Will bully sticks cause issues (if so, how to solve them)?

As a dog owner, you want what is best for your dog. Everyone loves to see their dog happy. And that is why we love to spoil them with treats and chews. However, there are a lot of different types you can choose for your pet.

One of the popular chews is bully sticks. Dogs love them, and they find them delicious and entertaining. This treat is long-lasting, healthy, and something your furry friend will adore.

However, you may have some concerns about giving your dog these unique chews. So let’s look at if bully sticks cause issues. Furthermore, we’ll also look at how to overcome those issues if they happen and how to safely give a bully stick to your dog.

Dog running with beef cheek roll in mouth

Digesting and stomach issues

The most common issue caused by dog bully sticks is that it might cause diarrhea. If your dog is sensitive to beef or enjoys a bully stick too often, you may see this issue. It’s nothing to worry about, though, most of the time. If you think your dog is allergic, check with your vet, and they can find out more. 

Bully sticks have a lot of protein, and for some dogs, this can disrupt their digestive tract. They are made of one ingredient, which is a bull penis. Sometimes manufacturers bake them in the oven, smoke them, or sun dry them.

They are easily digestible, dissolve quickly in your dog’s stomach, and don’t splinter. Overall, because of how they are made and their high digestibility, bully sticks are a safer chew option. However, it would be best if you always supervise your dog during playtime.

In general, dogs are unlikely to suffer from diarrhea or similar issues, like vomiting, by chewing on a bully stick. However, knowing what to do in case of adverse reactions can help keep your dog safe. 

5 reasons for diarrhea caused by bully sticks

Digestive system.

Older dogs, or those with digestive issues or allergies, are more likely to experience diarrhea after having a bully stick. Because of the high protein content, they can cause loose stools. If your dog is prone to diarrhea after eating certain foods or has a sensitive stomach, maybe bully sticks are not a great option. Try something lighter, like a collagen chew!

Condition of bully sticks.

If you do not store your bully sticks properly, they might cause your dog to have diarrhea. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and away from moisture, heat, or other things that can cause spoilage. Make sure that the bully stick is not expired or that it looks regular. And while bully sticks do have a long shelf life, they are a natural product and can go bad. 

Production Quality

Pet product production regulations fall under the FDA in the United States, which can cause discrepancies in the quality of the bully sticks you buy. Some companies import bully sticks from other countries where regulations are different, which can easily cause bacteria problems and spoilage issues. All of that can add to a digestion disruption. 

We here at Barking Buddha work closely with our processing facilities in South America to ensure that our bully sticks and other natural chews are of the highest quality. And we do this to pass on the savings to you without sacrificing quality.

 Shop our full line of affordable natural chews today!

Beef Source

There can be a possibility that the bully sticks you are giving your dog are of poor quality, which can be the reason for diarrhea. The beef source can affect the nutrition of bully sticks. Grass-fed beef has more fatty acids and protein than other sources. So that could cause gastrointestinal problems.

Your dog’s dietary needs.

Bully sticks cause issues because they are high in protein. If your pup eats too many at once, it can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Just make sure that your dog does not have easy access to bully sticks and that you are not giving it more than experts recommend.

A dog on a bed chewing on a bully stick.

Some concerns about these Chews

While diarrhea is one of the more common concerns, some owners also worry that bully sticks contain bacteria. If they stay out in the open, there is a risk of cross-contamination from human food.

For example, chicken that splatters onto the bully sticks sitting next to the stove. Situations like this may cause your dog to get sick if they eat the stick after. Ensure your bully sticks are stored correctly, and this shouldn’t be an issue. 

However, you might also worry about the production process. After all, these are meat products. Yes, there is a risk of salmonella contamination. However, this is less than a 4% risk. Furthermore, dogs’ digestive systems can digest salmonella and often don’t get sick from it. 

While accidents happen, buying your bully sticks from a quality supplier can help minimize that risk. 


The calories that bully sticks contain are also something that can be worrying. If you have to control or limit the calories your dog consumes for weight management, you should reduce the number of bully sticks you give your pup. They can still enjoy these chews, but only as a special treat. 

Lastly, some might say that they are pricey. One bully stick can last a few chew sessions, so you do get a lot more bang for your buck. By shopping at Barking Buddha, we help make bully sticks more affordable by outsourcing our production process while still keeping our high-quality standards. Seeing your dog happy is the greatest reward.

How long it takes for a dog to digest a bully stick?

While bully sticks should not be given to your dog as food, there may be a time when your pup does ingest some. But how can you tell if this will be a problem or not? You won’t even notice a difference for most dogs if the piece is small. 

Most dogs will digest bully sticks in just a few hours. If you believe your dog has ingested some bully stick, keep an eye on them for the next 4-8 hours. Food could take up to 12 hours to fully pass through the system. 

During that time, if you notice any discomfort, vomiting, or other distress, call your vet to make sure that the piece will pass. And remove the bully stick. While bully sticks are highly digestible, large pieces can still cause problems for your pup. 

To ensure proper digestion, give your dog a bully stick on your day off. That way, you will be there the whole time and notice anything that happens. 

Ingredients that bully sticks contain

There is only one ingredient, and that is bull penis or sometimes called a pizzle. They are natural, and there are no added chemicals or growth hormones. Manufacturers dehydrate, bake, smoke, or sunbake them. 

Digestibility of bully sticks

Bully sticks are a very safe and digestible chew. Because they are single-ingredient chews, they are easy for most dogs to digest if pieces are swallowed. However, large chunks can still cause blockages, so always supervise your dog.

Size of a bully stick

The size of a bully stick can also make a difference in the time your dog needs to digest it. Choose the size that fits your dog. If the stick is too big, your dog will have problems chewing it, but if it’s too small, there is a risk of choking hazards.

The shape of a bully stick

There are long, short, braided, and curly sticks that you can get for your dog. Some of them are thick or thin. Each dog has their own preferences, so try a few different ones and see what your dog likes the best. 


Bully sticks are an excellent chewing option for dogs and can provide hours of entertainment. They come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, so you should be able to find one that your dog loves. 

As long as they are given under supervision, bully sticks are overall safe for your pup and offer plenty of benefits, including dental hygiene maintenance, mental stimulation, boredom relief, stress reduction, and more. Always make sure the size is appropriate for your pup’s mouth size or risk choking hazards. 

And remember: when it comes to choosing safe chew treats for your pet, always go with natural single-ingredient options like bully sticks! Shop the full line of Grass-Fed Barking Buddha’s Bully Sticks Today!

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