Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bully sticks and antlers

A few days ago I came home from work to find a small package waiting for me on our front porch. I had completely forgotten what it was I ordered and eagerly ripped open the padded envelope. I was tickled to see it was a few little things I ordered to keep Milly occupied while I am at work.

As I’ve briefly touched on in the past finding healthy made in the USA treats can be a real challenge. I avoid all treats made out of the country—particularly those made in China, as melanin scares have had some impact on dog food and treats. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find things only made in America, and it is amazing just how many things are made in China. I particularly avoid chicken products from China—so double check the packaging on those fancy dehydrated chicken strips you picked up at the pet store… there is a good chance those were made in China (if you have found some made in the US please comment so I know what brand and where I can get some!).

Back to the contents of this padded envelope: 2 Bully Sticks and 1 antler (I think it is deer).

Bully sticks are a great product to give your dog—especially the hormone-free, antibiotic-free and chemical-free, USDA inspected free-ranging beef variety. They are a great alternative to rawhide bones or pig ears. Milly went crazy for her Bully Stick. She spent about an hour chomping and gnawing at it. I ordered her two of them—one in a spiral shape (she tends to like neat textures) and the other a straight stick. The only problem I’ve found with the Bully Stick is what it is made of—Bull “parts”… as in parts a female cow would not have. But, despite my knowledge of what the thing is made of, it does feel a lot like a thick rawhide, and Milly LOVES them! Below you’ll find some info about them—they come in all sizes and shapes. Note: A dog should spend at least 30 minutes eating the Bully Stick… if it is consumed faster than that this may not be the best treat for your dog.

About Bully Sticks:
• Dogs love these long lasting chews; they are generally preferred over rawhide.

• Chewing a bully keeps dogs busy and out of trouble! Great for when you need your dog to settle down for a while.
• Cleans teeth and freshens breath. Will not stain carpet.
• Great for teething puppies.
• Bully sticks are not rawhide; they are dried bull penises (yeah, it’s pretty gross, but dogs don’t mind!).
• The 100% natural smoke flavor produces bully sticks that have a nice barbeque odor and taste dogs seem to love. I ordered mine from
• Bully sticks are from free-ranging, Brazilian cattle. Bullies are inspected upon arrival into the US. Free-range, chemical-free bullies are simply not available from US beef.

As far as Antlers, those were not quite as big of a hit with Milly, but I intend to be persistent, and am confident she will learn to enjoy them in time. I learned about antlers from the Golden Retriever Forum I belong to. There are tons of advantages to antlers—they are all natural, they last a LONG TIME (think months!), once a dog is familiar with them they can provide hours of entertainment, etc. Like the Bully Stick, the antlers have little to no odor (the bully stick has a slight smoked odor, but it is not unpleasant). I was amazed at how little these things smell—in fact, holding the antler right under my nose I can not smell anything!
• Antler chews hold up longer than those made of compacted starch, like rawhide.
o They last longer than Bully Sticks.
• Antlers are much less likely to chip or splinter when they are being chewed than processed bones. The chewing action grinds the antler down slowly.
• Antlers contain many beneficial nutrients and nothing artificial.
• They have virtually no odor or reside to get on your carpet of furniture.
• Antlers vary in shape, thickness and color. Dogs enjoy variety—and with no two alike, your dog is sure to get lots of variety in his chews.

So, once your antler arrives (or if you get one from a friend with access to antlers) make sure the antler is large enough so your dog does not choke on it or swallow it. Also, you’ll want to wash it with warm, soapy water and rinse well before giving it to your dog. I am still getting Milly to warm up to the idea of the antler. So far she likes to lick it, but gets bored with it very quickly. Some ways I am trying to get her more fascinated are lightly going over it with sandpaper or a nail file (I actually haven’t tried this yet, but plan on doing so this weekend), because dogs enjoy varying textures. Also, lightly coating parts of the antler in peanut butter (she loves this! She will spend at least 45 minutes licking the antler to get every last hint of peanut butter off of it). The final way, which I have not tried yet, but may do tonight, is to soak the antler in water over night in the refrigerator. I am assuming this will soften the antler a little bit, and encourage the dog to slowly chew at it—perhaps it brings the marrow like filling to the surface in some way? I’ll let you know once I’ve tried it.

As far as cost goes, if your dog enjoys antlers they are very cost efficient. You may be put off by the sticker price (I sure was!)—At a whopping $13.75 the things aren’t cheap for a dog treat, but keep in mind it will last for MONTHS. In the long run, some antlers are a wise investment.

Bully sticks are not cheap either, but I have found a few websites where you can buy them in bulk. seems to have much more reasonable prices than my local pet stores do.


  1. It doesn't matter how long it actually is, what matter matters most is that your dog is safe. Makw sure that you only give provide bully sticks that are non-toxic.

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