Our dogs only deserve the best, and Fido-friendly treats are no exception. So, if you have a pet who loves to chew, you may want to check out bully sticks.
These beef treats are fully digestible, and unlike potentially dangerous rawhide treats or bones, bully sticks are made of pure meat, which your pooch will love.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what bully sticks are and why they may make a great treat option for your doggo. We’ll also compare and contrast some of the best bully sticks for dogs so you can find the perfect treat for your pooch.
What Are Bully Sticks?
Bully sticks are dog treats made out of dried bull penis (yup, you read that correctly).
The tasty treats are sometimes called bull pizzle or pizzle for short, and the names are used interchangeably. They are typically made by drying the bull meat, but they also come in cooked varieties.
Many bully sticks are simply a single pizzle, but manufacturers also offer gigantic versions, which are made by braiding several individual pizzles together. A braided bully stick is often the best option for large doggos and heavy chewers.
The 9 Best Bully Sticks for Dogs
Without further ado, here are some of the best bully sticks for dogs currently out on the market.
Understand that bully sticks don’t vary terribly much from each other, so just about any of these should work for your pooch (assuming you select the perfect size). That said, we’ve tried to highlight the biggest distinctions between the various brands.
1. Downtown Pet Supply Bully Sticks
About: The Downtown Pet Supply Bully Sticks are a great option for owners looking for a more affordable bully stick option that’s still safe and tasty for their pups. These quality bully sticks are made from free-range, grass-fed cattle and are free of preservatives, artificial flavors, additives, hormones, and other harmful ingredients.
- Choose between 6- and 12-inch-long bully sticks
- Made from grass-fed, free-range beef free of preservatives or hormones.
- Purchase packs with 10, 15, 30, 50, and 100 units
- Order these bully sticks from DowntownPetSupply.com and get 20% off your order with code K9OFMINE20
- A huge variety of pack options
- Made with grass-feed beef without preservatives or hormones
- More affordable than most other bully sticks
- Some owners complain the sticks are too thin and that their dogs went through the bully sticks more quickly than with other brands
2. Best Bully Sticks
About: Best Bully Sticks offers pizzles in a variety of thicknesses and lengths, making them great for owners with more than one dog. Notably, these bully sticks are specifically processed in a manner the manufacturer claims prevents splintering.
- Designed to prevent splintering to keep Spot safe
- Choose between 6- or 12-inch length sticks in packs of 25 or 50
- Made out of grass-fed, free-range cattle without any additives or hormones
- Inspected and baked in the USA
- Beef sourced from Brazilian cows
- These sticks could have earned the best overall label, but we relied on owner reviews to break the tie
- These bully sticks don’t appear to cause digestive problems often
- This brand’s bulk packs are perfect for saving money over the long run
- These bully sticks may be too thin for aggressive chewers
- The odor of these sticks was too strong for some owners
3. Natural Farm Bully Sticks
About: These bully sticks by Natural Farm are great for small to medium dog breeds. These chews are made from grass-fed cattle, are cleaned only with water, are slow air-dried, and are packaged in a human-grade food facility. Available in 2-3-inch packs or 4-inch packs as well as several quantities, these are the best option for smaller pets.
- Choose between 2-, 3-, or 4-inch long bully sticks
- These bully sticks are prepped in a company-owned facility
- Made from grass-fed Brazilian beef processed without artificial chemicals or ingredients
- Natural Farm donates a portion of their profits to shelters and rescue organizations
- Purchase packs with 10-25 units
- Perfectly-sized bully sticks for small and medium-sized dogs
- Owners were impressed with the quality of these bully sticks
- Owners report that these sticks did not stain surfaces
- Though they don’t smell terrible, they still stink quite a bit
- Some owners were disappointed that the thickness of these bully sticks varied
4. Best for My Pets Odor-Free Bully Sticks
About: If you’re looking for bull pizzle treats without the sometimes-sour smell, try out these odor-free bully sticks from Best for My Pets. Processed in a slightly different manner than some other bully sticks, these are the best choice for odor-averse owners.
- The manufacturer uses a special drying process to reduce odor
- Single-ingredient sticks are crafted from grass-fed, free-range cattle
- 8-ounces of bully sticks per bag
- 6-inch sticks are great for medium-sized dogs
- Sticks are processed in a USDA facility to ensure quality
- These sticks are perfect for pet parents with sensitive noses
- These bully sticks are packaged by weight, which some owners prefer
- Owners were impressed by the quality of these bully sticks
- The amount of bully sticks per bag varies
- Though these sticks may have less odor than others, they don’t smell like roses
5. Nature Gnaws Bully Sticks
About: While it appears that most bully sticks taste great to most dogs, picky pooches with discerning palates may not enjoy run-of-the-mill bully sticks. So, if your pooch is a bit of a treat connoisseur, you may want to try these bully sticks by Nature Gnaws, which appear to be the best-tasting ones for many four-footers.
