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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dog Chews | Bully Sticks (part 2)

This is a supplemental post to "Bully Sticks | Dog Chews". In my follow up research, I found out something that must be mentioned: Unfortunately, dog chews and bully sticks can both be affected by salmonella, as stated by the FDA. I'm not saying there won't be any chewing on the most favorite dog chews, I'm just saying that it is good to be aware and a bit on the cautious side. All responsible dog owners have to be aware that there is no treat, chew, or toy that is 100% safe. 

Bully Sticks, also known as pizzle, beef pizzles, pizzle sticks, beef sticks, and steer six, are made of bull penises. That is the only ingredient in them. The bull's (approximately 23" long) penis is, um, removed, cleaned, and hung to drain and dry, hopefully getting rid of the stinky smells during that process. Next, the bully sticks are stretched, braided, and/or twisted and eventually dried. Sometimes they are smoked to add flavor and make them more interesting for your dogs. The end result is a thirty to forty inch long dog chew that is hard to chew and that can be cut to any size you desire. In order to save money, we usually buy the largest size we can find and then use a Dremel tool or a hand saw to chop it down and divide between the three dogs. The cats have really no interest in this particular dog treat. I wish I could say the same for our chicken strips. but we have to fight over those.  

To recap:
Dog treats and more specifically dog chews are not to be given freely. Rawhide is one of the most potentially dangerous treats. While the ingredient is the skin of the cow, the dangers can be deadly. Your dog may choke, have his throat and esophagus scraped, and may get a physical obstruction in his intestinal track that can be surgically removed, if caught on time. If your dog loves rawhide and you don't want to deprive him, you're probably better off finding some compressed rawhide which is created under extreme pressure out of layers of beef hide. This type also lasts 2-5 times longer than regular rawhide treats. Cow Hooves, one of our favorites, are not problem-free either. They can break your dog's teeth, and small sharp bits can tear the bowel's wall, something that in most cases causes infection and death. Pig Ears, another favorite of ours, can also cause blockages and may contain salmonella. Some people prefer Nylabone chews thinking they are safer. That's not the case either. They may not splinter of break but there is a danger that your dog will not be able to properly digest the small particles that sometimes are not passed through the digestive system. Just a few short weeks ago we purchased Udders because it was the latest fad and people thought them safer than other dog chews. A few minutes later, we were painfully aware that those too can cause a chocking hazard.  

The only general rule we can all follow is to always remove a dog chew when it gets small enough to become a chocking hazard in and of itself. 

Be careful and stay current and well informed. We sure are worth it.

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