The Natural Dog Company's Partnership with Elm

What makes Elm bully sticks different? 

- Odor free bully sticks have little to no odor while being chewed by the dog.

- How is it odor free? 

** We are able to produce odor-free bully sticks because of the level of care and labor that goes into manufacturing our treats.

** Cheap way of making bully sticks: after the cattle is slaughtered, various body parts (including the pizzle) are set aside while it festers til workers come to collect them to make dog treats. The bully sticks are collected and then sun dried on steel corrugated roof tops. This is the cheapest way to make bully sticks. This process does nothing to remove odor - much of which is caused by the blood and urine present within the pizzle. These will be most of the bargain bully sticks that you see in Costco or WalMart.

** Our way of making 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 Brazil, 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 then baked - since it’s hanging vertically the remaining odor can drain throughout the cooking process.

- The Odor Free Bully Sticks are NOT treated with irradiation.

- The 6" and 12" bully sticks in the 8 oz bags (skinny and standard thickness) are sourced from USA cattle.

- The bulk bully sticks and full length canes, and the thick 6" and 12" bully sticks in the 8 oz bag are sourced from Brazil.

- What's the difference between bully sticks sourced from USA cattle and Brazilian cattle?
******Three major things: 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. Meat from grassfed cattle have a more appropriate omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio, whereas meat from grainfed cattle tend to be much higher in omega 6 fatty acids (which are inflammatory when consumed in excess.)

** In the USA, cattle are slaughtered at under 36 months of age, they are castrated early so they don’t have the hormones to develop the way that an intact bull can develop.  They are also grain fed. 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 little more greasy than a bully stick from a grass fed bull. Steer sticks are about 11% fat, whereas a bully stick from grassfed cattle is 0.5% fat - so there’s a significant difference! Bully sticks from steer will also be skinnier and “wrinkly” compared to a bully stick from an intact bull, which will be much thicker and durable.

** The skinny/standard 6" or 12" bully sticks in the 8 oz bag (made in USA) should be recommended for smaller dogs under 30 lbs (because they won't be as durable as the thick or jumbo bully sticks), or for dogs who are a little pickier (due to the higher fat content, the USA bully sticks seem to be much more palatable to dogs compared to the low fat Brazil bully sticks).

 What type of Quality Control goes into these products?

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. We do 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 (E. coli, salmonella, Listeria) present on any of the treats.

Has The Natural Dog Company ever had a recall?

Yes, we’ve had one voluntary recall back in July 2015. A batch of our 12” tremenda sticks were found to be contaminated with salmonella.

After that happened, we’ve implemented some stricter biosecurity protocol which will help prevent it from happening again. Our warehouse now completely complies with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Most importantly, 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 (E. coli, salmonella, clostridium, etc) present on any of the treats.

We set up a station at the entry of our warehouse where every employee must sanitize their hands and step across a dry foot bath disinfectant. Every employee in the warehouse wears a clean apron and changes to a fresh pair of gloves every time they leave their work station or open up a different batch of product. Every work station has a bottle of bleach as well as a can of Lysol to wipe down their area after working with each batch of product. Since we’ve implemented these safety measures we have not had any issues with our product being contaminated with harmful pathogens.

What type of customers should I recommend bully sticks to?

- Everyone with a dog! Seriously. All dogs love to chew, especially when you give them a tasty natural chew made of 100% beef.

- For dogs with destructive tendencies, instead of dousing everything in Bitter Apply Spray (which will NOT take away your dog's desire to chew, they will just find something new to chew), redirect your dog and give them something appropriate to chew! They will feel satisfied after working on a bully stick and will be MUCH less likely to chew up your favorite pair of shoes.

- ALL PUPPIES. Every puppy goes through a teething stage. Instead of allowing your puppy to develop a destructive habit, be proactive and give your puppy a wide assortment of appropriate things to chew (a bully stick, a stuffed Kong, etc) and as they grow up, they will never feel compelled to chew your things. 

- Odor free bully sticks: pick a thickness appropriate for the size of dog (6" bully sticks are best for dog 30 lbs and below, 12" jumbo bully sticks are best for dogs 50 lbs and above, full length canes are great for giant breed dogs or for those owners who will let their dog chew a little at a time and then store the rest for another day).

- The odor free bully sticks sourced from Brazil are very low in fat (less than 1% fat) and are great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

- The 6" standard odor free bully sticks are the perfect first chew for a puppy!

- The thicker Brazil sourced bully sticks are good for dogs who are powerful chewers.

- The thinner USA bully sticks are good for pickier dogs (due to the higher fat content) or for dogs that don't need an extremely durable chew (such as smaller or older dog)

- Are your customers concerned about the potential choking hazard of bully sticks for their overly enthusiastic dog? Show them a Westpaw Qwizl or some other similar toy that prevents the dog from swallowing the last few inches!

The Braided Gullet Sticks (available in 6" and 12" lengths) are a great recommendation for...

- Picky dogs. Any gullet chew has a bit of odor that dogs go absolutely crazy for! If a dog could tell you which chew was their favorite, we think that they'd pick gullets over and over again.

- Older dogs or dogs with dental problems. Gullets are a softer chew compared to bully sticks, so these treats are good for customers who are concerned about buying a chew that may be too hard for their dog's teeth.

- Budget concious customers. Bully sticks can be pricey, but braided gullets are a less expensive way to spoil your dog and give them a chew that they will love.