Can Bully Sticks Cause Diarrhea? 7 Fascinating Facts

One of the most frequently asked questions about bully sticks is on whether or not they can cause diarrhea in dogs. This article has the answer.

Can bully sticks cause diarrhea? Yes, in a few cases, bully sticks may cause dogs to have diarrhea. This is on account of their high protein content, which some dogs may be unable to handle. Improper preparation of the bully sticks can lead to formation of bacteria that can cause dog diarrhea in some cases too.

Diarrhea is a condition where dogs pass runny stool. Therefore for many people, the primary concern tends to be, could bully sticks cause runny poop?

And there is indeed a possibility of the bully sticks causing some dogs to have such runny stools.

The important thing to note, right from this early stage, is that not all dogs which are given bully sticks end up with diarrhea.

Can bully sticks cause diarrhea
can bully sticks cause diarrhea?

As a matter of fact, incidents of dogs having diarrhea as a result of having chewed on bully sticks tend to be few and far apart.

Most of the dogs that get to chew on bully sticks don’t experience diarrhea.

This means that if you are giving your dog bully sticks, the greater probability is that the dog will be just fine: with no diarrhea.

However, there is also still the slight possibility of the dog ending up with diarrhea, especially if it is the first time he is chewing on the bully sticks.


What Are Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are special chew treats for dogs that are made from a single ingredient, namely beef muscle.

The beef that is used to make bully sticks specifically comes from bull pizzles (or, to put it more bluntly, from bull penises).

So when bulls are slaughtered, the puzzles are cut, dried and shaped in a manner that makes them appropriate chew treats for dogs.

Unlike most other dog treats that have multiple ingredients, bully sticks are truly single-ingredient treats.

Therefore they are chew treats that besides giving dogs fun and removing plaque/tartar from the teeth, also provide some helpful nutrients.


What Are Bully Sticks Made From?

In order to be able to answer our core questions on whether or not bully sticks can cause diarrhea in dogs, we need to know exactly what the bully sticks in question are made from.

Now as it turns out, what bully sticks are made out of is beef. This is specifically beef muscle, which is obtained from bull pizzles.

Less refined people will tell you that bull pizzles are actually the penises on bulls.

So such pizzles undergo dehydration, resulting in the moderately tough-textured, delicious and nutritious dog treats known as bully sticks.


Can Bully Sticks Make Dogs Sick?

Before venturing to find out whether or not bully sticks can cause diarrhea in dogs, we first need to know whether, generally, the bully sticks can make dogs sick.

So, as a dog owner would typically ask, can bully sticks make my dog sick? Or in more general terms, can dogs get sick from eating bully sticks?

The answer is yes. There are a number of ways in which bully sticks can potentially make a dog sick.

To be sure, incidents of dogs becoming sick as a result of chewing on bully sticks are rare. That is why the bully sticks continue to feature among the most popular dog chew treats.

If it was common for the bully sticks to make dogs sick, surely they wouldn’t be so popular – would they?

So one of the ways in which bully sticks can rarely make dogs sick is by inducing diarrhea. There are a few cases where dogs end up with diarrhea as a result of chewing on bully sticks.

So that is definitely one of the possible – but rare – bully sticks side effects.

On another note, the bully sticks can cause stomach upsets in dogs, with additional symptoms besides diarrhea.


On The Possibility Of Bully Sticks Causing Intestinal Blockage In Dogs

At this point, one may be inclined to ask, can bully sticks cause intestinal blockage?

Indeed, that concern, about bully stick blockage in dogs, is quite common among pet parents.

Now the true position is that the bully sticks are fully digestible: which means that chances of them causing intestinal blockage are rather low.

Nonetheless, there can be incidents where dogs swallow whole or overly large pieces of bully sticks.

In such cases, there may be intestinal blockage, with the whole array of bully stick blockage symptoms. But as mentioned, that tends to be rather rare.

Once you have a proper understanding of how to safely give your dog a bully stick, you can almost fully avoid the intestinal blockage hazard.


Can Bully Sticks Cause Diarrhea?

Having established that, at a general level, there is the remote possibility of bully sticks making dogs sick, we can now turn our attention to diarrhea specifically.

So, indeed, can bully sticks cause diarrhea in dogs? The answer is ‘yes’ – though we quickly add that cases of bully sticks actually causing diarrhea in dogs tend to be quite rare.

