Bully Stick Intestinal Blockage in Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment

Bully Stick Intestinal Blockage in Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment

0 By

Bully sticks, a.k.a. pizzle sticks or bull pizzles, have gained immense popularity among dog owners. However, what many may not know is that these chew treats are made from beef or steer penises. Bully sticks are a popular chew treat among dog owners, but concerns have been raised about the potential risk of intestinal blockage associated with these treats. In this article, we will delve into the benefits, controversies, and potential risks associated, including the specific concern of bully stick intestinal blockage.


Key Facts: Bully sticks are made from bull penises, dried, and twisted to create a tough, long-lasting chew. They offer various benefits but come with considerations that every dog owner should be aware of.


The Pros & Cons Of Bully Sticks


Let’s examine the pros and cons of bully sticks to help you make an informed decision:



  1. Excellent for Oral Health: Bully sticks promote dental health by removing tartar, reducing bacteria on teeth, and strengthening jaw muscles.
  2. Mental Stimulation: The long-lasting chew stimulates the release of endorphins, promoting good mental health.
  3. Nutritious: Bully sticks are high in protein (80-90%) and low in fat, making them a nutritious treat.




  1. Caloric Density: Bully sticks are calorie-dense, and overfeeding can contribute significantly to a dog’s daily caloric intake.
  2. Bacterial Contamination: There is a risk of bacterial contamination, including Salmonella. Source bully sticks from reputable suppliers and practice good hygiene.
  3. Choking Hazard: Small pieces can pose a choking hazard, and if swallowed whole, may cause choking incidents.

What Are Bully Sticks?


Bully sticks are made from beef or steer penises that undergo a drying process, either through dehydration, baking, or smoking. Chemical treatments or irradiation may also be used to eliminate harmful bacteria. Once dry, the sticks are cut into various lengths for packaging.


Feeding Guide


Due to their high caloric density, bully sticks should be given in moderation—ideally as an occasional treat or a maximum of one or two per week.

Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs?


  1. Bacterial Contamination: Source from reputable companies with safe manufacturing processes to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
  2. Choking: Monitor chewing sessions, especially as the stick becomes smaller, to prevent choking incidents.
  3. Beef Allergies: Dogs with beef allergies should avoid bully sticks due to their high protein content.


A Major Recall:

In 2018, the FDA recalled thousands of bully sticks due to Salmonella contamination. While dogs have stronger stomachs, bacterial contamination can still cause stomach upsets, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Can a Bully Stick Cause an Intestinal Blockage?


Yes, it’s possible for a bully stick to cause an intestinal blockage in dogs. Bully sticks are made from dried beef muscles, and when dogs chew on them, the sticks can splinter or break into small pieces. If these pieces are swallowed, they may accumulate in the intestines, leading to a blockage.


Bully Stick Intestinal Blockage Symptoms


Vomiting: Persistent vomiting can be a sign that your dog is experiencing digestive issues.

Lethargy: A lack of energy or interest in activities may indicate discomfort.

Loss of Appetite: If your dog refuses to eat or shows a decreased interest in food, it could be a red flag.

Abdominal Pain: Dogs with intestinal blockages may exhibit signs of abdominal pain, such as whining or reluctance to be touched.

Can Bully Sticks Cause Digestive Issues?


While not every dog will experience digestive issues with bully sticks, some may be more susceptible. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s behavior and watch for any signs of discomfort or distress during and after chewing on these treats.


How Do You Know If Your Dog Has a Blockage?


If you suspect your dog may have an intestinal blockage, observe for the symptoms mentioned earlier. Additionally, watch for changes in bowel movements, such as diarrhea or constipation. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian promptly.


Treatment for Bully Stick Intestinal Blockage


If your dog is diagnosed with an intestinal blockage, your veterinarian will determine the appropriate course of action. Treatment may include:


Surgery: In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the blockage.

Medication: Your vet may prescribe medications to help alleviate symptoms and aid in the passage of the blockage.

Fluid Therapy: Intravenous fluids may be administered to keep your dog hydrated and support their recovery.

Preventing Bully Stick Intestinal Blockage


Supervise Chewing Sessions: Always monitor your dog while they chew on bully sticks, especially as the stick becomes smaller.

Remove Small Pieces: As the stick diminishes in size, take the remaining piece away to prevent choking hazards.


Alternatives to Bully Sticks


Consider alternative chew options such as deer antlers, ostrich tendons, or raw meaty bones, each with its own benefits and potential risks.


Can I Give My Dog Duck Necks? A Detailed Guide 




Can Bully Sticks Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?

Yes, excessive consumption or sensitivity can lead to diarrhea. Moderation is key.

Can Bully Sticks Cause a Blockage?

While highly digestible, if large chunks are bitten off, it can pose a choking hazard. Always supervise chewing sessions.

How Are Bully Sticks Harvested?

Bully sticks are made from beef or steer penises, dried, and processed. Reputable suppliers ensure safe and hygienic processing.

Are Bully Sticks Good for Dogs?

Yes, in moderation. They offer dental benefits, mental stimulation, and are a nutritious treat.

Can Puppies Have Bully Sticks?

Yes, but limit chew time to 5-10 minutes due to their sensitive stomachs.

What Are Bully Sticks Made Of?

Bully sticks are made from beef or steer penises, providing a natural and protein-rich chewing option.

When to Take a Bully Stick Away?

Remove the stick as it becomes small to prevent choking hazards.

How Many Bully Sticks Can a Dog Have?

One or two per week, considering their high caloric density.

How Long Do Bully Sticks Last?

The duration depends on the dog’s size and chewing habits. Smaller dogs may enjoy them for hours or even days.

Can Dogs Choke on Bully Sticks?

Yes, if the stick becomes small enough to swallow whole. Supervision is crucial.

What Is the Difference Between Pizzle Sticks and Bully Sticks?

“Pizzle sticks” and “bully sticks” are often used interchangeably, both referring to the same beef or steer penis-based chew.

How Many Calories Are There in Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are calorie-dense. A 6-inch stick can contain approximately 90 calories. Monitor your dog’s overall caloric intake.

Final Words


While bully sticks offer dental benefits, mental stimulation, and nutrition, awareness of the potential risk of “bully stick intestinal blockage” is paramount. Responsible feeding practices, careful supervision, and choosing quality products from reputable sources will ensure a positive experience for your furry friend. By understanding the intricacies of bully sticks, you can make informed choices that prioritize your dog’s well-being and enjoyment while safeguarding against potential risks.


Spread the love