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5 Common Bully Sticks Side Effects In Dogs And How To Treat Them!

Although bully sticks are a very popular dog treat with the majority of dogs all over the globe being able to eat them without issue, there are a number of bully sticks side effects that we feel dog owners should be aware of.

For the most part, we do feel that high-quality bully sticks are a great treat option for dogs but there are a large number of vendors who will sell low-quality bully sticks.

Some dogs will always have issues with the potential side effects of bully sticks no matter the quality of the treat though but sometimes, simply switching from a low-quality bully stick to a high-quality bully stick will be enough to prevent any side effects.

The annoying thing is that the high-quality bully sticks are often the same price or even cheaper than the low-quality bully sticks too!

If you do observe any of the listest bully stick side effects in your dog then we would highly recommend that you book a short video call with a vet.

Although the majority of the side effects are not serious, it is always better to be safe than sorry and the side effect to your dog eating a bully stick may be just a symptom of a more serious health issue so it is worth having it checked out if possible.

Video calls with vets tend to be much cheaper than taking your dog to your local vet and you can book the call in quickly to be speaking to the vet within minutes too.

Are Bully Sticks Bad For Dogs?

For the most part, bully sticks are not bad for dogs and usually make a great treat option for many dogs with a huge number of dog owners all around the world choosing bully sticks as their go-to treat for their pet.

The issue with bully sticks being bad for dogs is usually down to allergies, the dog eating the bully stick too quickly, and giving your dog low-quality bully stick products.

Due to the average dog owner in the USA spending almost $1500 per year on their pet, it is easy to see why so many companies are trying to get into the dog market.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in a flood of low-quality dog treats working their way into the market and one of the most common causes of side effects from bully sticks is low-quality meat or cheap productions.

Although switching over to some high-quality bully sticks will not prevent any issues to allergies or your dog eating the bully stick too quickly, it can prevent a number of issues due to other brands using cheap meat in their treats.

Some bully sticks now come with flavoring too that can increase the chance of your dog having a side effect due to allergies too so sticking with regular bully sticks can help to avoid that too.

“My Bully Stick 22/365 #photo365 #thoroughlymemphismillie” by pgcummings is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Can Dogs Be Allergic To Bully Sticks?

Around one-third of all dogs are allergic to beef proteins and with the regular bully sticks being made from beef muscle, this means that around a third of dogs will naturally have allergies to bully sticks.

This is the main reason that so many dogs suffer from side effects to bully sticks and any other dog food or treat that contains beef.

This is why bully stick manufacturers also offer products made from other animals such as duck based treats allowing your dog to enjoy delicious treats without their allergies to beef protein flaring up.

If your dog is suffering from bully stick side effects due to beef protein allergies then switching over to duck based treats can be an easy win.

As we will cover later in our article though, this is not the only cause of some of these side effects and although the odds are high that this is why your dog is having problems with bully sticks, there are some additional common reasons.

Thankfully though, many of them are easy to fix meaning that your dog can often still enjoy a bully stick if you take the correct steps first.

Can Bully Sticks Make Dogs Sick?

Bully sticks making a dog stick is usually a symptom of an underlying problem with the dog such as allergies to beef protein or eating the bully stick too quickly.

Unfortunately, low-quality bully sticks have flooded the market recently and their cheaper meat can also be a potential cause too.

As we touched on earlier in the article, a surprisingly high number of people do choose to offer their dogs flavored bully sticks and we feel that this is a mistake.

Although some dogs will be fine with the flavored options, it just increases the risks to allergies and high-quality bully sticks taste amazing to most dogs so there is no point in using the other options that may make your dog sick.

We have also seen an increase in the number of people who have chosen to try and make their own, homemade bully stick treats for their dogs.

Now, these can be an excellent option if you have the resources and tools available to make them but for most people, it is too much of a hassle and drying the meat correctly in a short period of time can be difficult.

The longer it takes to dry the meat in the treat, the larger the chance of it making your dog sick and commercial bully sticks are usually cheap enough to just use a commercial product these days anyway.

What Is A Bully Stick Blockage?

A bully stick blockage is the most common bully stick side effect that dogs suffer from that is not related to allergies to beef protein.

It occurs when a dog swallows a whole bully stick and that bully stick then becomes lodges at some part of your dog’s digestive system creating a blockage.

It does tend to be easy to avoid a bully stick blockage in most dogs by simply giving your dog smaller sections of the bully stick rather than the full stick.