- Oven-baked to preserve nutrients and flavor
- Family-owned company donates excess treats to pups in need
- Made from grass-fed, free-range cattle
- Bully sticks are hand-packaged in the USA
- Choose between 10, 25, or 50-count packages
- Dogs absolutely adore the taste of these bully sticks
- These thin bully sticks are perfect for puppies and pint-sized pooches
- Because they’re relatively thin, they don’t have a natural smell that’s as bad as some others
- Thin bully sticks aren’t ideal for aggressive chewers or big pups
- Some owners noted that their dogs had increased gas after consuming these
6. Jack & Pup Premium Bully Sticks
About: These awesome-yet-affordable bully sticks from Jack & Pup are a hit with pet parents and some of the best bully sticks for dogs around. Despite providing better value for your dog-treat dollar, these 6-inch sticks will still keep your canine chompin’ for a long time.
- Thick sticks are sourced from grass-fed beef
- 6-inch sticks are great for small and larger pups alike
- 5 single-ingredient beef sticks per package
- These treats are sourced from cows raised without hormones and antibiotics
- A multi-step process helps cut back on the treats’ odor
- Pet parents reported very few digestive difficulties and give them high marks overall
- Jack & Pup’s sticks end up being about $0.05 less per inch of bully stick than most other brands
- These bully sticks didn’t seem to stain carpet or other surfaces
- Some pet parents still complained about the smell of these bully sticks
- A few owners expected these bully sticks to be thicker than they were
7. Natural Farm Braided Bully Sticks
About: Braided bully sticks, like this pack from Natural Farm, can help keep super chewers occupied for longer thanks to their thicker, textured design. Natural Farm’s sticks are made in a company-owned facility with grass-fed beef, so you can be sure your deserving doggo gets a delicious treat.
- They’re sourced from Brazilian beef and processed in company-owned facilities
- Each pack contains ten 6-inch bully sticks
- These bully sticks are backed by a satisfaction guarantee
- Made from free-range, grass-fed beef
- Thick, braided design is ideal for your power chewer
- The thick, braided design of these bully sticks are perfect for super chewers and bigger dogs
- Natural Farm donates to rescue organizations and uses recyclable packaging
- Owners reported that these bully sticks smell better than many others
- These braided bully sticks are fairly pricey, but they make a great special treat
- Caution is warranted, as small pieces of the braid could break off
8. Pawstruck Bully Stick Springs
About: These Spiral Sticks by Pawstruck give your furry friend a unique chewing experience that many doggos love. The spiral sticks are processed by a family-owned company and may be easier for your four-footer to grasp while enjoying his treat.
- These spiral sticks are made from free-range, grass-fed cattle
- Crafted by a family-owned and operated company
- Unique spiral design may help keep dogs engaged for longer than typical bully sticks
- You can buy quantities ranging from 3 to an impressive 250 spiral bully sticks
- Each bully spring is about 6-inches long
- Dogs seemed to love these spiral bully sticks, as they’re easy to grasp
- Pet parents appreciated the consistent quality of these bully sticks
- The spiral chews were a hit among pint-sized pups and gentle giants alike
- A couple of dogs with sensitive stomachs experienced digestive issues
- Some dogs simply preferred the traditional stick shape to the spiral design
9. Bully Stick Central 6″ Bully Sticks
About: Save canine cash for fun adventures with Bully Stick Central’s 6″ Bully Sticks, as these affordable chews are easier on your wallet than other bully stick options, plus long-lasting. Made with a single ingredient of genuine beef pizzle, they’re a great fit for dogs with food sensitivities.
- Handcrafted by bakers and rawhide-free
- Can be purchased by stick or by the case, including 20-, 50-, and 90-count packs
- All-natural chews free of wheat, gluten, grain, and soy, plus artificial colors or preservatives
- Made of ethically sourced, grass-fed cattle from American and Argentinean farms
- Affordable pricing and great bulk-buy options for stocking up for less
- Size ideal for small to medium-sized dogs
- All-natural recipe a win for dogs with food restrictions
- Larger breeds will need a larger bully stick option from the site
- Bulk-buying offers the best savings, which isn’t a good fit for some fur families (that’s a lot of pizzle to store safely!)
What Are the Benefits of Bully Sticks?
