Until recently, I had been searching high and low for a new chew toy or bone for my dog. I tried finding some fun stuff online but only came up with an endless list of things I either couldn’t afford or that I knew my dog would destroy instantly. When I asked my friend for recommendations, she referred me to bully sticks.
Bully sticks are edible chew treats made from beef. My friend told me that her dog loved his bully sticks, but for some reason, he always has to go to the bathroom now that he chews on them regularly. This made me wonder — do bully sticks make dogs thirsty? If her dog’s bully sticks caused it to drink more often, that could be why it needed to go to the bathroom more. I did some searching, and this is what I found.
So, do bully sticks make dogs thirsty?
Chewing on bully sticks is a great method for improving a dog’s hydration. After a long session of chewing, it is common for dogs to feel thirsty and drink more water. This can increase their need for bathroom breaks thanks to the increase of water in their diets.
Not only are bully sticks great for encouraging your dog to drink more water, but they also offer a full package of minerals and protein. They also keep your dog away from couch cushions, pillows, and other items they should not be chewing on.
Why Bully Sticks Can Make Your Dog Thirsty
A long chewing session on a bully stick can tire your dog and dry out his mouth. To help parch its thirst, your dog might head straight to his water bowl.
Make sure his bowl is close by and filled with fresh water. Keep an eye out on his behavior, as more frequent water breaks inevitably lead to more frequent bathroom breaks!
A Quick Overview of Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are chewable treats made out of bull muscle. More specifically, uncooked, dried bull penises. Bully sticks are sometimes referred to as bull sticks, pizzle sticks, and steer sticks. However, the basic concept remains the same.
These popular treats are designed as a safer alternative to rawhide chews. Unlike other treats, bully sticks do not splinter. Bully sticks also come in multiple sizes, making it possible for canines of all shapes and ages to enjoy their benefits. With a shelf-life of up to three years, you can also rest assured that your bully sticks remain fresh and ready-to-chew.
If your dog has beef allergies or sensitivities, you can purchase bully sticks made from bison. However, bison bully sticks tend to be more expensive than regular sticks. They also have a stronger odor than bully sticks made from bulls.
Why Bully Sticks Are So Popular
So, why do so many dog owners love giving their canine friends bully sticks?
Every dog owner knows the negative ramifications that can come when their dog does not have a satisfactory number of acceptable chewing options near them. Ruined pillows. Destroyed shoes. Unusable blankets. You get the gist.
That’s why owners often find themselves on the hunt for an effective and healthy chewing solution for their dogs. Bully sticks are a popular option thanks to their safety as well as the numerous health benefits they offer, such as:
- Easy digestibility
- A high number of amino acids for supporting a healthy body and coat
- Effectiveness in removing plaque and build-up from teeth
- Extra chewing time compared to other treats
- Healthy ingredients that are free from artificial chemicals, additives, and preservatives
Whether you have a dog that acts out through destructive behavior when they are bored or a puppy who needs to get their daily dose of chewing in, bully sticks are a great option that suits their unique needs.
Because bully sticks come in different shapes and sizes, it is easy to find one that fits your dog’s respective size and chewing habits. For instance, larger dogs who are heavy chewers often prefer braided bully sticks or bully stick rings. Puppies may need smaller bully sticks to start out.
Health Risks Associated with Bully Sticks
While bully sticks do offer a variety of benefits to dogs, they also present their own health risks.
One group of researchers tested a sample size of bully sticks for bacteria. In their test batch of 26 sticks, 9 were contaminated with bacteria. While this doesn’t mean that every bully stick you come across is contaminated, it does prove that you need to practice good hygiene habits when handling them. Always wash your hands before and after touching bully sticks.
Bully sticks are also high in calories, which is why it is important to limit the frequency by which your dogs chew on them.
A 6 in. bully stick typically contains 130 calories or 22 calories per inch. Keep this number in mind when calculating your dog’s individual caloric needs
How to Safely Give Your Dog a Bully Stick
To prevent your dog from over-hydrating itself, limit the number of bully sticks you give him. When starting out, most experts recommend letting your dog chew on one stick per day for 10 minutes at most.
Once the bully stick reaches only 2.5in-3in in length, you should discard it. Many owners use a vice grip to prevent their dogs from chewing past a certain point on the stick.
Supervise your dog closely whenever he is chewing on a bully stick. This entails actively listening and watching your dog — not just sitting inside the room as you play on your phone! Should your dog break off a large chunk or show signs of choking, you will be in close proximity to assess the situation.
Yes. You can feed your dog a bully stick on a daily basis. However, you should not give him more than one stick a day. Due to the high amount of protein inside each stick, feeding your dog a surplus of bully sticks may upset his stomach. In general, treats should not take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Therefore, you should also remain aware of how many treats you feed your dog in addition to his daily bully sticks.
If you give your dog more than the daily recommended serving of bully sticks, this may upset his stomach. Because bully sticks are so high in protein, feeding him too many can cause your dog to begin vomiting or experiencing diarrhea from an upset stomach. Immediately introducing bully sticks into your dog’s diet can also upset his stomach. To prevent this, give him a short time frame for chewing. As your dog becomes more accustomed to them, you can increase his chewing time.
Bully sticks pose a low risk for causing a blockage. Unlike some treats, bully sticks are easy for your canine friend to digest. As they pass through your dog’s digestive tract, they quickly break apart. This makes it easier and faster for them to pass through.
Most veterinarians advise owners against giving bully sticks to puppies that are younger than 12 months old. Their immune systems are still developing at this age. As a result, they are vulnerable to any bacteria present on the sticks.