Are you familiar with a bully stick? In our uber-enthusiastic, slightly overzealous quest to master all things canine culture, we have found that people are either fans of the bully stick, or they have never heard of them. Of course, the rare individual believes they are a large stick sporting a mean face meant to “bully” your dog into good behavior, but we don’t judge…
For those who are not familiar, bully sticks are a one-ingredient treat that is easy to digest. They don’t splinter, have a shockingly long shelf life, and will help clean your pup’s teeth. Most importantly, though, they are designed to help your pet curb the “need to chew” impulse.
The only thing they have in common with a normal treat is the overload of options available. As we are devoted to canine culture, we have reviewed the 10 best bully sticks available. We will share nutritional value, flavor, shape, size, and chewability. You will also find a handy buyer’s guide to shed some more light on the subject, as well.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Bully Sticks Natural|
|Downtown Pet Supply|
|Best For My Pets|
|Nature Gnaws||6 Sizes||4.30/5|
|Natural Farm Natural||3 Sizes||4.15/5|
The 10 Best Bully Sticks for Dogs
1. Best Bully Sticks Natural – Best Overall
In the realm of bully sticks, the best Bully Sticks 002-0001-5107 Natural Bully Sticks is our favorite. Just like their name, these treats are a mouthful. You can pick them up in 6, 12 or 8-ounce bags, and they are made in as a 4-inch thin stick with ridges.
These healthy treats are 100 percent natural and contain a great portion of protein while still being low-fat. They are long-lasting even for the most aggressive chewers and do not have any additives, hormones, chemicals, or preservatives. Plus, they are great for all sized breeds and dog ages.
The Best Bully Sticks are packed with vitamins for your pooch’s health. They will help keep their teeth free of plaque and tartar build-up and can even help freshen their breath. What’s more, the sticks do not have a strong odor.
The long treats are fully digestible, and they will not splinter while your pup is going to town. They are made will free-range and grass-fed beef for a flavor your dog will love. Overall, this is our number one pick for a bully stick.
2. Downtown Pet Supply Bully Stick – Best Value
If you are a pooch pal on a budget, the Downtown Pet Supply Bully Sticks are a great option. These tasty treats are great for all breeds and ages. You can choose a pack anywhere from 5 to 200 depending on your pet’s need.
The sticks are all-natural and made with grass-fed beef. They have vitamins and minerals, plus they are a good source of protein. What they do not have is artificial flavors, chemicals, preservatives, or hormones. They are also low in fat and calories to keep your pup fit.
The Downtown Pet bully sticks are made in a USDA and FDA approved facility. They have low-odor and are long-lasting. What’s more, they promote healthy gums and teeth. The pooch snack comes in ¼-½ thin, ½-¾ regular, and ¾-1½ jumbo sticks depending on your pup’s chewing ability.
Finally, these treats are easy to digest and will not break apart and splinter. The only drawback to these snacks is the natural beef is only grass-fed; it is not free-range. Otherwise, this is a great affordable bully stick.
The Best For My Pets Bully Sticks are a great option if you have a bit more coin to spend. These long treats are odor-free, all-natural, and made with grass-fed, free-range beef. They are 6 inches in length and come in an eight-ounce bag.
Best For My Pets does not add any preservatives, additives, or chemicals to their formula. The sticks are made in a USDA facility that is FDA approved, and they are packed in the USA. These treats will give your pooch some added protein without high calories or fat.
As a gluten and grain-free snack, they are easy to digest, and there is no splintering. As an added plus, a portion of their proceeds goes to an animal charity from around the nation. The only thing that is lacking with the sticks is the design. They are a thin, smooth treat without the ridges. This makes them not as effective at cleaning teeth as our number one pick, although, they still do some cleaning.
4. Nature Gnaws Small Bully Sticks – For Puppies
Do you have a puppy you want to get started on bully sticks? We have the treat for you! The Nature Gnaws 855357007246 Small Bully Sticks are available in a 5 to 6-inch length and come in a 5, 15, 25, or 50 pack. If you have a larger breed pup, you can opt for an 11 to 12-inch stick available in a 10 or 20 pack.
All the sticks are thin with ridges to help your pooch keep their teeth clean. They can also be effective for fighting bad breath. Keep in mind, however, you will need to give this treat to your pup daily for a consistent amount of time before you see any dental improvement. Beyond that, though, you will not find these to have a strong odor.
