Even after years of being a dog trainer and running a dog daycare/boarding facility. And even after training over 5,000 dogs, I believe that I may have gained some experience and knowledge over the years, but I can still learn something new. I did today with Pawstruck.
By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Cynologist
Acme Canine was asked to test Pawstruck Natural Dog Treats. The treats our testing dogs, Penny and Autumn, tried included a variety of Bully Sticks.
What Are Bully Sticks?
Pizzle is an old-fashioned word for penis. It is a 100% beef tendon that is all-natural and very high in protein. On the downside, pizzles are extremely high in calories. According to Sally Jones’s article, Are Bully Sticks Good for Dogs? “The mean caloric density of a bully stick is 15 kcal/inch, which means a small, 6-inch bully stick is approximately 90 calories! To put that into perspective, that could be anywhere between nine and 30 percent of the daily calorie requirement for a dog, depending on the size.”
If your dog is not accustomed to digesting such high amounts of calories and beef protein, they may end up with an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.
And that is just what happened to Penny and Autumn.
So, the treats went on to some of our other testing dogs at a nearby dog daycare, Catch N Fetch, whose life’s mission is to gnaw on treats. These study chewers had no problems with the treats since they were already comfortable with this type of treat.
Are Bully Sticks Safe?
After a bit of research, Acme Canine found that most of the veterinarians and all-natural dog-product websites say the chews are safe, low-fat, rich in taurine, and good for helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
A study back in 2013 published by Tufts University found a small subsection (3 out of 26 bully sticks or 30%) was contaminated with a different type of bacteria; Clostridium difficile Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli.
Then again, in 2018, the FDA announced a major recall of thousands of bully sticks due to contamination with Salmonella.
Other than that, there haven’t been any recalls or other reports of contaminated sticks.
So if you’re going to be giving your dog bully sticks, be sure to obtain them from a reputable source such as Pawstruck, remember to wash your hands afterward, and sanitize where your dog ate.
Even though bully sticks are durable, I recommend monitoring your dog closely to ensure they are enjoying the treats safely. Strong chewers may power through and break off pieces. These sticks are not intended to be swallowed in large pieces.
If your dog ingests a chunk too big, it could choke or suffer from gastrointestinal blockage.
Another aspect to consider is the size of the bully stick for your dog. Redbar.com suggests, “The size should be larger than your pet’s muzzle to prevent them from swallowing large pieces or any other potential choking risks.”
After selecting the proper size, a slow introduction to the sticks can lower the risk of upsetting your dog’s stomach. Treat your dog to the bully stick for five to 10 minutes the first time. Then gradually increase their chew time.
Bully sticks are made up mainly of protein, so if your dog suffers from beef allergies, it will certainly cause adverse effects.
As with other chews, bully sticks can help promote healthy teeth and gums by removing built-up plaque and tartar that accumulates between teeth, causing tooth decay.
The USDA regulates the production of bully sticks. They are generally made from 100% all-natural ingredients such as calcium, magnesium, and taurine. Pawstruck treats are free of chemicals, pesticides, and dyes. Due to the purity of ingredients, your dog is left with a treat that is low fat and pure meat, making it easy for them to digest.
Acme Canine recommends giving these treats only on special occasions or feeding your normal weight dog less dog food and one bully stick since those calories need to be taken from somewhere. To put that into perspective, one bully stick could be 9- 30% of your dog’s daily calorie requirement, depending on their size.
The Bully Sticks range in price and size from five mini-braided bully sticks for $10.85 to three 12” braided bully sticks for $29.99. You can see their prices are fairly low compared to pet stores that supply a similar product.
Pawstruck Natural Treats also has a satisfaction guarantee as well as free shipping on orders of $99+. A pretty decent deal for the owner of a dog that loves to chew and wants a more nutritional alternative.
Oh, and I should mention that DOGS LOVE THEM!