Best Bully Sticks for Dogs

Updated March 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
160 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best bully sticks

Last Updated March 2019

Every dog owner knows just how much joy a four-legged friend can bring to a home. But dogs can also be destructive, particularly when their urge to chew isn’t being satisfied. The right chew treat can definitely help distract your dog from your shoe collection, and when it comes to tasty, chewy treats, it’s hard to top a bully stick.

If you’re used to feeding your dog rawhide chews, bully sticks are an ideal alternative because they’re much easier for your dog to digest and tend to last longer, too, so Fido won’t go through them as quickly. They’re also extremely effective at keeping your dog’s teeth clean and provide a good source of protein for healthy muscles and organs.

But bully sticks can be fairly pricey, so it’s important to choose a high-quality variety that’s just as safe as it is delicious for your dog. That means knowing how the sticks are sourced, what size is best for your pooch, and what other features your pup might prefer. With so many bully sticks on the market, though, sorting through all the options can be difficult. If you’re confused, our convenient shopping guide can help you learn how to choose the best bully sticks for your dog.

Bully sticks are also known as pizzles or pizzle sticks.

Key considerations

Source

Bully sticks are made from beef, so it’s important to know where the product originates to protect your dog’s health. Pet owners are usually most comfortable purchasing bully sticks that are made in the United States, but you should check the label to be sure that the sticks are manufactured in a facility that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Sticks made in Canada or South America are usually safe, too, because these areas have stricter manufacturing and inspection standards than other parts of the world, such as China.

Some bully sticks are made from free-range, grass-fed cows, which can be a healthier option for your pup. You can also find sticks that are certified as organic or non-GMO. Read the label carefully to be sure that any bully sticks you’re considering are free from additives, too. Those made with 100% natural beef are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Size

Bully sticks are available in multiple sizes, so there’s usually an option that will work for your dog no matter how big or small. It’s important to choose an appropriately sized bully stick for your dog to make sure that it’s not a choking hazard. That means larger dogs should have larger bully sticks, which are less likely to get stuck in their throats.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a bully stick size based on the weight of your dog:

  • 10 to 30 pounds: Opt for a four-inch bully stick.

  • 30 to 50 pounds: Opt for a six-inch bully stick.

  • 50 to 100 pounds: Opt for a 12-inch bully stick.

  • 100 pounds or more: Opt for a 24-inch bully stick.

It can take a dog up to a few days to finish a large bully stick.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Pack size

Some bully sticks are sold individually, which you may prefer if your dog has never tried them and you aren’t sure whether she’ll like them. However, the sticks are usually more expensive if you buy them individually.

Fortunately, there are also packs of multiple bully sticks if your dog is already a big fan, which are a better value for the price. You can find packs with as few as two sticks and as many as 100. Smaller packs tend to come in resealable bags to keep the sticks fresh, but you may want to place larger packs in an airtight container of your own for storage.

Odor

While dog owners may love how much their four-legged friends enjoy bully sticks, they usually don’t love the way the sticks smell. Some are marketed as odor-free if you’re bothered by the scent, which usually means that they’re oven-cooked so more moisture is removed from them. In general, fully dried bully sticks typically have less odor.

Sun-dried bully sticks often aren’t fully dried, so they tend to have the strongest odor. Smoked options usually have a smoky odor that’s not quite as pungent as traditional bully sticks.

Keep in mind that dogs typically prefer bully sticks with a stronger odor because they are more flavorful, so Fluffy may not be as big a fan of odor-free varieties.

Shape

The majority of bully sticks are simple straight sticks. Dogs can usually chew through these pretty quickly, though, so you may prefer curly, braided, or ring-shaped bully sticks instead. Ring-shaped options usually take the longest for a dog to chew, but braided sticks are often the most effective for cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums.

Some bully stick packs include a variety of shapes, which can help you determine which shape your pooch likes best.

Keep the thickness of the sticks in mind, too. It will take your dog longer to go through a thick stick than it will to chew through a thinner option.

Filling

If you want a serious treat for your pup, you may prefer a filled bully stick. These sticks have a flavorful filling that requires your dog to chew through the stick to reach, which can keep him busy for a while. Unfortunately, many filled bully sticks contain additives, so they may not be 100% natural.

EXPERT TIP

Small-breed dogs often prefer curly bully sticks.


Staff  | BestReviews

Price

Bully stick prices vary based on the quality of the beef used, the size of the sticks, and the number of sticks included in a pack. You can usually expect to spend between $5 and $100.

Individual bully sticks that are made from 100% natural beef usually range from $5 to $10. Those made from free-range, grass-fed beef typically cost between $8 and $15.

Packs of five or fewer bully sticks made from 100% natural beef generally run from $10 to $22. Packs of five or fewer bully sticks made from free-range, grass-fed beef can range from $15 to $30.

Packs of five to 10 bully sticks made from 100% natural beef typically cost between $15 and $28. Packs of five to 10 bully sticks made from free-range, grass-fed beef can range from $20 to $55.

Packs of 10 or more bully sticks made from 100% natural beef usually run from $28 to $55. Packs of 10 or more bully sticks made from free-range, grass-fed beef typically cost between $55 and $100.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bully sticks are even safe for puppies as long as they’re old enough to eat hard food and treats.

Tips

  • If your dog is new to bully sticks, allow her to chew on the stick for only five to 10 minutes the first time. Because they’re such a high-protein treat, they can cause stomach upset if your dog isn’t used to eating them, so it’s best to introduce them slowly.

  • When you give your dog a bully stick, keep an eye on him to make sure that he’s chewing safely. Don’t allow your dog to eat a bully stick if you’re not in the same room.

  • Your dog shouldn’t swallow large chunks of a bully stick because it can be a choking hazard. If a piece breaks, grab it before your dog can get it.

  • In general, it’s a good idea to take a bully stick away from your dog once it’s about three inches in length. It can be dangerous when it gets that small.

  • It’s usually a bad idea to refrigerate bully sticks because the moisture in them may be a magnet for bacteria. Opt for a cool, dry location for bully stick storage.

Other products we considered

With so many different bully sticks on the market, there is bound to be an option that your dog will enjoy. If you’re interested in grain-free sticks for bigger dogs, Sancho & Lola’s Closet 12-inch Premium Bully Sticks are an ideal option. They don’t contain any growth hormones, fillers, or dyes and only have a moderate odor. For dogs who go through bully sticks in a hurry, we love the Jack&Pup 6-inch Premium Grade Odor-Free Bully Sticks, which are 30% thicker than standard sticks, so they usually last longer. These bully sticks are also made using a multi-step boiling, roasting, and smoking process to minimize odor.

Bully sticks are a healthier alternative to rawhide chews, which don’t have much nutritional value and aren’t as easy for your dog to digest.

FAQ

Q. What exactly are bully sticks made of?

A. Bully sticks are made from dried bull or steer penis—which can be disconcerting for some dog owners. However, they’re an excellent source of protein and taurine, which work to promote healthy muscles and organs in your dog.

Q. Are bully sticks safe for my dog?

A. Bully sticks are usually a healthy treat for your pooch. There is the risk of choking if you purchase sticks that are too small for your dog or allow her to eat pieces that break off, but as long as you supervise your pet while she chews the stick, it’s perfectly safe.

Most bully sticks are 100% natural and highly digestible, so they’re usually an ideal option for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs. They can also reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth for improved dental hygiene.

Q. How often can I give my dog a bully stick?

A. In general, it’s recommended that a dog not have more than one bully stick a day. Because they’re so high in protein, feeding your dog more than one per day can be hard on his kidneys and liver.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Michelle
    Michelle
    Writer

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