Everything you Ever Wanted To Know About Bully Sticks
NOT ALL BULLY STICKS ARE CREATED EQUAL
What makes our bully sticks stand out from the competition? Aren’t all bully sticks pretty much the same?
The answer is an emphatic “NO”.
Our bully sticks are:
- Odor Free
- Never treated with any chemicals, preservatives, or additives
- Lab tested and guaranteed clean
- Hand sorted for consistency and quality control
- Not readily available through Big Box stores or online
- A great price point - we work directly with independent pet stores, rather than going through distribution
How do we make odor free bully sticks?
Many pet store customers are familiar with bully sticks - how many times have you heard one of your customers say that their “dog loves them, but they smell really bad?”
Enter the Odor Free bully stick - a long lasting chew that dogs love, and pet owners won’t find offensive! We are able to produce odor-free bully sticks because of the level of care and labor that goes into manufacturing our treats.
What’s the cheapest way to manufacture bully sticks? After the cattle is slaughtered, various body parts (including the pizzle) are set aside to fester, until workers come to collect them to make dog treats. The bully sticks are laid horizontally and sun dried on steel corrugated roof tops which essentially locks in the odor. This is the cheapest way to make bully sticks, as it requires minimal labor and equipment. This process does nothing to remove odor - much of which is caused by the blood and urine present within the pizzle.
What’s our method of manufacturing odor free bully sticks?
Immediately after slaughter, the pizzles are collected and stored in a refrigerated truck, until it makes its way to the processing plant. From here, the pizzles are stored in a freezer until they’re ready to process. Refrigeration is very expensive in many parts of the world, so not all manufacturers of bully sticks are willing to spend the additional money to include that step in their manufacturing process.
Each pizzle is washed thoroughly in a hot water rinse - both blood and urine are water soluble so this step will remove most of the odor. The bully stick is then hung vertically and baked - the remaining odor can drain throughout the slow cooking process.
All of our products are sent through a metal detector.
Why would we do that? Did you know that manufacturers of bully sticks typically use metal hooks to hang their bully sticks from the ceiling during the cooking process? If you purchase bully sticks from a distributor who doesn’t use metal detection, there is a chance that one of your customers may find a piece of metal embedded in one of the bully sticks they purchase from you!
Our metal detector is extremely sensitive and will alert us if trace amounts of metal are found in any of the treats we produce. We can then pull the lot off of the production line, which is thoroughly examined and discarded.
Is there any risk of bacterial contamination?
According to THIS study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, some of the bully sticks on the market are contaminated with bacteria that may be harmful to people and pets.
It’s of utmost importance to us to ensure that the dog treats and chews we offer are clean and safe for pets to eat and people to handle. We test every single batch of treats that ends up at our warehouse using a third party laboratory to ensure that there are no common pathogens (specifically, E. coli and salmonella) present on any of the treats.
- If you purchase bully sticks from us in a sealed bag, it’s guaranteed to be clean. Customers who are concerned with potential bacterial contamination should only buy treats in sealed bags, rather than picking treats out of a bulk bin (since there’s no way to tell who or what has touched it).
- If you do choose to take a bully stick from a dog before they’ve finished it, either throw it away or store it in a bag in the freezer. After a dog chews on a bully stick, the tip will be warm, moist, and protein-rich, which is an ideal environment for bacteria to breed.
- Always wash your hands after handling any dog chew made from a body part.
Are any chemicals used at any point in the manufacturing process?
There are NO chemicals, additives, or preservatives used at any point in the manufacturing process. We don’t have to use preservatives because there’s so little moisture in the product that there’s very little risk of mold development or bacterial growth.
Figure 1A: a comparison of a bully stick made in the USA from grain-finished steer, compared to a bully stick made in Brazil from a grass-finished bull.
Why are most bully sticks made in South America, rather than the USA?
We prefer bully sticks made in South America, because we believe that the product is of better quality and healthier than similar products manufactured in the USA.
There are three major things that affect the size and quality of a bully stick: diet, hormones, and age of slaughter.
>> In Brazil, cattle are slaughtered at 40 months of age, they are left intact longer, and they are grass fed, which is a natural diet for cattle. About 96% of beef raised in Brazil are grass finished, which means that they spend their entire life grazing on pasture. According to a study published by the Nutrition Journal, grass finished cattle has a higher antioxidant content, as well as a more favorable omega-3 fatty acid profile, compared to grain fed cattle.
>> In the USA, cattle are slaughtered at around 12-24 months of age, and they are castrated early so they don’t have the hormones to develop the way that an intact bull can develop. Approximately 95% of USA cattle are grain finished, which means that they start their life grazing on pasture, but are moved to feedlot operation at around 6 months of age.
When a cow is fed primarily corn, rather than grass, they have a lot more fat deposited in their tissue. This means that a bully stick from a grain fed steer will be a lot more greasy than a bully stick from a grass fed bull. Steer sticks are about 11% fat, whereas a bully stick from grass fed cattle is 0.5% fat - so there’s a significant difference! Bully sticks from steer will also be a lot skinnier, “wrinkly”, and with a crunchy texture, compared to a bully stick from an intact bull, which will be much thicker and overall much more appealing to consumers (see Figure 1A).
Why don’t we sell bully sticks made from grass finished USA cattle?
Grass finished beef makes up a very small percentage of all of the beef produced in the USA. There are suppliers who are producing USA sourced grass fed bully sticks, but because of the limited supply, the price point is much higher, almost double that of bully sticks sourced from that reason. Since most end-consumers aren’t willing to pay $15+ for a single 12” bully stick, we’ve made the decision to not carry bully sticks sourced from USA grass finished cattle.