The 7 Best Bully Sticks of 2023

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Best Bully Sticks

The Spruce Pets / Sabrina Jiang

Dogs like to chew. Not only is gnawing fun, it also helps relieve boredom and keeps teeth and gums healthy. But not all doggy chews are the same.

Bully sticks are popular chews made from the penis of a bull or steer—an ingredient commonly called "pizzle." Also known as "bully bones" or "pizzles," these chews are typically 100 percent beef. Bully sticks can be safe as long as you give them in moderation and supervise your pet when they chew on them, says veterinarian Erin Katribe, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society.

"Bully sticks are high in fat, so as with any treat item, if a large amount of a rich food item is ingested, or if your dog has a very sensitive stomach, then some gastrointestinal upset can occur,” Katribe says. She adds that it's best to give your dog bully sticks in moderation. "If you notice stomach or intestinal upset (usually diarrhea) after a bully stick with your dog, it may be too rich." If that happens, give your dog only smaller portions or not at all.

Our favorite for most dogs are Natural Farm's 6-Inch Bully Sticks, which are odor-free, not too tough, and made from free-range, grass-fed cattle. But there are several other bully sticks available that we would also recommend.

Here are the best bully sticks.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Natural Farm 6-Inch Bully Sticks

5
Natural Farm Odor-Free Standard Bully Sticks

Natural Farm

What We Like
  • Made from grass-fed, free-range cattle

  • No hormones, additives, or chemicals

  • Sustainable packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Some inconsistent sizing

Natural Farms bully sticks are suitable for medium chewers, making them a good pick for most dogs. They're also odor free, so they won't offend nearby humans. Made from grass-fed, free-range Brazilian cattle, the pizzles used in these bully sticks have no hormones, additives, or chemicals. They’re single-ingredient and cleaned with water then slowly oven-baked to preserve the nutrients.

Natural Farm bullies come in traditional sticks, as well as springs, rings, braids, and bites. Depending on the size and chewing style of your dog, you can choose from standard, select, jumbo, pixie, and extra-thin sticks. We think the standard six-inch bully sticks are appropriate for most of your dog's chewing needs, and appreciate the flexible packaging on offer, with 12 and 16 ounce packs on offer, in addition to 15-, 20-, and 25- pizzle packages.

Natural Farm donates a portion of proceeds from every sale to organizations that help animals in need worldwide and the packaging is made with 51 percent recyclable sugar cane.

Food Form: Beef sticks | Amount: 1.2 pounds | Breed Size: Varies | Life Stage: All life stages

Best Braided

Nature Gnaws Natural Dog Chews

Nature Gnaws Natural Dog Chews

Amazon

What We Like
  • Human-grade food testing

  • No additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients

  • Grass-fed, free-range cattle

What We Don't Like
  • Some inconsistent sizing

  • Can be smelly

Braided bully sticks are made of three strips of pizzle that are tightly braided together, then baked to form a treat.

Nature Gnaws’ bullies are 100 percent beef from grass-fed, free-range cattle. There are no additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. The bullies are cleaned with water, then baked in the oven. The company relies on human-grade foot testing to make sure the chews aren’t contaminated with bacteria. In addition to braids, this company sells extra-thin, small, large, and spring-shaped bullies.

Food Form: Beef sticks | Amount: 5 count | Breed Size: Varies | Life Stage: All life stages

Best Odor-Free

Barkworthies Odor-Free Bully Sticks

Barkworthies Bully Sticks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Odor-free

  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors

  • Lots of shapes and sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Some inconsistent sizing

  • Some have odor

Barkworthies are single-ingredient chews with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. The beef is sourced from South America. There is also a line of sticks that are baked in the U.S. There are so many different styles for light, medium, hard, and even power chewers ranging from standard, braided, and curly sticks to jumbo, double cut, and monster sticks. For light and medium chewers, there are also long and skinny cane sticks, which can be cut into smaller pieces.

Food Form: Sticks | Amount: 5 count | Breed Size: Varies | Life Stage: All life stages

"The rescue I foster for sent some of these bully sticks to keep my puppies occupied, and they are great. I particularly like the double cut sticks, because they take a lot of work and keep the little ones occupied. I know they won’t be able to gnaw off much, but it makes them happy as they’re teething and keeps my fingers safe from sharp puppy teeth."-Mary Jo Dilonardo, The Spruce Pets Writer

Best for Teeth

Jack & Pup 6-Inch Premium-Grade Odor-Free Bully Sticks

Jack & Pup 6-Inch Premium-Grade Odor-Free Bully Sticks

Amazon

What We Like
  • From grass-fed beef

  • USDA certified and inspected facility

  • No additives or chemicals

What We Don't Like
  • Can be stinky when chewed

  • Some inconsistent sizing

These bully bones are made from grass-fed beef that is processed in a USDA human grade-certified and inspected facility. They are boiled, roasted, smoked, and slow-dried without any additives or chemicals. The process keeps the treats fresh longer without preservatives and helps keep them odor-free. However once pups start chewing, these sticks develop a very gamey smell.

The premium sticks are especially good for dogs to gnaw on to keep their teeth and gums healthy. The company makes bullies in standard, thick, and jumbo of varying thicknesses, and they are available in six-inch or 12-inch lengths. Jack & Pup also has bites, braids, and curls. Bites should only be given to the tiniest of dogs, because their small size could be choking hazards for larger pets.

Food Form: Sticks | Amount: 1.17 pounds | Breed Size: Varies | Life Stage: All life stages

Best in Bulk

Sancho & Lola's Bully Sticks

Sancho & Lola's Bully Sticks

Amazon

What We Like
  • No growth hormones, toxic chemicals, or antibiotics

  • Farmed in the U.S.