The Nature Gnaws bully treat is high in protein and low in fat. They do not contain any additives, chemicals, or artificial ingredients. They are water cleaned and go through a five-step safety process before being packed in the USA.
These all-natural beef sticks come from grass-fed and free-range cattle. They are long-lasting and easy to digest. Finally, you want to consider that this grain-free snack is appropriate for puppies and small breeds, yet larger pups will chow through them quickly.
5. Natural Farm Bully Sticks
The Natural Farm Bully Sticks are an all-natural, grain-free treat that comes from grass-fed cattle. They are an easy-to-digest snack for your pooch that has a lot of protein and little fat and calories. You will also find the sticks to have little odor, as well.
The Natural Farm sticks are formulated without hormones, additives, or chemicals. Made with USDA and FDA quality control, they are made to be 6 inches in length, and you can purchase them in a 15, 20, or 25 pack. Also, the packaging is made of 100 percent recycled material.
Something to consider with these treats is that they are oven-baked. Although they do have ridges to help your dog keep their teeth and gums clean, they can also be somewhat harder than the average bully stick. For that reason, older pups or those with sensitive teeth are not recommended.
Other than that, this is a great stick for most dogs. They will not splinter, but you should be warned that they will not last as long for aggressive chewers.
6. Jack&Pup Odor Free Bully Sticks
For large and extra-large breeds, we recommend the Jack&Pup Odor Free Bully Sticks. You can pick up these treats in a 6, 12, or 24 pack, and they are 6 inches long. Unlike others, however, these are wider and bigger making them more appropriate for pets with bigger teeth. Smaller pups are not recommended.
The Jack&Pup is made with grass-fed and free-range beef. They contain no hormones, antibiotics, artificial ingredients, or additives. The snack is all-natural and high in protein. Be advised, though, they are higher in fat and calories than other brands.
Made in a USDA human-grade facility, the treats are easy to digest, and they will not splinter. Unfortunately, although they are better suited for larger dogs, they are still not as long-lasting. Also, these are smooth sticks without ridges, so they will not be as effective at cleaning plaque and tartar from your pup’s teeth. On the other hand, they do not have a strong odor, which will help stem bad breath.
7. Cadet Gourmet Bully Sticks
The Cadet Gourmet 949145 Bully Sticks come in a 12-pack of various sizes. They are a grain and gluten-free treat that is better suited for small and medium dogs that will not be able to devour them quickly. Unfortunately, they are not as long-lasting.
That being said, these treats are a natural snack that is high in protein. They do not have any harmful ingredients such as by-products, fillers, or preservatives. They are made from free-range cattle that have been grass-fed, as well.
A matter of concern in regards to the Cadet Gourmet bully sticks is that they can be harder to digest than some others, although they don’t splinter. Also, they have an unpleasant odor that humans do not care for, but dogs seem to like, nevertheless.
Beyond that, the sticks are low in fat and calories and make a great treat. They are not great at cleaning teeth, but they will not hurt your pup’s teeth or gums either.
8. Pawstruck Bully Sticks
If you have various sized pooches you need to please, the Pawstruck Bully Sticks may be the way to go. They are available in 5 to 7-inch sticks in an 8-ounce or 1-pound bag. You can also grab the 8 to 12-inch sticks, as well.
As standard for these treats, you will find a natural formula that is made of free-range cattle that was grass-fed. What you will not find is artificial ingredients, hormones, chemicals, or additives. Unfortunately, one thing these threats do have is an abundance of odor. The smell is very strong, and it can turn some dogs off.
Another issue of note is the durability of this product. The Pawstruck does not last very long and will be devoured quickly by most dogs. To add to that, the shelf life of these sticks is typically a few months, however, this particular treat only lasts a few weeks.
Besides that, you will find this option to be low in fat and calories. The protein is not as high as in some other snacks, but they are made with FDA and USDA facility standards. We should also add that the sticks are harder to digest. What’s more, although they have ridges, they do not clean your pet’s gums or teeth. The odor can also make for some gnarly puppy breath.
