppy while he chews on a bully stick. Take it away from him once the chew treat is reduced to a small size.

Beware of Bacteria Contamination

Some companies have lenient rules regarding the sanitary production of pizzle sticks. This increases the risk of having contaminants in these chew treats.

In 2018, the FDA made a major recall of thousands of bully sticks due to Salmonella contamination.

In 2013, research showed that 3 out of 36 bully sticks contain different types of harmful bacteria. These include Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Escherichia coli.

Healthy dogs are not in danger of bacterial contamination since they have a strong immune system. However, puppies are at high risk as their bodies’ defenses are not fully developed.

What’s more, some bacteria can be passed on from pets to their humans. Young children, sick, and elderly people are more vulnerable to bacteria contamination.

Thus, pet parents should be careful in choosing bully sticks for their puppies. Always choose the ones made by a reputable company that manufactures its dog chews in a hygienic establishment.

Be sure to sanitize and wash your hands after handling pizzle sticks too. Do not forget to clean areas and items where the dog chews came into contact as well.

May Trigger Beef Allergies

Bully sticks are often made from beef, which is one of the most common allergens in dogs. If your puppy suffers from this condition, it is not advisable to give him beef bully sticks.

Fortunately, there are alternative pizzle sticks in the market. These are beef-free as they are made from bison. However, note that bison bully sticks tend to be more expensive and have a stronger natural odor.

Dog owners may be scratching their heads and wondering, “Are bully sticks safe for puppies even if they have all these dangers?” Yes, they are. In fact, pizzle sticks are safer compared to other dog chews.

Most of the bully stick side effects mentioned above are easily avoidable if you are cautious in choosing bully sticks for your pup. Above all else, always supervise your pet.

Too Many Calories

A study was made about the calorie content of dog bully sticks. It is found that an average 6-inch bully stick has around 88 calories. This amount is already excessive for small and medium-sized dogs.

Many dog owners ask, “Can my puppy have a bully stick every day?” No, it is a bad idea to give your puppy a pizzle stick every day.

If you do so, expect him to gain extra pounds. So let him chew bully sticks 2–3 times a week at most.

How many bully sticks can a puppy have? As a rule of thumb, give your puppy no more than 1 bully stick per day. Be sure to reduce the portions of his remaining meals to cut back on calories.

Additional Tips in Choosing Bully Sticks for Puppies

Different brands of bully sticks are sold on the market. It can be tricky to find one that is healthy and safe for your puppy. We listed down more tips to guide you in picking the right bully stick for him:

What Age Can a Puppy Have a Bully Stick?

A spitz eating a bully stick on a furry sheet.
Puppies can have chew toys such as bully sticks once they reach 12–24 weeks old. This is the peak of their teething period thus, they have stronger urges to chew.

It is not recommended to give bully sticks to puppies below 12 weeks of age. Around this time, their baby teeth are still erupting from their gums and can be easily damaged by bully sticks.

How Long Should Puppies Chew on Bully Sticks?

Bully stick chew time for puppies should be around 5–10 minutes. This limits them from ingesting too much protein, which can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.

Once the bully stick becomes small enough to fit into his mouth, take it away from your pup. Thus, supervising your dog is a must. If the size of the pizzle stick is around 2.5–3 inches, it is time to remove it from your dog.

Some dog owners use bully-stick holders to keep their pooches from choking on the bully sticks.