Bully Sticks Trick or Treat?
Health conscious pet owners want to serve their dogs nature made treats for their dog’s entertainment and rewards. Not surprisingly, animal by-products have become a booming business on the treat aisle of specialty pet stores and pet supermarkets.
The Bully Stick, one of the more expensive of the natural treats, is touted as a long lasting, delicious and complete nutritious dog snack. As one of the more popular unprocessed treats, it does not stain carpets and amply satisfies the dog’s need to chew.
Earlier this year a study at Tufts University revealed that Bully Sticks are actually very high in calories and may contain harmful bacteria that could be dangerous not only to our pets, but to the humans handling the products as well.
Braided Bully Sticks – The Triple Threat?
What Is A Bully Stick And What’s In It?
The study had another interesting finding, many pet owners had no idea what the bully sticks were actually made from. Bully sticks are made from beef pizzle, which is a nice way of saying a bull’s male organ. They are dried either in ovens or sunbaked and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from 3 foot long sticks to braided rings and pretzels
The braided pizzle is the longest lasting and therefore most expensive of the bully stick varieties on the market. The majority of bully sticks available in the US come from cattle produced in the United States and South America. However China and India are getting into the game; the Indians naturally use water buffalo pizzle as opposed to beef pizzle.
The Tufts study tested samples from 26 bully sticks manufactures and found that a small number (approximately 4%) of them were contaminated with bacteria including escherichia coli and clostridium difficile, while another tested positive for staphylococcus aureus, a staph bacterium resistant to some antibiotics (MRSA).
Not surprisingly, bully sticks have already come under several recalls in the last few years having been cited for potential salmonellae contamination. In addition to the contamination concerns, the researchers found that a six inch bully stick contains 88 calories. The braided 6 inch stick contains nearly 360 calories. Depending on the size of your dog, his level of exercise and his chewing capacity; bully sticks can really pack on the pounds.