Discovering that your dog has just swallowed a bully stick can be cause for considerable concern. Read on, to understand the implications and what you should do if your dog swallows a bully stick.
If your dog swallowed bully stick, it may be able to digest it. The swallowed bully stick may just go through the dogs’ digestive tract, and come out on the other end as poop. However, in some cases, when a dog swallows a bully stick, there may be major complications like choking or intestinal blockage.
Much depends on the size of the bully stick that was swallowed.
For instance, in a case where a dog swallowed 6 inch bully stick, the implication may be different from another where a dog swallowed 4 inch bully stick.
The size/age of the dog in question is also a key consideration.
For instance, if a puppy swallowed 6 inch bully stick, the outlook may be dire, given the relatively small width of the puppy’s GI tract.
In fact, even a case where a puppy swallowed 2 inch bully stick would still be cause for concern, given the puppy’s underdeveloped status.
Ultimately though, there is great comfort in the fact that bully sticks are made from beef, a material which dogs’ bodies are able to handle with ease in most cases.
Therefore the probability of a dog that swallows a bully stick ending up with complications is not very high – though caution is still needed.
As such, if my dog just swallowed a bully stick, I would certainly be concerned – but not unduly worried, unless what was swallowed was a very big chunk.
What Are Bully Sticks?
Bully sticks are best described as dog chew treats that are made from bull pizzle beef.
In this context, the term ‘bull pizzle’ simply refers to bull’s private part.
So rather than throw away the pizzles after slaughtering bulls, some meat processors decide to make it into dog chew treats.
That is how we end up with bully sticks.
The bully sticks come in a wide range of sizes: some as small as 4 inches and some as big as 12 inches.
That is just as well, given the fact that the bully sticks are meant for use as dog chew treats – and dogs come in such a wide range of body sizes.
Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs To Swallow?
Bully sticks are basically safe for dogs to swallow, though there are rare cases where dogs that swallow the bully sticks end up with problems.
What makes bully sticks basically safe for dogs to swallow is the fact that they are purely made from beef.
Now beef is one of the meats that dogs’ bodies are able to handle with ease.
As such, when dogs’ swallow bully sticks, they are usually able to digest them well in most cases.
And if you were wondering, do bully sticks dissolve in a dog’s stomach, the answer is ‘yes’. These are properly digestible treats.
However, in cases where dogs swallow pieces of bully sticks that are too large, problems do at times occur.
For instance, the dogs that have swallowed such excessively large bully sticks may end up choking on them.
And when a dog chokes on something, that is an outright emergency – as it can be fatal.
On another note, the dogs that swallow excessively large bully sticks may end up with intestinal obstructions.
So in this case, you find that the dogs are able to get the bully sticks to pass through their throats, meaning there is no choking.
However, the dogs are unable to get the bully sticks to pass through the rest of the alimentary canal: leading to intestinal blockage.
We are thus left with the conclusion that bully sticks are safe for dogs to swallow, as long as the bully sticks being swallowed are small enough for the dogs’ bodies to handle.
By extension, bully sticks are unsafe for dogs to swallow if the bully sticks in question are too large for the dogs’ bodies to handle.
What Happens If A Dog Swallows A Bully Stick?
There are three possibilities if a dog swallows a bully stick.
The first possibility is that of the bully stick just going through the dog’s digestive system without problems. This is really the best case scenario to hope for.
The second possibility is that of the dog choking as it tries to swallow the bully stick.
If the bully stick is too large to pass through the dog’s throat, choking is a possibility. This would be the worst case scenario, as death can occur within minutes if proper help is not available.
The third possibility is that of the bully stick causing intestinal blockage to the dog.
So in the third case, the dog manages to get the bully stick past its throat. But the bully stick proves impossible to push through the rest of the GI canal, leading to blockage.
Intestinal blockage can still be fatal to dogs. The death may not occur in a matter of minutes, as in the case of choking.
But in a few days, a dog with intestinal blockage may have the worst outcome.
Now what exactly happens when a dog swallows a bully stick depends on two things: the size of the swallowed bully stick vis a vis the size of the dog in question.
