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There are so many types of chews available for dogs, it can be difficult to choose the perfect treat for your pooch. Two of the most popular choices are rawhide and bully sticks, but how do they compare?
So how are Bully Sticks and Rawhide different?
Dogs are family and most owners want to make sure they’re giving their dogs a safe and healthy treat. Understanding what makes bully sticks and rawhide chews so popular can help you make an informed decision about which treat is best for your pup.
Discerning pet parents should be aware that not all chews are created equally. When shopping for your dog, it’s important to be aware of the differences between rawhide and bully sticks and how they may affect your canine companion.
Both rawhide and bully sticks are single ingredient chews, which make them ideal for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. Beef is the most common protein used, though some manufacturers may use pork or buffalo.
In general, bully sticks tend to require less processing than rawhide. The muscle tissue used to make bully sticks is typically dehydrated but may also be baked or smoked. The process is relatively simple and requires few, if any, harsh chemicals.
Rawhide, on the other hand, is typically a byproduct of the leather industry, so the hides often go through more processing to achieve the final result. For less reputable manufacturers, this can mean exposing the hides to toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde or chromium salts.
Additionally, rawhide is often bleached or dyed to achieve the desired color, whereas bully sticks are usually left in their natural state.
Although bully sticks and rawhide chews are both made from a single ingredient, some brands of rawhide may not be suitable for dogs with sensitive digestive systems due to the chemicals used to produce them.
After processing, rawhide generally doesn’t have a strong flavor, which is why some manufacturers will baste or smoke their products.
Bully sticks tend to have a stronger flavor, but this often comes with a more noticeable smell. If you are more sensitive to strong odors, you may want to shop for "low odor" bully sticks, which are specifically made with a reduced scent.
Whether your dog prefers the flavor of rawhide or bully sticks will depend on his own unique preferences. Some dogs prefer the milder or added flavor of rawhide, while others may prefer bully sticks. Picky dogs often find bully sticks more appealing due to their strong natural odor and flavor.
When shopping for chews, it’s crucial to find the right size and shape to suit your dog’s unique needs. Luckily, both rawhide and bully sticks come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit any dog.
Both products are meant to be long lasting chews, but for smaller or more sensitive dogs, look for thinner products that can be softened easily.
For a more durable chew, consider a braided product. Rawhide and bully sticks can also be found in a variety of other shapes including rings and twists.
The right choice will depend on your dog’s individual preferences. Some dogs prefer the classic stick shape, while others may enjoy the challenge of a new shape. Just remember to choose a chew size that’s appropriate for your dog’s physical size and chewing abilities.
Both rawhide and bully sticks are meant to be long lasting chews, but the time it will take your dog to consume an entire chew will depend on several factors.
The size and thickness of the product will help you determine how long the product will last. Obviously, larger and thicker chews will last longer, particularly if your dog is a tenacious chewer.
It’s important to note that bigger is not always better and some dogs may not be interested in chewing on items that are too large for them.
Every dog chews at a different rate. Smaller or more sensitive dogs tend to take their time with chews, while larger or more energetic dogs will consume a chew more quickly.
Again, it is important to choose the right size for your dog in order to maximize chewing time.
One of the biggest differences between rawhide and bully sticks is the price. Although the price will depend on the size and shape of the chew, bully sticks tend to be more expensive than rawhide.
As you might assume, larger and thicker bully sticks tend to cost more than smaller ones. Bully sticks formed into shapes or braids will be the most expensive option.
Rawhide is generally less expensive than bully sticks, but rawhide produced in the United States will also cost more than inexpensive products made abroad.
With rawhide, it’s important to prioritize quality, so be prepared to pay a slightly higher price.
The other significant difference between bully sticks and rawhide is digestibility. Bully sticks are highly digestible and few dogs have a problem breaking the product down in their stomach.
Rawhide is not generally digestible, which can put dogs at risk for a number of issues such as digestive upset and intestinal blockages.
Bully sticks are also the more nutritious option since they have a higher protein content. They are also higher in calories than rawhide, so if your dog is on a restricted diet, it’s important to remember to count those calories.
Even though bully sticks are more digestible than rawhide, dogs with sensitive stomachs can still experience digestive upset. Depending on your dog’s tolerance, you may need to stop him halfway through and give the remaining half at a later time.
Rawhide vs Bully Sticks: Which is Safer?
For the average dog, bully sticks and rawhide chews are both relatively safe.
However, it’s always best to supervise your pup any time you give an edible chew, no matter how experienced your dog is. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and it’s best to err on the side of caution.
The main risks with both types of chews are choking and intestinal blockages. Dogs who tend to gulp their food and treats are at the highest risk, but any dog can accidentally swallow a large chunk.
If your dog has been known to swallow large chunks, it’s best to take the chew and dispose of it once it reaches a certain size.
As previously mentioned, blockages are more common with rawhide due to its low digestibility.
Even if your dog accidentally swallows a large piece of bully stick, it’s more easily broken down by the digestive system.
An intestinal blockage is a serious medical issue that can require expensive emergency surgery, so it’s important to do what you can to prevent it.
Winner: Bully Sticks