An edited transcript of the video is provided below:
This blog post was a reader request. We had a question about bully sticks and so that’s what we’re going to talk about today–about what they are and if there are any health concerns with them.
Here we have three examples of bully sticks as they come in all sorts of different forms. What most people don’t know is that these are actually bull penises. it’s interesting because here’s just a straight one, here they twist it, this one they put into a knot which seems a little bit cruel and unusual for the bull. But we are not here to dwell on the fact that these are a little gross, but are there any health concerns with it?
The first health concern with these are due to the number of calories in each Bully Stick. There was a study done back in 2013 that found that these bully sticks contain anywhere from about ten to twenty calories per inch. So if you feed your dog a six inch bully stick, for a fifty pound lab, that’s going to work out to be about ten percent of their daily caloric intake requirement. As a general rule, treats can encompass about ten percent of your pet’s diet and that’s OK. The problem is if you feed other treats in addition to the bully stick. However, if you feed that same bully stick to a ten pound dog, that’s thirty percent of their total caloric intake for the day so that will lead to obesity. So just be aware these are not calorie-free.
Should we feed them to puppies? I actually prefer not to feed them to puppies just because they do tend to have a little bit more sensitive of a stomach. We should be using training treats with puppies as well. Before a puppy gets a treat, they need to perform a command–sit, stay–and then they get a little training treat and with Bully Sticks, you can’t really use them the same way. If they need something to gnaw on, just get them a regular chew toy like a rope toy or something else, but save these for the older dogs if you do want to feed them.
The other concern that was found in that study is a potential bacterial contamination. These are not cooked. These are raw bull penises that are dehydrated. There’s always a concern of something like bacterial contamination in uncooked meat. In that study they found some of the samples were infected with E Coli, some were infected with clostridium difficile which can cause diarrhea, and the last one was infected with a methicillin resistant staph (also known as MRSA). So those can be actual concerns. We strongly recommend you to wash your hands after touching these things because, again, this is uncooked, just dehydrated bull penis.
So that’s about it. Otherwise, they can be very enriching treats for your pets. I have no other real medical health concerns with them. Feel free to feed them. Just follow some of those recommendations, wash your hands. And for anybody who has watched this video to the end, the first person to come in here and say, “I watched the Bully Stick video”, we have prizes for you. You can come in and pick up these bull penises because I don’t want them at all. Anyways, Doctor Brian Evans here at Coastal Animals Hospital. Have any questions, give us a call. 760-733-2254. Take care.