9. Beloved Pets Thick Bully Sticks
The Beloved Pets Thick Bully Sticks are not the best option on the market. First, they are not that durable, so they are not recommended for larger breeds or aggressive chewers. They are also too big to be suitable for small breeds. Finally, they are not good for pups under six months of age, either.
With that being said, this is a gluten-free treat that is 100 percent natural. They are formulated with beef that was raised free-range and fed a grass diet. The Beloved Pet’s treat has added minerals, plus you will not find any additives, synthetic chemicals, or artificial ingredients.
You should be advised, however, that these sticks are lower in protein and higher in fat content. Also, they can be hard for your pet to digest, although they do not splinter. You also want to consider the odor of this snack. The smell is strong and can be a turn off even for your pet.
On a last note, due to the inconsistent shape, the teeth cleaning ability is slim. Finally, the Beloved is said to be made with FDA-approved beef.
10. Barkworthies Odor-Free Bully Sticks
Our final pick is the Barkworthies odor-free Bully Sticks. First and foremost, these treats are far from odor-free. They have a very strong and unnatural scent that is very hard to get past for dogs and humans.
These treats come in either a 3 or 5-pack and either a 6 or 12-inch length. Typically, though, the snack comes in broken pieces that are jagged and not fun for your pup to chew. What’s more, they can and will splinter, so vigilance is required when feeding them to your pooch.
As is customary, the all-natural Barkworthies are made with grass-fed, free-range beef. They do not contain any artificial preservatives or additives. Unfortunately, they also do not have good protein content, and they are higher in fat and calories.
Beyond that, whether it is due to the smell or ingredients, your pooch will have a hard time digesting the sticks. They are hard, and because of the small pieces, they can do more harm than good to your pet’s dental health.
Overall, these are our least favorite options for a bully stick for your precious pooch.
Important Facts About Bully Sticks
When it comes to this healthy treat, there may be a lot of unanswered questions for the average pet owner. For example, what are they made of? Are they safe, and why are they preferable over other treats. These are just a few, but they are often the most asked, and the most important.
To shed some light on the tasty snacks, we will try to answer some of these questions below.
What are in Bully Sticks?
The answer to this question is not always favorable nor PC, but it is the truth, nonetheless. Bully sticks are made from beef pizzle which is essentially bull penis. Pizzle is an old school English term and, for obvious reasons, has been kept in use for these treats.
Although these treats may not be appetizing to you, they are good for your dog. In fact, they are 100 percent beef tendon. The treat has a great protein level and a lot of nutritional value including taurine, which is good for your pet’s eyesight and heart. Plus, they are easy to digest for your pooch.
When you purchase bully sticks for your dog, the beef has been drained and dried. Manufacturers will also add some flavor to the treat as a lot of the natural flavor is lost in the curing process.
Why Are They Better Than Other Treats Like Rawhide?
So, why are bully sticks better than other treats? This question has several answers. First, let’s talk about one we already mentioned:
- Digestion: Beef pizzle is easier to digest than other treats. This is due to the single (or low count) ingredients and natural formula. Also, you do not need to worry about sensitivities from grain or gluten. Plus, most sticks will not splinter and crack like rawhide. These pieces can get stuck in your pup’s throat and digestive tract.
- Nutrition: Although we have already mentioned this, too, we figured we would nail the point home. Bully sticks are typically all-natural. The beef is high in protein and other vitamins and minerals. They are also low in fat and calories, plus they do not have any artificial ingredients. What’s more, they lack things like sugar that can be in other treats, although it is not good for your pet.
- Chewers: These sticks are a great way to curb your pups chewing instinct. We have all met a pooch who has made it their life mission to gnaw and chomp on whatever they can get their teeth on. Bully sticks help with this and are generally long-lasting. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so all breeds can use them to sharpen their pearly whites.
- Teeth: Speaking of pearly whites, a lot of the sticks come with ridges that are formed during the drying process. Those grooves will help scrape away plaque and tartar, and it can help freshen your dog’s breath.
- Shelf Life: The last pro point in favor of bully sticks is their shelf life. Compared to the standard treat, these snacks have a far superior lifespan. They stay good well past rawhide, as well.
Are Bully Sticks Safe?
The short answer to this question is yes! Beef pizzle is a safe and nutritious meat for your dog to consume.