With so many different types of chews on the market, many owners wonder why they should even consider giving these (admittedly odd) items to their pet. But as it turns out, there are tons of benefits bully sticks provide, which make them one of the best chews you can give your canine.
Some of the most noteworthy benefits bully sticks provide include:
- Bully sticks are often easy for dogs to digest.
- They’re great for dogs with food allergies since they only contain a single ingredient.
- They come in a wide variety of lengths and widths.
- Bully sticks have a hard texture that pups love to gnaw on.
- Unlike traditional dog biscuits, bully sticks last a pretty long time.
- They serve as a great supplemental source of protein.
- Bully sticks may help reduce tartar and promote healthy teeth.
- Most bully sticks are made without artificial ingredients.
Nevertheless, there are a few minor drawbacks to bully sticks, including:
- They are still treats, which can lead to weight gain over time.
- In some cases, they can cause minor stomach upset.
- The smell of bully sticks can be offensive to human noses — they just have a strong natural odor.
- Some bully sticks may stain fabrics and floors.
- They’re more expensive than many traditional treats.
Bully Stick Selection: How to Pick the Best Bully Sticks for Your Dog
Ready to find the perfect bully stick for your best buddy? Here are some key factors to take into consideration to please your pooch.
Consider Your Dog’s Size
Bully sticks come in a variety of sizes to suit different dogs.
Smaller pups may prefer thinner, shorter sticks, while larger dogs might do best with the thicker variety. If you’re a proud parent of a wee little puppy, it’s probably a good idea to look for smaller, thinner bully sticks that he can handle.
Prioritize Minimally Processed Bully Sticks
High-quality bully sticks should have a single ingredient: beef.
While highly processed sticks that are prepared with artificial chemicals may not smell quite as bad as less-processed versions, they’re not as safe and nutritious for your furry friend.
Think About Your Dog’s Chewing Intensity
If your dog is a heavy chewer, you’ll want to look for sticks that are pretty thick, so they’ll last more than a minute or two. Bully stick newbies, on the other hand, are best paired with a thinner stick so they don’t become overwhelmed by their chew!
Either way, make sure you supervise your dog while he enjoys his snack. While dogs don’t often choke on bully sticks, it can happen, so keep your dog within range while he’s chomping on his snack – especially the first few times you give him one.
Choose Between Sticks, Braids, and Spiral Bully Sticks
Some dogs may like traditional bully sticks, but many four-footers prefer braided or spiral bully sticks. These shapes may be easier for your furry friend to grip and can also take longer to chew (depending on your dog).
Safe Use of Bully Sticks: Avoiding Bully Stick Problems
You may be skeptical of whether or not bully sticks are 100% safe for dogs.
As it turns out, bully sticks are typically safer than other treats (such as rawhide) since they’re completely digestible and won’t splinter when chewed. While they’re pretty tough, they also aren’t nearly as hard as antlers or nylon chews, so they’re less likely to break your pup’s teeth as well.
As with any hard chew, there are always some risks involved, and you’ll want to consult with your vet if your dog is young, a senior, or has dental issues. You’ll also want to keep a careful watch on your dog while they chomp on their bully stick to ensure they’re consuming it correctly and safely.
Bully Sticks: Dealing with the Odor
Your dog may love the way bully sticks smell, but that doesn’t mean you will. Even “low odor” bully sticks can still produce a pretty objectionable aroma. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can reduce the odor without depriving your dog of a delicious treat.
- Remember that some odor is natural. Bully sticks are made from pure beef, so they will always have some smell. And unfortunately, a bit of odor is just part of the bully-stick-chompin’ gig.
- Give your pooch bully sticks outside. If you’re lucky enough to have a fenced-in backyard, you can opt to give your furry friend a bully stick when he’s enjoying the outdoors to cut back on the smell.
- Avoid giving your dog bully sticks on carpeted floors. It’s also a good idea to have your pooch consume bully stick treats on hardwood or linoleum floors while inside instead of something like carpet, which may absorb the odor.
- Keep the bully sticks in an air-tight container when not in use. Stowing away bully sticks can help contain any associated smells when your dog isn’t enjoying it.
- Reach for the toothpaste! Bully stick breath is real. After your dog enjoys a chewing session, give his pearly whites a brush. Dog toothpaste isn’t expensive, and you should be brushing your best buddy’s teeth anyway to ensure good dental health.
Bully Stick Alternatives
Whether you’re low on bully sticks or your pooch isn’t a huge fan, here are some bully stick alternatives to consider sharing with your sweetheart.