  • Free-range beef


What We Don't Like
  • Some have strong odor

  • Sizes may vary in bag

If you have several dogs or just feed your pup a lot of treats, it can be convenient and save money to buy in bulk. Sancho & Lola offers that option for all its many forms of bully sticks. They’re all made with no growth hormones, toxic chemicals, or antibiotics. The charcuterie-style sticks are made from beef farmed in the United States. Other bully products are from free-range, grass-fed cattle farmed in North and South America. All of Sancho & Lola's products are processed, inspected, and packed in facilities in Texas and Nebraska.

You can choose from traditional, thick, or crunchy in several different lengths. You can also opt for a range of smells from no odor to moderate odor. However, the moderate odor treats are actually really stinky, which your dog will love more than you will. A portion of all proceeds goes to dog rescues.

Food Form: Sticks | Amount: 24-30 count | Breed Size: Small | Life Stage: Not listed

Best Deal

Pawstruck Bully Sticks

Pawstruck Bully Sticks

Amazon

What We Like
  • From grass-fed, free-range cattle

  • Sold by weight

  • No artificial chemicals or additives

What We Don't Like
  • Some odor

  • Inconsistent sizing

One of the main complaints about bully sticks is that they aren’t the same size. You can open a bag, and some will be much bigger than others, and you might feel that you didn’t get a fair deal. That’s why Pawstruck sells its bags by weight. So if sticks are smaller, you get more sticks per bag. (That can be a negative if you need a certain size for your dog.)

Pawstruck bullies are sourced from grass-fed, free-range cattle in South America. They have no additives or artificial chemicals and are available in traditional sticks, as well as bites, rings, and braids.

Food Form: Sticks | Amount: 8 ounces | Breed Size: All | Life Stage: Not listed

Best Bully Stick Alternative

Himalayan Pet Supply Himalayan Dog Chew The Original

Himalayan Pet Supply The Original Dog Chew

Chewy

What We Like
  • Can last a long time

  • No smell

  • Nothing is wasted

What We Don't Like
  • If dropped, pieces can break off easily

  • Aggressive chewers might chip teeth

These hard treats are made from 100 percent yak and cow’s milk with a little salt and lime juice for added taste. The chews have no gluten, grain, soy, lactose, or corn. There are no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or additives. Dogs just chew and scrape until they can get little pieces off.

When the stick gets too small, you can soak it in water, microwave it, let it cool, and feed it to your pup as a special cheese puff treat. That way, nothing is wasted.

The treats come from the Himalayas, where they support a network of more than 10,000 farmers who handcraft them. They are certified Fair Trade by the World Fair Trade Organization. For every pound of cheese chewed, the company donates a book to a library in Nepal.

Food Form: Sticks | Amount: 1 count | Breed Size: Large | Life Stage: Adult

Final Verdict

Our top choice is Natural Farm's 6-Inch Bully Sticks, which are made from grass-fed, free-range cattle with no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The company also has sustainable packaging and donates proceeds to help animals in need with every purchase. Another great choice is Nature Gnaws. The all-natural braided bullies are especially challenging for power chewers.

What to Look for in Bully Sticks

Size

Choose the bully stick based on the size of your dog. If it’s too small, it could be a choking hazard, advises Dr. Katribe. Stay away from bully bites if you have a large dog, for example. If your dog is small, and the bully stick is too large, they may get frustrated and might not be able to chew it. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, opt for a thicker bully stick like a braided option. Most companies have recommendations on their websites regarding their specific products.

Odor

You and your dog might disagree on this one. Bully sticks can smell really, really bad (or really enticing, if you're a dog). If you don’t want your house smelling like a musty, meaty animal, you might want to opt for an odor-free pizzle. These are usually cooked longer to get rid of some of the smell and moisture. 

But just a heads up: When your dog starts chewing any bully stick, that saliva will make even the odor-free sticks start to smell a little.

Sourcing

Most companies will list where the animals came from. We like the idea that they came from free-range, grass-fed cattle. Some people prefer that the animals were raised in the U.S. or Canada, but others point out that cows in Brazil, for example, are nearly always free-range and fed on grass, so check the fine print for sourcing information.

FAQ
  • Are bully sticks safe for puppies?

    Bully sticks are generally safe for puppies, says Dr. Katribe, though you should take the same precautions that you take with adult dogs. “Puppies are often prone to more sensitive stomachs than adults, and so this is something to watch out for,” she says. “Puppies may need their access restricted to a shorter time so that they ingest less at one sitting."

  • When should I take a bully stick away from my dog?

    Keep an eye on how much of the stick your dog is eating. “When the bully stick is approaching a size that’s small enough to ingest whole, it’s time to take it away to reduce the chance of it becoming lodged in the throat,” Katribe says. She suggests that you may also want to take the bully stick after a certain amount of time per day, simply to limit the amount ingested at once.

  • How often can I give my dog a bully stick?

    As mentioned, all treats should be given in moderation. Katribe says treats should make up less than 10 percent of your dog’s caloric intake. You can do the math and figure this out, based on the size of your dog and the bully stick.

    “For a more general rule of thumb, a maximum of two to three times per week should be reasonable for most dogs,” she says. “If your dog is a particularly fast chewer, it may make sense to limit their time with the bully stick so that they last longer (and so the dog doesn’t ingest a large amount at once).”

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

We consulted with a veterinarian before researching bully sticks. All of the chews we recommended are 100 percent beef with no additives or chemicals, and they offer clear information about sourcing.

This article was researched and written by Mary Jo DiLonardo, who has covered animals and pets for several decades. Mary Jo has fostered more than three dozen puppies and is always searching for the healthiest and most effective products, foods, and treats for them.