The long answer is a little more complicated. When it comes to any product, the manufacturer, brand, formula, etc., is going to play a big role in the final product that is sent out for your dog to enjoy. As with any product, you are going to find higher quality items and lower quality.
With that being said, a mark of a good bully stick is an all-natural formula. Treats with lower odor and the quality of the beef itself are two important things to look for on the label (which we will discuss next). Overall, though, these sticks are a healthy and protein-rich way for you to show your ankle-biter some love.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what you are feeding your pet, there are three key things you should be aware of when you are shopping for these treats. The first is the odor.
Odor is a hot topic of debate when it comes to bully sticks. In truth, though, there is a lot that contributes to the smell of these beef snacks. First, all bully sticks have some kind of smell. Beef pizzle has a very distinctive and strong odor. However, when it’s dried, it loses a lot of its scent.
The longer the meat is dried, the less powerful the odor. Bully sticks that are not dried as long will have a stronger odor; as it retains more moisture. Also, keep in mind that “odorless” options were probably washed with something (chemical or otherwise) to eliminate the stink. Finally, the flavor that is added can also have a smell.
Although it can be confusing, you want to try to walk a thin line between some odor and an overwhelming stink. If there is very little to none, chances are the treat was washed with a chemical to eliminate the scent. If it is too strong, there is still a lot of moisture, and you run the risk of other issues. Finally, be aware of anything that smells rancid or rotten.
Grass-Fed and Free-Range
When it comes to our pet’s food, we are just as conscious that the meat is raised and treated appropriately as we are with our own. Be advised, though, there are some misleading labels you should be aware of including grass-fed and free-range.
As far as free-range, this simply means that the cattle have been given an allowance to roam at will instead of being cooped up in a pen. Technically, the term does not have a standard definition as far as the FDA is concerned, however, it generally means the cattle have had more humane husbandry.
Grass-fed is more complicated. Animals on a grass diet, that are meant for human consumption, have shown higher levels of antioxidants, omegas, proteins, and other vitamins. There is little to no research on whether this benefits dogs, however.
Also, “grass-fed” has no bearing on whether the animal was treated humanely or not. The meat can also still contain hormones and antibiotics, as they can be used to treat sick animals. What’s more, the regulation of these chemicals is not enforced on a regular basis.
To be safe, look for labels that indicate “organic” ingredients. Even the term “natural” has no standard definition and may not mean what you think it does.
FDA and USDA
As a final thought, be aware that the FDA regulates dog food and treats to ensure they are labeled properly, are safe, and have no unnecessary ingredients. That being said, the food is not subject to pre-market approval, and the use of many chemicals and artificial ingredients have been deemed “safe” although not always healthy.
The USDA has no bearing on dog food or treats, whatsoever. You may notice that some brands claim to be “USDA and FDA approved”. This is not true. On the other hand, both the FDA and the USDA have third party accredited sources who do inspect food/treats, and those are the labels you should be on the lookout for when picking out a healthy snack for your pet.
We hope you have enjoyed our reviews of the ten best bully sticks for your pup. If you made it through all the information, we thank you and bet your pooch will thank you, as well. Choosing the right treat for your pet can be tough. When you add in all the misinformation out there, it can be downright scary.
If you want to skip right to the heart of the matter, the Best Bully Sticks 002-0001-5107 Natural Bully Sticks are just as their name states. They are our favorite choice and one you will be happy with.
On the other hand, pet supplies can be pricey. If you are looking for something cheaper that is still healthy and satisfying, try the Downtown Pet Supply Bully Sticks. They are our best pick for the money.
Featured Image Credit By: Nature Gnaws Bully Sticks, amazon
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Bully Sticks for Dogs
- 1. Best Bully Sticks Natural – Best Overall
- 2. Downtown Pet Supply Bully Stick – Best Value
- 3. Best For My Pets Bully Sticks – Premium Choice
- 4. Nature Gnaws Small Bully Sticks – For Puppies
- 5. Natural Farm Bully Sticks
- 6. Jack&Pup Odor Free Bully Sticks
- 7. Cadet Gourmet Bully Sticks
- 8. Pawstruck Bully Sticks
- 9. Beloved Pets Thick Bully Sticks
- 10. Barkworthies Odor-Free Bully Sticks
- Buyer’s Guide
- Shopping Tips