If a big dog swallows a small bully stick, there may be no problem. But if a small dog swallows too large a bully stick, serious problems may arise.
So, for instance, if a bulldog puppy swallowed bully stick, whether or not there would be problems depends on the bully stick’s size and the puppy’s size.
If the puppy is still small, and the swallowed bully stick is large, this may be rather problematic.
Dog Swallowed Bully Stick Symptoms
The symptoms that manifest after a dog swallows a bully stick depend on whether the swallowing led to choking or to intestinal blockage.
In case the outcome is that of choking, symptoms may include coughing, gagging/retching and mouth pawing.
Other signs that a dog is choking on a bully stick may include excessive salivation and the dog seeming to rub its face against the ground.
A dog that is choking also seems to be highly distressed.
Therefore if my dog just ate a bully stick some moments ago, and it displays such signs, I would tend to worry about the choking possibility.
On the other hand, in case the outcome of the dog swallowing a bully stick was that of intestinal blockage, the symptoms may include vomiting, loss of appetite and straining to poop.
Such a dog may eventually become lethargic as well.
Dog Swallowed Bully Stick What To Do
Having understood the likely outcomes of a dog swallowing a bully stick, our focus now turns to what to do if your dog swallows a bully stick.
Now what you need to do, in case your dog swallows a bully stick, depends on the symptoms (if any) that the dog manifests.
For instance, if the dog seems to be choking on the bully stick, what you may need to perform is the Heimlich maneuver.
This entails applying pressure just beneath the dog’s rib cage, using a thrusting motion. All the while, you need to take precautions against being bitten by the distressed dog.
Once the immediate emergency is dealt with, it is important to consult a vet for further help.
On the other hand, if the outcome of the dog swallowing the bully stick seems to be that of intestinal blockage, you may just need to take the dog to the vet as soon as you can.
What if there seems to be no symptoms as a result of the dog having swallowed a bully stick? In this case, it may be that the dog’s body was able to handle the bully stick with no problems.
So you may just need to keep a watchful eye on the dog. Here, you should have some awareness of how long does it take a dog to pass a bully stick?
That turns out to be anything between 10 and 24 hours. In the end, if the dog is alright after 24-48 hours, with no signs of intestinal blockage, you may indeed be out of the woods.
Dog Swallowed Bully Stick Treatment
In case your dog swallowed a bully stick, the necessary treatment depends on the resultant complication.
If the dog is able to pass the bully stick through its system with no complications, no treatment will be necessary.
But in case swallowing the bully stick leads to choking, the necessary treatment may be in the form of a Heimlich procedure, which needs to be performed very urgently.
If the result of the dog swallowing the bully stick is that of intestinal blockage, the necessary treatment may be in the form of surgery.
How To Keep Your Dog From Swallowing A Bully Stick?
Having understood the implications of a dog swallowing a bully stick, one is likely to be left with a desire to know what they can do to keep it from happening in the first place.
So the pertinent question here would be, how do I get my dog to stop swallowing bully stick?
And one of the best things you can do in that regard is to ensure that you always use a bully stick holder while giving your dog these sorts of treats.
So that is the key thing to do, when it comes to the issue of how to safely give your dog a bully stick: always use a bully stick holder.
You also need to ensure that the dog doesn’t chew on the bully stick for too long.
So you should know when you need to take a bully stick away from your dog. In this regard, it helps to ensure that the dog only chews on the bully stick for 5-10 minutes.
In case your dog swallowed a bully stick, the bully stick may just go through the dog’s digestive system with no complications.
However, a dog that swallows a bully stick may also choke or develop intestinal obstruction as a result.
What actually happens mostly depends on the size of the swallowed bully stick relative to the dog’s size.
In case swallowing the bully stick causes choking, the necessary first aid may be in the form of the Heimlich procedure.
And if swallowing the bully stick happens to have caused intestinal blockage, what is needed is urgent veterinary treatment: which in some cases may even be in the form of surgery.
You can keep your dog from swallowing bully sticks by ensuring that you consistently use a bully stick holder while providing these treats.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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