Why Do Bully Sticks Smell?

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 a popular chew treat for dogs, but many people are turned off by the smell (not our dogs though, they seem to love it!).

Why do bully sticks smell???

In this blog post, we’re going to set the record straight about bully sticks and explain why they smell the way they do.

We’ll also give you some tips on how to get the smell out of bully sticks, how to keep your dog’s mouth clean, and some alternatives to consider.

Let’s jump in!

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Dear Dog Owner

Why Do Bully Sticks Stink So Bad?

Bullying sticks are made from a single ingredient — beef pizzle, thus giving them a unique and natural smell.

This is mostly due to the process of extracting these parts.

The pizzle is one of many body parts that are left over after the cattle are killed and left to fester until employees come and collect them to manufacture dog treats.

They are then laid out to dry right away, essentially locking in the smells that include the presence of blood and urine.

Due to the low labor and material costs, this method is the most affordable way to create bully sticks.

Have you ever wondered who invented bully sticks?

Another point to note is that the smell of the sticks is correlated with their moisture content.

This is especially so when they become wet, intensifying the “aroma” that so many dog owners dread.

Bully sticks that have a strong stench and those that don’t are the result of different drying processes.

Strongly scented sticks have not been cooked or dried for long enough to remove extra moisture.

When your dog begins to chew one, this results in the wetness being released.

Just don’t confuse it with a bully stick that has gone bad!

Why Do Dogs Love Bully Sticks So Much?

Why Do Dogs Love Bully Sticks So Much?

They’re tasty!

Bully sticks are made from bull pizzle, which is rich in protein, and digest easily.

Dogs have a natural taste for things that are high in protein, so it makes sense that they would be drawn to bully sticks.

They’re also one of the most effective ways to get your dog to release endorphins and make him or her feel calm, relaxed, and happy.

A bully stick will help your dog get through a stressful situation like a thunderstorm or a trip to the vet by acting as a happy distraction.

And honestly, I do think that the smell helps too!

At What Age Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?

Puppies can have bully sticks as soon as they start having adult teeth, which is usually by the time they reach 6 months old.

It’s important to monitor your puppy and make sure they don’t eat too much bully stick at once.

Start off with just a couple of minutes of chew time and monitor their reaction to it.

Some dogs might have diarrhea from bully sticks if they are overfed too much, too soon.

How to Get the Smell Out of Bully Sticks

Bully sticks have a really strong smell that is hard to remove, and there is really no way to get rid of them completely.

I recommend you try out the following methods which have worked to an extent for me:

  • Rinse with baking soda, dry, and bake them
  • Boil them
  • Serve it in chicken bone broth (or similar)

But honestly, I think dogs are most attracted to the smell more than anything else, so removing it might be counter-productive.

Sometimes, they chew on one but may not be attracted to it anymore, but there are always ways to refresh bully sticks.

If it does bother you, you can consider using odor-free bully sticks or only giving your dog one outside the house.

Do Bully Sticks Make Dogs Breath Stink?

Yes, bully sticks do make a dog’s breath stink.

It is somewhat ironic as they are useful for improving your dog’s dental health.

The chew removes plaque and buildup by rubbing against your dog’s teeth.

It also helps to produce saliva, which lessens dry mouth, a significant contributor to bad breath.

However, some bully sticks have a strong stench brought on by an abundance of moisture that can make your dog’s breath smell.

Are There Bully Sticks That Don’t Smell?

Many people are familiar with bully sticks because they’re often used as chew toys for dogs.

However, many people don’t know why bully sticks smell and how to get the smell out.

Luckily, there are several options that are low-odor or odor free.

Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Mouth Clean

Keeping your dog’s mouth clean is important for their dental health and bully sticks are an effective way to do this.

They help remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, which can lead to improved oral health overall.

Additionally, bully sticks may help to reduce bad breath in dogs.

So if you’re looking for a healthy and affordable way to keep your dog’s teeth clean, bully sticks are a great option!

Here are a few other ways you can help keep your dog’s mouth clean while they’re chewing their bully sticks:

  • Brush their teeth daily with a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs.
  • Give your dog plenty of water to drink while they’re chewing to clear out any residue in its mouth
  • Feed them raw bones for chewing on. This will clean their teeth and help to reduce plaque buildup
  • Give them dental chews that are designed to clean your dog’s teeth while they chew and also improve their breath
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Do Vets Recommend Bully Sticks?

Yes, bully sticks are recommended by vets!

In fact, they’re one of the most popular treats that are recommended to dog owners.

That’s because while bully sticks contain calories, they’re high in protein and low in fat, making them a great choice for dogs who need a little extra help maintaining a healthy weight and improving their oral health.

In Conclusion: Why Do Bully Sticks Smell?

It is true that bully sticks stink for us humans, but for our fur buddies, they are like heaven!

Most dogs would love them this way, but there are also odorless bully sticks that you can consider.

They still have that same great flavor packed inside but without the smells.

Check out the following articles on dog diet too:

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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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