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Chewing is a healthy activity that helps keep your dog’s mind and body active, but with so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which chew is best for your dog.
Bully sticks are one of the most popular choices and for good reason. However, they aren’t the only healthy chew on the market. Collagen sticks are quickly gaining popularity as a nutritious and long lasting rawhide chew alternative.
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So how are Bully Sticks and Collagen Sticks different?
Bully sticks and collagen sticks have a lot in common. Both are natural chews that most dogs find appealing. In fact, many owners choose to feed both options to their dogs.
However, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Both bully sticks and collagen sticks are both usually made from beef, though they are made from different parts of the animal.
Bully Sticks are made from a bull penis (pizzle) while Collagen Sticks are made from the corium underneath the hide.
As a single ingredient treat, they are ideal for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities, so long as they are not sensitive to beef.
Although each of these chews has different nutritional benefits, they are both free from grains, gluten, and any artificial ingredients that could cause stomach upset.
Collagen sticks do contain some protein, but since bully sticks are made from muscle tissue, they tend to have a higher protein content.
The main nutritional benefit of collagen sticks is obviously collagen, which makes them a great option for active and senior dogs. Collagen can help improve skin and coat health, joint function, and bone strength.
Both chews are fairly high in calories, so if you have a tenacious chewer on a restricted diet, you may need to limit chew sessions or give chews more sparingly.
Since bully sticks and collagen sticks are relatively natural products, there aren’t many harsh chemicals needed in their production. This makes both options a great alternative to rawhide.
Bully sticks tend ot be richer in natural flavor than collagen sticks. Few manufacturers add any additional flavor to these products through basting or smoking, but there is a difference between the two.
Bully sticks tend to have a stronger natural flavor than collagen chews. Unfortunately, this also means that they often have a stronger smell.
Pet parents who are sensitive to strong odors may want to shop for low odor" or odor-free bully sticks.
The stronger smell and flavor of bully sticks may be more appealing to picky dogs, but this is not to say that collagen sticks don’t have their own appeal.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your dog busy for a while, consider a chew session with either a bully stick or collagen chew. Both options are considered long lasting chews, but many dog owners may find that collagen chews last just a bit longer.
It’s important to note that the exact amount of time it will take your dog to consume one will depend on a few things.
Not all dogs chew at the same rate. More tenacious chewers will obviously consume a chew much faster than a dog with a more delicate chewing style. Older dogs, toy breeds, and dogs with dental issues are generally slower chewers than puppies and healthy adult dogs.
The shape of the chew will also affect how quickly it can be consumed. Both collagen chews and bully sticks come in a range of shapes and sizes.
In general, thicker or braided chews will last longer, but don’t forget to factor those extra calories into your dog’s diet.
It’s common for some dogs to consume their chew over several sessions. Some dogs may even try to “bury” their chew in sofa cushions or dog beds, only to return to chew on it later.
This is not an issue, but it’s recommended to toss the chew in the trash after a few days to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
Collagen sticks tend to me cheaper than bully sticks. This is mainly due in part because bully sticks in limited supply versus a cow's hide, which is corium is made from.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive chew, it may be best to consider something other than bully sticks and collagen sticks.
Small breed owners can expect to spend less per chew, as smaller chews are typically cheaper than large chews or those that have been formed into shapes.
Braided chews are usually the most expensive option, but since they are made from three separate chews, they are often the longest lasting option as well.
Although bully sticks and collagen sticks are comparable on many levels, there is some difference in digestibility.
Bully Sticks are considered highly digestible, which means even if a dog manages to swallow a large chunk, it should easily break down in the stomach.
High digestibility is important as it lowers the risk of an intestinal blockage, which can be a dangerous situation that requires emergency veterinarian care.
Collagen chews are a more digestible alternative to rawhide, but are typically slower to digest than bully sticks.
When giving your dog any type of chew, safety should always be your priority, especially if your pooch tends to gulp or swallow large pieces of food and treats.
Supervision is always recommended.
The two most common safety concerns with edible chews such as bully sticks or collagen sticks are choking and intestinal blockages.
To prevent both, it’s important to give your dog the right size chew so that he won’t attempt to swallow it whole. You may also need to take the bully stick or collagen stick away once your dog chews it down to a certain size.
Chews with low digestibility, such as rawhide, can also contribute to intestinal blockages since they are not easily broken down by the digestive system.
As previously mentioned, bully sticks are highly digestible and are more easily broken down if large pieces are swallowed.
Although collagen chews are considered more digestible than rawhide, they do not break down in the stomach as easily as bully sticks.
Remember, no one knows your dog as well as you do, so you’re the only one that make the decision about whether or not your dog can handle a certain type or size of chew.