All About Braided Bully Sticks

What is the difference between a braided bully stick and a straight bully stick?

Braided bully sticks are made of 3 strips of pizzle that have been cut lengthwise, tightly braided together and then baked at a low temperature. This is a more durable chew than the typical straight bully stick, so if you have a large, powerful dog that decimates regular bully sticks, you may want to try a thick braided bully stick instead.

It’s important to note that a 12” braided bully stick will be heavier and denser than a 12” straight bully stick. This means that a braided bully stick will have more calories than a straight bully stick of the same length.

Braided bully stick closeup

What’s this line/string/tie that is wrapped around my braided bully stick?

Braided bully sticks need to be tightly bound together prior to the cooking process - otherwise, it’ll fall apart as the pizzle cooks and slowly shrinks in size. We needed to figure out a way to hold the shape of the braided bully sticks.

Those strands wrapped around the braid are made of 100% beef intestine that have been cleaned and twisted around so tightly it forms into a tough "string". If the beef intestine strand isn’t tightly wound up this way, it would disintegrate during the cooking process and the braided bully stick would unravel.

Is it digestible?

We tested this out at The Natural Dog Company office. We dropped a braided bully stick in a cup of water, and sure enough, within 24 hours, the "string" started to break down into a fibrous texture and could be shredded easily with a fingernail. It is fully digestible and isn’t any more of a choking hazard than the rest of the chew. 

Historically, humans used to make sutures and violin strings out of catgut (beef intestine), because it’s a tough and strong material. The reason why we use this tightly wound beef intestine to hold the braids together in the cooking process is because it’s sturdy enough to withstand the cooking process. At first glance, this strand looks like plastic, but it is not. It is a completely natural animal by-product. 

Will it injure my dog’s gums/mouth?

Importantly, a dog with dental disease or gingivitis should be examined by a veterinarian prior to offering any type of hard chew. Around 80% of dogs over the age of three have some stage of periodontal disease, so this is a necessary part of your pet’s annual health exam.

Giving your dogs appropriate things to chew on a daily basis will aid in dental health. If your dog is used to vigorously chewing, whether it’s bones, stuffed frozen Kongs, hardened yak cheese, or anything similar, there shouldn’t be any issues with offering a braided bully stick to chew. As usual, observe your dog while they are chewing on any treat. It’s normal for some dogs may bleed *slightly* at the gumline due to enthusiastic chewing. If your dog starts bleeding significantly more than usual, you should take the chew away.

If you are offering the braided bully stick to a very young puppy, you may want to use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut the strands off of the braided bully stick. A young puppy’s mouth is much more delicate than an adult dog’s mouth.