We have a dedicated article online doing over what do to if your dog swallows a bully stick and how to prevent a blockage that may be worth reading through.

If you do notice that your dog has swallowed its whole bully stick then seeking advice from a vet as quickly as possible is highly recommended.

Although a dog swallowing a bully stick is not as serious as some people think, there is still a risk and in rare cases, your dog may require surgery.

Can Bully Sticks Cause Diarrhea In Dogs?

It is common for bully sticks to cause diarrhea in dogs due to around a third of dogs naturally having allergies to beef protein and bully sticks being made from pure beef muscle.

If your dog does have allergies to beef protein and suffers diarrhea after eating the treat, switching over to a non-beef dog treat is usually the best option.

As we mentioned earlier, most brands who produce bully sticks do have alternative protein sources available now such as duck based treats that will avoid the issue with beef allergies and prevent the diarrhea.

Another option is to switch over to something like Stewart freeze dried dog treats with their chicken, turkey, salmon, pork, lamb, duck, and cheese options being perfect for dogs with beef allergies.

This quick and simple change will be able to help you prevent your dog suffering from diarrhea due to eating a bully stick.

Unfortunately, if your dog does have allergies to beef protein then there is nothing you are able to do to treat the condition either so switching to a none beef treat is the best option.

Can Bully Sticks Cause Vomiting In Dogs?

Bully sticks can cause vomiting if your dog has allergies to beef protein or if it eats the bully stick too quickly causing your dog’s stomach to have to purge itself via vomiting.

Switching to a non-beef treat or offering your dog smaller amounts of the bully stick will usually be able to prevent the issue.

If you think that your dog is vomiting due to eating bully sticks then we would usually recommend that you just move away from giving your dog bully sticks altogether.

Dried pigs ears are one of the better bully stick alternatives that will keep your dog chewing for a large amount of time but have no beef protein in them helping to prevent vomiting.

We actually have a dedicated article going over the best bully stick alternatives on the market that may be worth reading.

If you think that your dog is vomiting after eating a bully stick due to it eating too much of the bully stick too quickly then switching over to Stewart freeze dried dog treats is probably a better option.

Not only do dogs find them delicious but the treats are much smaller than a bully stick while also being very easy to break up into smaller pieces with your hands if needed too.

Can Bully Sticks Cause Upset Stomachs In Dogs?

Bully sticks can cause an upset stomach in your dog if your dog is allergic to beef protein and this in usually unavoidable due to bully sticks being made from pure beef muscle so switching to another treat will be the only way to prevent the upset stomach.

Symptoms from an upset stomach in a dog due to bully sticks include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive gas.

If you do notice these symptoms in your dog then switching to any of the other treat options that we have spoken about in the article may be able to prevent the issue.

If your dog is usually fine with bully sticks but has suddenly started to have issues with an upset stomach then this could be due to three common reasons.

The first is that you have switched your bully stick brands and the new brand is using cheaper cuts of meat so switching back to some high-quality bully sticks can be an easy fix.

The second is that you have started to use a flavoured bully stick so switching back to a non-flavoured option should fix the issue.

The third is that your dog may be developing a health issue due to old age and if you suspect this may be the case we would recommend you seek professional advice form a vet as soon as possible.

Dog Panting After Eating A Bully Stick!

There are a number of reasons that your dog may pant frantically after eating a bully stick. The most common reasons is due to dehydration and “bully stick madness”.

The dehydration is due to bully sticks being dry and requiring a large amount of saliva to break down meaning smaller dogs can get dehydrated quickly.

Bully stick madness is due to dogs being so excited that they are getting a bully stick that they will excessively pant.

Provided that your dog has easy access to water to deal with the dehydration, neither of these are particularly serious but can be a little surprising to see for the first time.

Although bully stick madness is usually a good sign due to your dog enjoy its bully stick, it can also result in your dog not taking a break from its bully stick to eat normal food too.

This should be monitored if possible but it is usually not an issue or a serious bully stick side effect that should cause worry.

If you have multiple dogs then bully stick madness may cause dogs who are normally fine with each other to temporarily display signs of aggression over their food too.


That brings our article going over the more common bully sticks side effects to an end. As we have mentioned multiple times within the article, the majority of bully stick side effects are usually due to your dog having an undiagnosed allergy to beef protein. This means that the same problems can occur with any beef flavoured dog treat and it is usually unavoidable so switching over to a new dog treat is usually the best option available.