- Raw Carrots — If your pooch is looking for the crunchy, hard texture of bully sticks, raw carrots are a nutritious swap that will give your darling dog a great source of vitamin K and calcium. Just be prepared: Carrot-chompin’ canines can create quite a mess.
- Beef Trachea — Beef trachea treats keep dogs occupied and make a delicious, affordable bully stick alternative. Plus, they are usually made without artificial ingredients and serve as a good source of chondroitin and glucosamine, making them a great tasty treat for puppers.
- Dental Chews — Dental chews are great for loosening plaque, giving your dog something tasty to chew on, and general helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean. They’re also fairly pleasant smelling, so they are a great option for pet parents who can’t stand the fragrance of bully sticks.
- Stuffed Kong — A stuffed KONG can help bust doggie boredom and keep your pooch occupied and stimulated. You can also freeze KONG fillings like wet food or dog-safe yogurt for an extra challenge.
- Yak Chews — Yak chews (also known as yak cheese) are great long-lasting chews that have exploded in popularity among pet parents These cheese chunks aren’t as fragrant as bully sticks, and they’re well-suited for strong chewers.
- Fish Chews — These protein-rich treats are ideal for dogs who like to gnaw a little but can’t quite handle the thicker consistency of bully sticks. As an added bonus, some fish-based chews serve as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Puzzle Toys — While they aren’t necessarily treats, puzzle toys can help keep your dog occupied and engaged in the same way bully sticks do. Plus, most dogs love an engaging, daily challenge.
Best Bully Sticks for Dogs: FAQ
Still chewing on some questions or concerns about bully sticks? Let’s tear into the most common ones surrounding these beloved barker chews.
Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs?
Generally speaking, yes — bully sticks are safe for most dogs.
However, if your pooch has dental problems or doesn’t have healthy teeth, it’s best that they steer away from bull pizzle treats, even the extra-thin varieties.
How Often Should I Give My Dog Bully Sticks?
In most cases, bully sticks should not take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. However, our dog’s diets can be unique as they are, so there’s no one right answer.
Bully sticks are safe for puppies, but you’ll want to go slow with young four-footers, as they often have more sensitive stomachs than adults.
Generally speaking, figuring out how often to give your dog or puppy bully sticks is something you’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian.
Should I Supervise My Dog While Using Bullying Sticks?
Whenever you introduce a new food into your dog’s diet (including treats), you should always monitor him closely to watch out for any adverse reaction.
Though pizzle treats are splinter-free, your pup could still run into problems if he tries to choke down really long pieces.
So, make sure you supervise your dog closely the first couple of times he tries out his new treats.
In addition to the criteria discussed above, there are a few other things owners should consider when picking out some pizzle sticks for their puppers.
Should Bully Sticks Be FDA and USDA Approved?
You’ll see a lot of bully sticks labeled as being FDA- or USDA-approved. However, these labels can be somewhat misleading. In practice, all bully sticks sold in the U.S. should be FDA-approved, and cattle raised in the U.S. is subject to USDA oversight.
The FDA is required to regulate all pet food (including treats) to ensure that foods are properly labeled. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily “healthy” for furry friends. For instance, many preservatives and artificial ingredients don’t require pre-market approval.
On the other hand, the USDA regulates farms, though they do not regulate pet food in any capacity.
Ultimately, you want to see these labels, but they don’t necessarily indicate that a given bully stick is healthier than another.
Should You Select Bully Sticks Made from “Grass-Fed” or “Free-Range” Cattle?
Many bully sticks bear labels that include terms like “grass-fed” or “free-range.” But while these are both ostensibly good things, they aren’t quite as beneficial as some would suspect.
For example, the “free-range” label simply means that animals have been provided with some access to open spaces, allowing them to move around some rather than being constantly cooped up. There aren’t any free-range standards across the board, but obviously, more room is better than less, and “free-range” cows likely enjoy a higher quality of life than those who aren’t provided with extra room.
The “grass-fed” label implies that the livestock was fed grass as opposed to grain-based feed. Grass-fed meat intended for human consumption is thought to be more nutritious than grain-fed cattle, but it isn’t yet clear if these benefits translate to canine health.
“Grass-fed” does not imply that an animal was treated more humanely and does not preclude the use of hormones or antibiotics.
Bully sticks are an excellent choice for a variety of households. With its pure dried beef content, bull pizzle treats are a great way to keep Fido occupied while giving him a high-protein snack.
If you’re curious about other fun treats to give Fido, check out our guide to different dog chews – there’s something for every kind of pooch if you know where to look!
Have you tried out any bully sticks? What was your pup’s review? Is a bully stick his favorite natural chew? Have they helped your dog enjoy health teeth? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!