Bully Sticks Replace Rawhide, but Their Main Ingredient Is a Little Weird

What exactly is a bully stick? 

In the American West, say Nebraska or Wyoming or Montana, a popular delicacy goes by several names—Rocky Mountain Oysters, Prairie Oysters, or Bull Fries. While not for everyone, many folks relish them.

And our canine companions can enjoy another part of male bovine anatomy—the bully stick. While this dog chew treat is sometimes described discreetly as 'muscle,' let's call it what it is: the penis of a bull or a steer. They're sometimes called pizzle sticks. Pizzle is a German word that means...you guessed it, penis.

With that out of the way, the bully stick is really an ideal chew for dogs. Unlike rawhide, it will not splinter into sharp pieces that can cause choking or intestinal blockage. It also lasts a long time. It's nutritious, packed with taurine and protein, which support the health of the canine brain, skin and coat and muscles. It removes plaque before it has a chance to build up, and leaves those canine choppers clean. The bully stick is also fully digestible, and most dogs love them.

A few housekeeping items, though.  Even though low in fat and carbohydrates, these sticks are caloric. A 6-inch stick packs 88 calories. For a small dog, that's not insignificant. For a medium-sized dog, keep it to two sticks per week.
The sticks are available in numerous sizes and thicknesses. They can even be had as "bites" for small dogs. They're available in a braided form for heavy-duty chewers, and as a ring to make them more interesting to curious dogs.

Can puppies have bully sticks? Absolutely. The bully stick is especially helpful when the little one is teething. The stick needs to be an appropriate size, of course, and puppies should not spend more than 5 to 10 minutes chewing on it.

Let's take a look at the best bully sticks.

Best Bully Sticks

Cadet Real Beef Bully Sticks

These are six inches in length, the standard small size for bully sticks. They are slow roasted. The treats undergo a thorough inspection process and meet FDA guidelines.

Sancho & Lola's Closet Bully Sticks for Dogs

These treats are 12 inches long, the standard size for larger dogs. Made of USA beef, they are slow cooked and the natural odor has been tamed a bit. Be sure to read the bully stick basics in Sancho & Lola's listing; it's helpful and entertaining.

Best Bully Sticks Thick

Sourced from free-range Brazilian cattle, these thick sticks will stand up to vigorous chewers.

Great Dog Bison Pizzle

Some dogs have a sensitivity to beef. But here's the answer: sticks made from free-range, grain-grazing bison. The bison chew is regarded by many to be the ideal bully stick, since it has lower fat and carbohydrates than beef.

Sancho & Lola's Closet Bully Bites

These small, tasty tidbits are especially appropriate for smaller and older dogs. They're manufactured in Texas and Nebraska using free-range, grass-fed cattle from areas in North and South America known for quality beef.

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Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Pets are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

READ MORE: The 12 Best Non Rawhide Dog Bones and Treats For Your Best Friend