Nonetheless, there are a few incidents where we do hear of dogs suffering from diarrhea as a direct consequence of chewing on bully sticks.

So this means that bully sticks can indeed cause diarrhea in dogs.

Therefore while giving your dog bully sticks, you need to know that there is a possibility of the dog getting diarrhea: especially if it is the first time you are doing so.

The probability of a dog getting diarrhea from bully stick chewing is admittedly low. But it is definitely still there.


How Can Bully Sticks Give Dogs Diarrhea?

Having asserted that bully sticks are capable of giving dogs diarrhea, the next logical question is on how exactly these chew sticks do so.

So the concern here is to understand the exact mechanism(s) via which bully sticks can give diarrhea to dogs.

Now one way in which bully sticks can give diarrhea to dogs is when the dogs’ digestive systems are unable to handle the high protein content present in the bully sticks.

Dogs that are exposed to food items with higher protein contents than their bodies can handle often end up with diarrhea.

That can happen as a result of (some) dogs chewing on bully sticks.

Another way in which bully sticks can cause diarrhea in dogs is when they happen to have bacteria in them.

If the bully sticks were not properly handled in the factory or during serving, they may have bacteria in them.

When this bacteria finds its way into the dogs’ alimentary canal, there may be diarrhea.

At this point, a dog owner may ask, why do bully sticks turn white? Is it a sign of bacteria in them?

And the answer is, thankfully, that the bully sticks turning white is not a sign of bacteria infestation.

The true position is that when the bully sticks mix with dog saliva, they do turn white. But that has nothing to do with the presence of bacteria.

What may be a sign of bacteria in the bully sticks is a rancid smell (which is different from the bully sticks’ natural odor).


Can Bully Sticks Cause Bloody Diarrhea?

There are a few incidents where pet parents who give their dogs bully sticks report that their dogs ended up with bloody diarrhea.

So this means that it is actually possible – though rare – for dogs to end up with bloody diarrhea due to chewing on bully sticks.

If you find the bully sticks giving dogs diarrhea, it may be due to the dogs’ bodies being unable to handle the high protein content in the bully sticks.

There is also the possibility of bacteria that happened to be present in the bully sticks causing dogs to have diarrhea.


Can Bully Sticks Cause Diarrhea In Puppies?

Bully sticks can in some few cases cause diarrhea in puppies.

Therefore if you are giving your puppy bully sticks, especially for the first time, you need to beware that diarrhea may occur.

The puppy’s body may be unable to know what to do with the high protein level in the bully sticks, leading to diarrhea.

Alternatively, the bully sticks may have bacteria in them, causing diarrhea in puppies that chew on them.


How To Prevent Bully Sticks-Related Diarrhea In Dogs?

There are a number of things you can do, to prevent bully sticks-related diarrhea in dogs.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you serve the bully sticks to dogs under hygienic conditions.

That way, you avoid bacteria infestation, which can ultimately cause diarrhea.

Secondly, you need to introduce the dog to bully sticks gradually: all the while observing how the dog’s body reacts to the bully sticks.

If the dog’s body can’t handle the bully sticks’ protein level, consider another chew treat.

Thirdly, ensure that you don’t give your dog too much bully sticks.

It is also important to ensure that you aren’t giving the dog bully sticks too frequently.

Here, one may ask, Is it OK to give my dog a bully stick every day? And the answer is that it is not advisable.

The best approach is to only give the dog a bully stick twice or thrice a week, rather than daily.

Giving a dog a bully stick daily may not cause diarrhea, but it can induce other problems, given the bully sticks’ nutritional composition.


Final Verdict

It is possible, though rare, for bully sticks to cause diarrhea in dogs.

Bully sticks are made from bull pizzle, which is high protein beef.

Some dogs are unable to properly handle the high protein level in the bully sticks, which can potentially be a cause for diarrhea.

On another note, bully sticks may have bacteria in them: due to contamination either at the factory processing stage or during serving time.

Such bacteria in bully sticks can cause dogs that chew on the sticks to have diarrhea.

All in all, cases of dogs having diarrhea due to bully sticks chewing are not very common.

Most dogs that chew on bully sticks end up being just fine, with no diarrhea or any other health-related complaints.

Post Disclaimer


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, food recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for pet food related questions.

Leave a Comment