Dilemma: How Often Should Dogs Have Bully Sticks?

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

I think I speak for most dog parents when I say we all love spoiling our furry friends with treats. Too much though and we are going to have an obese dog soon, but too little seems like torture to them!

How about bully sticks? How often should dogs have bully sticks?

In general, you can give adult dogs a bully stick once a day, and for puppies, two to three times a week. You should limit them to ten minutes or less of chewing in each session to prevent overfeeding and damage to their teeth and gums.

In this post, I will dive into more details about the best practices when it comes to feeding your dog bully sticks.

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Dear Dog Owner

How Often to Give My Dog Bully Sticks?

How Often to Give My Dog Bully Sticks1

If your dog is a full-grown pooch, I recommend letting it enjoy a bully stick once a day. 

You may seem uncomfortable knowing that bully sticks are made with bull pizzle, but your dogs sure don’t mind.

Give your dogs a bully stick per day, and watch them lap and chew on it happily!

Bully sticks aren’t just a delicious treat for dogs, but you’ll really be helping them maintain a fresh breath and clean mouth daily this way too.

Think of a bully stick as an alternative way to brush your dog’s teeth!

Highly convenient, don’t you think so?

How often to give my puppy bully sticks?

If you’ve got a puppy, it’s best to give it bully sticks only twice or three times a week.

Puppies are smaller than fully grown dogs and have still yet to learn many things including swallowing objects.

They are at a higher risk of accidentally swallowing a bully stick and excessive chewing can also interfere with their nutrition.

Why is giving a bully stick to my puppy different from a full-grown dog?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, their digestive system is not as developed as an adult dog’s. Too much can cause a stomach upset and lead to diarrhea or vomiting.

Secondly, bully sticks have calories too.

That means that it can mess up their daily nutritional requirement if they are given too often.

You gotta know, bully sticks are just a treat for your doggies, not a meal at all.

Do you know the difference between bully sticks and collagen sticks?

When Should I Give My Dog a Bully Stick?

You can give your dog a bully stick before playtime.

This way, your dog can lose the calories they consumed from the bully stick.

You can also give your dog a bully stick when you can see it getting restless, as it is a great dog chew that can take your dog’s mind off running around your home.

Alternatively, it can be used as a treat when you want to reward it for showing good behavior.

How Long Should I Let My Dog Chew on a Bully Stick?

You can only let your dog chew on a bully stick for ten minutes. Don’t try to give in and extend for more minutes!

I know it’s hard to say no to your fur baby, but chewing on a bully stick longer than ten minutes can cause some problems!

The longer your dog chews on a bully stick, the smaller that bully stick gets.

And the smaller it gets, the higher the chance of it being swallowed.

Although bully sticks are digestible, there is still a risk of choking and blockage if it bit off a large chunk.

Things can escalate quickly when that happens.

Chewing on a bully stick longer than ten minutes can also cause tummy aches for your doggies especially if they are having it every day.

Ten minutes of chewing on a bully stick are already enough for your dog to have enjoyed its taste. 

By then, your dog’s mouth has already been cleaned by the bully stick too!

When Should I Take Away My Dog’s Bully Stick?

When Should I Take Away My Dog’s Bully Stick?

You should take away your dog’s bully stick when time is up or when it becomes small enough to be swallowed.

What I usually say is that if a stick can fit into a dog’s mouth length-wise, it’s time to take it away.

Those who are more precise might work better with a measurement, like 3 inches.

As a dog parent, it’s your job to be watchful of your dog. Be quick to act when the bully stick becomes a danger to your dog.

How Long Does a Bully Stick Last?

A bully stick lasts for about thirty minutes of chewing, but that greatly depends on the type of chewer your dog is.

It also has a long shelf-life of three years if remains untouched.

Bully sticks are hard but soft enough not to damage your dog’s teeth, but this doesn’t mean you can let your dog chew on them for thirty minutes in one day!

After ten minutes of chewing, you can take it away from your dog and give it back the next day.

That is to say that a bully stick can be chewed over for three days until it becomes a choking hazard.

Can My Dog Have a Bully Stick Every Day?

You can let your dog have a bully stick every day, but if your dog is still a puppy, it’s best to give it a bully stick two to three times a day.

Letting your dog have a bully stick a day can keep its breath fresh and mouth clean.

Chewing on a bully stick every day also keeps them occupied and not engaging in destructive behavior.

While your dogs chew and lick on their bully stick, endorphins are released throughout their bodies.

This is good for mental health!

They’ll become happier and more relaxed every day.

What Are the Consequences of a Dog Having a Bully Stick Every Day?

Dogs can get tired from chewing bully sticks too.

Too much time munching on one will only lead to a sore jaw and chipped teeth.

Even though dogs have strong teeth, it does not mean they are immune to deterioration.

But as a pet owner, you gotta know how much is too much. 

If you can already see your dog chewing slowly and almost uninterested, it might be time to switch things up and rotate your treats. Or you might want to learn how to refresh bully sticks to keep your dog excited about them.

Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, and having a bully stick a day may cause your dog to have an upset stomach.

If this happens, you should lower the frequency or consider alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can bully sticks be given to puppies or only adult dogs?

Bully sticks can be given to puppies too. You just need to be more watchful though.

Puppies may accidentally swallow a smaller piece of the bully stick that may cause a blockage so you need to take it away from them when it becomes too small.

Do vets allow bully sticks for dogs?

Yes! Vets absolutely allow bully sticks for dogs.

They think that bully sticks are a safe and great source of protein and keep your doggie’s teeth clean.

Vets even recognize the good effects it has on puppies too!

Overall, vets think bully sticks are good for ALL dogs.

Of course, moderation is still important.

What’s the main risk of bully sticks?

Aside from becoming a choking hazard, the main risk of bully sticks is salmonella contamination.

BUT, you can easily avoid this risk by buying bully sticks from reputable stores.

Don’t buy bully sticks from “resellers” for a cheaper price.

You can’t compromise your fur baby’s safety.

Do bully sticks stink?

Yes! This is too funny but yes bully sticks stink. Your dogs don’t mind though!

There are odor-free ones though which might provide more relief to you than your dog!

In Conclusion: How Often Should Dogs Have Bully Sticks?

Knowing how much and how often to give your dog treats is very important in maintaining good health.

Too much and you have a fat dog that will lose interest in its food, and too little will, well, it’s not cool for them.

Treats should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake!

Read more about bully sticks in these articles:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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