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Can Bully Sticks Make My Dog Sick?<br>Understanding the Health Benefits and Risks of Bully Sticks

Brittany Randolph

Last updated on April 28, 2020

The Bow Wow Labs Innovation Team has put a lot of time and energy into researching and understanding the health benefits and risks of bully sticks* for your dog. As our customer base has grown, one of the questions we get asked the most from new bully stick aficionados is, “Can bully sticks make my dog sick?”.

There's always a chance your pup’s tummy can get a little upset when you introduce a new treat or change in her diet. However, if you give her high-quality, properly-prepared sticks, like Bow Wow Labs’ bully sticks, the chances she'll get sick are very low.

Here's what you should know about giving your dog bully sticks, things to consider when choosing bully sticks, and how to keep them fresh and safe for your fur-baby.

Dalmation with girl

Bully sticks are a treat, not a meal replacement

Bully Sticks are high in calories, ranging from 9 to 22 calories per inch. That means that the average 6-inch bully stick packs is about 88 calories. Because of their caloric density, bully sticks should be given as a snack no more than two to three times per week, depending on the weight of your dog and the size of the bully stick you are offering them.

Bully sticks are a great longer-term chew that are high in protein and low in fat, but they are not a nutritionally complete and balanced food and therefore should not be fed in place of a meal. We recommend that you limit treats on days you feed a bully stick and to always be mindful of your pup’s overall caloric intake to avoid weight gain. 

Learn more about why bully sticks are a treat and not a meal replacement here.

small dog holding crown of broccoli in paws

If bully sticks are a new treat, slowly introduce them into your dog’s diet

Introduce bully sticks into your dog’s diet slowly, much like you would do when changing her food. This will help her belly adjust to the new treat and limit the possibility of her getting sick from eating too much, too quickly.

Another trick is to allow her to chew on the bully stick for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. This will lessen the calorie load being consumed while still providing the benefits of chewing; supporting a healthy mental state, providing mental stimulation, and fulfilling your pup’s instinctual desire to chew—only on something appropriate (saving your shoes and furniture!).

young woman giving dog treat at desk

Give your dog high-quality premium bully sticks

Bow Wow Labs’ bully sticks are premium, which means that they come from grass-fed, free-range cattle, are 100% hormone free and never treated with chemicals. Additionally, our sticks are baked at high temperatures after they are hung to dry, eliminating the risk of harmful bacteria.

If bully sticks are not prepared properly during the extraction and drying process, a bacteria can form that will cause your dog to experience diarrhea or vomiting. That is certainly not something we want to associate with such a delicious and nutritious treat. We're in close touch with our supplier to make sure our bully sticks are safely produced.

dog starting a treat jar on counter

Store your bully sticks properly in between uses

When your bully sticks are not in use, store them in a cool dry place. Using a sealable, stay-fresh jar will keep your unused bully sticks dry. Too much moisture and humidity can cause bacteria to grow on your sticks. And, the fresher the bully stick, the more your dog will enjoy it.

We also recommend wrapping any half-chewed bully sticks in a plastic bag along with your Bully Buddy and storing it in the refrigerator (for up to a week) until the next time you give it to your dog. This will also help prevent bacteria growth.

*Bully sticks are a great longer-term chew that brings lots of joy to your pup, supports a healthy mental state, and satisfies their instinctual desire to chew. We always recommend pairing your bully sticks with the right size Bully Buddy to make your pup safer and to help prevent a choking hazard or intestinal obstruction once they’ve chewed down to the last 1 to 1.5 inches of the bully stick.

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