Two dogs happily chew bully sticks in Bully Buddy bully stick holder

Bully Sticks - Treat or Meal Replacement?

Bully Sticks - Treat or Meal Replacement?

Last updated on April 28, 2020

Are bully sticks treats or a meal?

At Bow Wow Labs we’re focused on a few very simple concepts: keeping dogs happier and safer, and making dog parents feel more empowered and confident in their pet ownership role. That’s why we created the Bully Buddy - to keep dogs safer when enjoying bully sticks*, and to give dog owners peace of mind.

One question we often get is: are bully sticks a treat or a meal replacement? Great question! The quick answer is: bully sticks are calorically dense treats that provide longer chew times, and are a great addition to your dog’s weekly regimen. But bully sticks are not a nutritionally complete and balanced food and therefore would not be considered a meal replacement.

Assuming you allow your dog to eat the full length of the bully stick, you should restrict other treats on those days and always be mindful of all food and additional treats that you may give your pup to avoid weight gain. but depending upon the treat’s size in relationship to the size of your dog, they could be adding meal-worthy calories to your dog’s diet.

How many calories are in a bully stick?

In 2013, American and Canadian researchers from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Guelph conducted the study to examine the caloric density of bully sticks and found that the treats range from 9 to 22 calories per inch.

That means that the average 6-inch bully stick packs in about 88 calories. So, for a 50-pound dog, the 88 calories amounts to 9 percent of its daily diet which isn’t too significant. But, a 10-pound dog would get a whopping 30 percent of its daily calorie requirements from one bully stick.

So just like anything else in this world - too much of a good thing isn’t always good for you (or your dog)!

That doesn’t mean bully sticks aren’t still a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy - just keep these calorie stats in mind so you can adapt his or her diet for the rest of that day if necessary. And, of course, use your Bully Buddy to help prevent choking on the tail end of that bully stick!

*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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