How Long Should a Puppy Chew on a Bully Stick?

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If you’re new to the whole puppy thing, you may have discovered bully sticks and have some questions. They look rugged (they are made from bull balls after all!), they keep your puppy occupied, and they’re relatively safe. But speaking of safety, how long should a puppy chew on a bully stick? Investigation time!

So, how long should a puppy chew on a bully stick? Usually, bully sticks take around 5-10 minutes for puppies to completely chew and wear them out to the point where they can be swallowed safely. It is important this time frame is indeed what you see in your puppy when it chews on the bully treat for safety reasons.

Among the many reasons as to why your puppy should chew for a specific amount of time on a bully stick, health concerns is the number one concern. In fact, there can be terrible consequences if your puppy takes too long or too short to swallow the treat. So what are these health concerns, and do they apply for adult dogs? What can you do to prevent your puppy from getting sick due to these problems?

how long does it take a dog to eat a bully stick

How Long Does it Take a Dog to Eat a Bully Stick?

5-10 minutes.


Why only five to ten minutes? Mama needs a break!

At first glance, the time frame might seem too tight and overly specific – after all, it is only a treat that your dog enjoys every once in a while.

We understand that you, as a dog owner, would not want to micromanage your dog’s eating routine as such. However, believe it or not, bully sticks are more than just chew toys!

In addition to it being entertaining, it also has many positive medical effects that can only really take place if these bully sticks are given enough time to do its job. Additionally, without the time frame, you might be putting your puppy at risk of choking.

1. Relieving Anxiety

The first and the rather commonly known benefit of having your puppy chew on a bully stick, or whatever chew toy for that matter, helps reduce your dog’s anxiety level.

Having your dog become overly anxious is detrimental for its mental health, especially if it is a puppy that is still in its developing stage. For this reason, having something to chew on really helps your puppy’s mental health.

However, if you find out that your puppy has been consuming bully sticks at a rate faster than one per every five minutes, the first problem that you should be worrying about is the choking hazard.

The secondary disadvantage comes with not being able to relieve the anxiety and stress it is supposed to release with this very treat.

Although, if used correctly, bully sticks can be great for your dog’s mental health, if it is eaten too quickly, it can’t perform its job of acting as a therapeutic instinct that your puppy can follow in case it is in distress.

Not having your puppy be able to chew on the chew treat for an effective amount of time means that you are losing some of its benefits. Therefore, make sure to monitor your puppy and have it slow down when it seems like he is gobbling up the treat just a little too quickly!

2. Oral Irritation

If your puppy chews on the bully stick for too long, its gums and teeth can suffer from health issues that can be detrimental to maintaining a routine, healthy lifestyle for your dog.

The first problem arises when chewing on bully sticks, a brittle object, forces your puppy’s teeth to put excessive stress on itself.

If this case is prolonged and repeated for an extended duration, your puppy might have trouble eating, biting, and chewing. There are several problems with this:

  1. Your dog might not be able to supply itself with the necessary nutrients like pork or beef which are essential proteins for your puppy. Moreover, your dog might get into the habit of swallowing before fully chewing on its food, meaning indigestion and other digestive issues might arise.
  2. The other issue, agitation along the gum line, is another negative consequence of chewing on bully sticks for too long. Agitation, in severe cases, can lead to cuts and abrasions. Having your dog’s bloodstream exposed to the various bacteria living in your dog’s mouth almost guarantees a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections can further exacerbate the inflammation, making it even more difficult for your dog to eat properly. As a result, you might find your dog to be much more lethargic than before.

Both of these results are horrible for dogs, but are even worse for puppies. In terms of bacterial infections, puppies barely have an immune system. In terms of toothaches, this problem can last until they become adults. It is possible that your dog’s teeth are permanently damaged if it isn’t careful with chewing on bully sticks.

3. Choking Hazard

The final major harmful effect of consuming bully sticks too quickly is quite obvious: if your dog is not careful, it can easily choke on the treat.

First of all, the treat can easily break off into an awkwardly-sized piece that is too big to pass through your dog’s throat but small enough for your dog to think that it can swallow it whole. For this reason, if your puppy can be exposed to bully sticks if they consume them too quickly.

To prepare for such cases, we recommend that you learn how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on dogs. It is very similar to what you would do to a human, only that the procedure has an additional step in between:

First, grab your dog by its hindlegs and flip it upside down and attempt to shark the lodged piece of bully stick out of its throat. If this doesn’t work, you should place one of your fists onto your dog’s stomach and grab it with the other hand. Next, having your arm wrapped around your dog’s waist, apply pressure in a way that pushes the stomach in and upwards! In the meantime, ensure that professional help is on the way.

In order to spot whether or not your dog is choking on a bully stick, first look around the dog and check if there is any evidence of what your dog is choking on. This way, you will know what you are looking to remove from your puppy’s throat. Next, check for any gagging signs or gagging motions. If your dog exhibits any of the two indicators, it is likely that it is choking on something. Act quickly!

Cost-Benefit Analysis

As all things go in life, there is a risk that goes into doing anything, including feeding your dog its favorite snack: bully sticks.

But is this risk too big compared to what you are getting in return?

We believe that bully sticks still aren’t as dangerous as they seem. Most puppies tend to know how much they should be chewing on something, which means they won’t go over the 10 minute mark. Swallowing these bully sticks is a quite rare occasion too, and if you act quickly, your dog should not have to suffer from the negative consequences.

As there are many ways to prevent the potential problems that may arise as a result of using bully sticks, we still recommend bully sticks as a great treat for your dog!

Not only is it nutritious, it is also quite digestible (as long as it is consumed in the right amount, of course).

Our Advice

Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog whenever you give it bully sticks. That way, if you see that your dog is choking, you will be able to notice it right away and act quickly.

If your dog is taking too long to chew on the treat, you can simply take it away to prevent it from suffering from oral and dental agitation!

Related Questions

Are bully sticks safe for puppies?

Yes, and they are very nutritious too. High in protein, it can really help your puppy develop into a fit, muscular, active adult dog that is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle until it is very, very old.

How often can I give my puppy a bully stick?

We recommend that you give your puppy a bully stick only once every day or two days. Excessively consuming bully sticks can cause problems because it is too high in protein. If your puppy isn’t used to digesting that much protein in a day, it might experience digestive issues.

Can a 10 week old puppy have a bully stick?

Yes, but it’s not recommended. 10 week old puppies do not really have the strength in their jaws in order to chew on bully sticks enough to soften them. Moreover, their gums might not be tough enough to withstand how brittle bully sticks can be, meaning they might experience cuts or abrasions.

Should I let my dog eat a whole bully stick?

In general, it is fine. However, as we have mentioned in this article several times, we recommend that you use your own discretion to see whether or not a whole bully stick is too much for your puppy.

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