Who Invented 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.

Bully sticks are definitely something you’ve heard of if you own a dog.

Lots of dogs and their owners have grown to love these long, chewable sticks manufactured from bull penises, which are delightful treats.

Not only can they amuse your dog for a while but also assist with tooth cleaning.

But have you ever given bully sticks deeper thought?

How did they come to be such a common chew treat?

In this article, I’ll share more about who invented bully sticks, why are they named this way, as well as how they are made.

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Dear Dog Owner

Overview of Bully Sticks and Their Popularity as a Chew Treat for Dogs

Bully sticks are a type of chew treat for dogs manufactured from the dried, processed penis of a bull.

They are sometimes referred to as beef tendons or beef pizzle sticks.

Dogs love them for their hard and dense texture and the great thing is that they last a long time and keep teeth and gums healthy.

Before they came along though, rawhide was the preferred solution.

However, they have been connected to health dangers like choking and gastrointestinal obstructions, so bully sticks have become more and more popular in recent years.

Bully sticks are easier to digest and less prone to break or splinter, so people view them regarded as a safer alternative to rawhide.

That said, you would still need to supervise your dog while it’s chewing on one as it can become a choking hazard if it becomes too small to be swallowed.

Brief History of Bully Sticks

Although the actual date of the invention of bully sticks as dog chew toys is unknown, it is believed that they have been in use for many centuries.

Bully sticks have historically been employed as a training aid for working dogs to prevent boredom, and later on, become a commercial product that boasts high protein levels and chewability.

They are also known to help keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Today, dogs of all sizes and breeds enjoy chewing on bully sticks and they are commonly available in pet stores and online.

To meet various breeds and chewing habits, they are also available in a wide range of sizes.

Where do bully sticks come from?

Bully sticks have been used as a dog treat for many centuries and their origins can be traced back to various cultures around the world.

Historically, they were used by indigenous people and rural communities to provide a protein-rich treat for their dogs, and as a way to use up every part of the animal.

They are currently produced mostly in North and South America, where cattle are bred for meat.

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

Why Are They Called Bully Sticks?

There isn’t any account that I can find that talks about this unique name.

My assumption would be that it has something to do with bulls.

As you know, bully sticks are made from the dried, processed penis of a bull.

The word “bully” is probably a clever play on the word “bull,” so the name “bully stick” refers to the fact that they are made from bull parts.

What’s your guess?

What Are Bully Sticks Made Of?

Bully sticks are bull’s penises that are dried and processed and are also sometimes known as beef pizzle sticks.

They are a common form of dog treat that is high in protein and are very appealing to dogs, no thanks to their “stinky” smell (odor-free sticks are available, though).

So, the next time someone asks you, are bully sticks bull weiners, you know what the answer is.

How Are Bully Sticks Made?

how are bully sticks made

The process for making bully sticks typically involves the following steps, but do take note that it will differ from one manufacturer to another.

Also, be aware that there are variations to the product, such as odor-free ones (bully sticks do smell), or being turned into braided sticks.

Here’s a quick overview:

  1. The bull penis is a by-product from slaughterhouses and is shipped to the manufacturers and kept refrigerated
  2. The next process is having any excess fats removed and drained of any fluids such as blood and urine
  3. They are then washed to get rid of all residue
  4. Next up is the drying and cooking process, which may include baking in an oven or being smoked
  5. When they are completely dried, they are then cut into strips depending on the desired size of the final product
  6. Once the treats are fully processed, they are ready to be packaged and sold
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Benefits of Bully Sticks for Dogs

If you’ve spoken to dog trainers, you would know that they highly recommend bully sticks.

Even some vets I spoke to endorse this chew treat, but of course, you need to use it with caution just like everything else.

Let’s talk a little more about the benefits:

  • Dental health: Bully sticks can help in maintaining clean, healthy dog teeth and gums by scraping off plaque and tartar buildup as the dog chews. The act of chewing a bully stick every day helps to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth’s surface, improving overall oral health.
  • Mental stimulation: Bully sticks can offer dogs mental stimulation and help them avoid boredom, and relieve stress and anxiety. Dogs who are bored may engage in destructive actions like chewing on furniture or digging in the yard. Bully sticks and other chewy snacks are excellent tools for preventing that.
  • Physical exercise: Bully sticks can help avoid problems like jaw stiffness by exercising the jaw muscles through chewing. Muscles in the jaw, neck, and shoulders are also strengthened in the process.

Take note though: Bully sticks are not meal replacements!

Controversy Surrounding Bully Sticks

There is some controversy surrounding bully sticks due to the fact that they are made from the dried and processed penis of a bull.

Some people may find the use of animal byproducts in pet treats to be unethical or offensive.

Secondly, as bully sticks are primarily created from a byproduct of the meat industry, if handling and processing procedures are not properly followed, there is a chance that they could be contaminated with germs or other pathogens.

The origins are also a source of worry because some brands might not obtain the raw materials in an ethical manner.

This is why I choose my bully sticks from reputable retailers like BestBullySticks and Natural Farm which are safer choices.

However, despite the concerns, bully sticks are regarded as a safe and healthy chew treat that is low in calories for dogs when offered in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Unlike certain rawhide chews, which are treated with chemicals, they are a natural product that has way more benefits.

Doggy says, you might be kee on this too: Is beef hide the same as rawhide?

In Conclusion: Who Invented Bully Sticks? How Are Bully Sticks Made?

Now that you are better acquainted with bully sticks, will you be giving them to your dog?

Which one would you choose? A regular one or an odorless one instead?

Check out more articles about bully sticks here:

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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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