Bully Stick Dog Treats Contain High Calories, Bacteria: Study

the daily dish More on PawNation: Bully Sticks, Dogs, Nutrition, Pet Treats
If your dog loves to eat bully sticks, you may want to know about a recent study that investigated the caloric content and bacterial contamination of the popular treats. The study revealed surprisingly high numbers for both, according to Science Daily.

A joint study between the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in the U.S. and the University of Guelph in Canada analyzed a sample of 26 different commercially available so-called bully sticks, or pizzles, a dog treat derived from bull penises. An average, 6-inch bully stick was found to contain around 88 calories, which may not sound like much to humans, but for dogs, that number represents 9 percent of a 50-pound dog's daily caloric need, and a whopping one-third of a 10-pound dog's daily requirements.



This information may come as a surprise to pet owners because pet treats are not required to contain calorie information on their labels. But with pet obesity an ongoing problem, it's information that responsible pet owners will want to know.

Perhaps more distressingly, some of the 26 bully sticks tested contained some alarming bacteria, including one with Clostridium difficile, one with the dreaded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (aka MRSA) and seven with E. coli.

To supplement the study, its authors conducted a survey of pet owners online. Of the 852 people who took the survey, 71 percent of respondents who feed their dogs bully sticks said they avoid animal by-products in their pets' food, even though bully sticks are themselves an animal by-product. That discrepancy may be explained in part by the fact that 44 percent of respondents didn't know the source of bully sticks.

Further studies with larger sample sizes will continue to investigate bully-stick content. Meanwhile, pet owners should feel encouraged to always conduct their own research into what exactly we feed our pets. And always wash your hands after handling pet food and treats.

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