Consumer Alert: Bully Sticks High in Calories, May Contain Contaminants

If you feed your dog bully sticks, make sure you keep track of
the daily caloric intake to avoid weight gain.

photo courtesy Veterinary Practice News

Many dog owners offer “bully stick” snacks to their pets because they are “all natural,” and they are easy to digest. However, a recent study at Tufts University suggests that there some things to be concerned about. First of all, bully sticks are very high in calories, up to 88 calories in a single 6-inch stick. This is 30 percent of the daily requirements for a 10-pound dog and 9 percent for a 50-pound dog. According to Lisa M. Freeman, a professor of veterinary nutrition at Tufts:

With obesity in pets on the rise, it is important for pet owners to factor in not only their dog’s food, but also treats and table food.

Perhaps more troubling is that, in their admittedly small study, the researchers found bacterial contaminants. Of the 26 sticks from the U.S. and Canada in the study, “One stick contained Clostridium difficile; one had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a staph bacterium resistant to certain antibiotics; and seven had Escherichia coli, including one tetracycline-resistant sample.”

The report does not offer any evidence that bully sticks are infecting dogs or people, but, at the very least, dog owners should make sure to wash their hands after handling bully sticks.

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