Dogs chew… a lot.
While this may seem like a downside of owning a dog, especially when they’ve chewn through your favorite pair of shoes or underwear, if you plan correctly, providing the right enrichment for your dog may relieve stress for you AND your best friend!
Why Do Dogs Chew?
As our dogs’ ancestors evolved, finding ways to keep their teeth healthy and jaws strong was necessary. Chewing on bones made use of the remains of their prey, and it also helped scrape off the plaque and harmful bacteria in their mouths. This meant healthier teeth, but the motion also meant strengthening their jaws for the next hunt.
To this day, dogs keep the same habits, despite the (usual) lack of hunting they do. Many owners also brush their dogs’ teeth to keep them clean and prevent disease, but this doesn’t mean the benefits of chewing disappear.
Why Bully Sticks are Good for Dogs
Healthy: No Preservatives or Additives
The market is competitive when it comes to dog treats and toys, and there are a lot of treats that promote themselves as safe, even when they’re not. Treats in the shapes of toothbrushes most likely contain unnatural additives, and may upset the stomach of a sensitive dog. Treats like these also usually aren’t hard enough to clean your dog’s teeth, and while they may be tasty, they aren’t as beneficial as Bully Sticks.
Bully Sticks are natural. They come directly from cows as 100% beef muscle with no additives. They’re also great for all ages and sizes. Puppies can find a lot of relief in them when they are teething, and may even encourage adult teeth to come in. Whether your dog is 5 lbs or 90lbs, they will like Bully Sticks.
Bully Sticks are also endorsed by major canine websites such as the American Kennel Club. One reason for this is how much protein Bully Sticks have. They contain anywhere from 80% to 90% protein. It’s also important to stress how great it is to have a natural treat for your dog, especially when their dog food or other treats may be highly processed.
Many odor-treated Bully sticks do have added chemicals, so make sure to check before purchasing.
Stimulation & Enrichment
Chewing is a form of stimulation and enrichment in your dog’s life. It prevents boredom and destructive behaviors. However, if you haven’t provided opportunities for your dog to chew, your pup will find them on their own. In order to avoid chewing up clothes, shoes, and electronics, it’s necessary to give your dog something they CAN chew on. Bully sticks are a great choice for entertaining your dog.
Bully Sticks also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Remember, the stick you buy for your dog should be larger than their mouth and large enough to hold with their paws and chew on.
If your dog is an extra fast or hard chewer, shaped Bully Sticks can provide another level of difficulty. The most common shape is braided, which can provide a puzzle-like activity for your dog. Bully Sticks also come in knots and circles and of course the standard 6-inch stick.
Bully Sticks also last a long time. While it’s best to give them to your dog in 10-15 minute sessions, it will take much longer than that for them to get through the full stick. They also have a very long shelf life of up to 3 years, which is great for a treat with little to no added preservatives.
Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs?
While there are many benefits to Bully Sticks, like anything else, there are some potential downsides too.
While it’s smart to supervise your dog when they’re eating any treat, it’s especially important with Bully Sticks. Bully Sticks are very durable, but there is a potential your pup may chew off a piece too big to swallow. This means the stick may be a choking hazard, so you should always be in the room while your dog is chewing if this happens.
It’s also important to know Dog CPR. While choking from a Bully Stick isn’t that likely, it’s important to know what to do if it happens and how to dislodge anything that might be stuck in your dog’s throat. It’s also important to recognize signs of choking in your dog. These signs may include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Gagging or retching
- Blue mucous membranes (cyanosis)
- Rubbing their face against the ground
Once the stick gets down to a size that your dog may swallow and choke on (usually around 2-3 inches) it’s best to discard it to avoid choking.
How To Store A Bully Stick
Again, it’s best to give this treat to your dog for 10-15 minutes at a time. They won’t have finished the bone in this amount of time, so it’s important to store it properly between sessions.
First, make sure you dry the stick from any saliva your pup may have left. This is important to avoid the accumulation of bacteria. You can let it air dry, or you could use a towel/napkin to thoroughly dry it off. Next, find a cool and dry place to store the stick. Ensure this is a place your dog (or any other pets you may have) can not reach it. Usually, this will mean you should store it in a high cabinet or pantry shelf. Make sure you do NOT store it in the fridge, for it will likely attract bacteria and may make your dog sick, which can be life-threatening.
Make sure to wash your hands after handling a chewn Bully Stick.
To Wrap up
Bully Sticks are one of the best treats on the market for your dog. They are healthy, long-lasting, and essential to your dog’s life. They provide a great outlet for boredom, stress, and frustration, and can reduce the number of times you have to brush your dog’s teeth or take them to the dentist. This can have long-term health outcomes, leading to a longer and healthier life for your pup. While there are hazards like choking and bacteria, you can easily avoid them with minor precautions and standard safety measures.