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      News — bully sticks

      6 Bully Stick Holders Your Dog Will Want To Try

      6 Bully Stick Holders Your Dog Will Want To Try

      Dogs may love bully sticks, but we humans often worry about what might happen when they chew it down to its tiny end. While they may eventually be digested, they also might never reach the stomach; it's possible they can become lodged in a dog's throat, which could certainly result in choking. Scary stuff! Another issue: Bully sticks aren't cheap, and they can be chewed down to nothing very quickly. 

      Inventors around the world are working at developing product that can reduce the likelihood of choking, and make bully sticks last longer. The result is the birth of a new pet toy category: bully stick holders. Here are some of the ones we've tried with our students:

      The Animaswizzler


      Pros: Dogs really enjoy the mix of a toy that is both bouncy (thanks to its rubbery ends) and tasty. While the bully stick is enclosed in plastic, enough of it is exposed for satisfying chew-ability. 

      Cons: Not great for heavy chewers, who tend to be able to crack the entire thing open, sooner or later. Sometimes, especially clever dogs are able to push or pull the bully stick out of it from the end. 

      Cost: $24

      The Bonehead

      Pros: A nice, simple design that holds a bully stick in place with a screw that clamps down on it, making it pretty hard to get at. 

      Cons: It is really designed for use with a Himalayan chew. To use it with a bully stick, you need the thickest one you can find. Some people dislike the fact that you need to have a screwdriver on hand to put it it to use; after repeated use, we've found the top of the screw tends to degrade.

      Cost: $11

      The Qwizl

      qwizl bully stick holder west paw

      Pros: Made by the Montana-based company Westpaw, the Qwizl slips over the bully stick like a thick rubber sleeve. It is recyclable, latex-free, BPA-and-phthalate-free, FDA compliant, and comes with a lifetime guaranty. 

      Cons: Most of the bully stick is covered by the toy, which means much of it will simply never get chewed, which is a bit of a waste. Also, unless you have a bully stick that is precisely the right size, it can be hard to get it into the hole; many bully sticks are simply to thick to use. 

      Cost: $16 (small), $20 (large)

      The Animatwist

      animatwistanimatwist holder

      Pros: Quite challenging for a dog to excavate the bully stick as it is only partially exposed, in the middle. The toy is also very versatile as it can also be used with a Himalayan chew, or the bottom and top pieces can be removed from the middle part and then put back together to form a little treat-dispensing ball. 

      Cons: It was really designed for use with a Himalayan chew; for use with most  bully sticks, you need to use one (or more) extenders.

      Cost: $37 (including one extender) 

      The Everchew

      everchew bullystick holder

      Pros: The Everchew has a particularly clever design in that it has a pin that goes through a bully stick in order to hold it in place at its base. This makes it pretty much impossible for a dog to dislodge the end. Learn more about the Everchew in this School For The Dogs Podcast interview with its inventor, Kirby Kendall.

      Cons: Unfortunately, The Everchew is not yet available for sale, but you can follow the Everchew folks on Facebook to get production updates. It also can only be used with thick bully sticks that have a small hole drilled into them. Kendall intends to sell these along with the bully sticks, but it isn't difficult to drill a hole yourself if you have a drill and a small drill bit. 

      Cost: $19

      The Bully Buddy

       bully stick holder


      Pros: Screws tightly onto the bottom of bully sticks of all lengths and widths; leaves most of the bully stick exposed. 

      Cons: This is the only product in this list that we haven't tested ourselves yet but we've heard reports of some dogs managing to pull out the stick. 

      Cost: $25



      Bully sticks: What The Heck Are They? Glad You Asked...

      Bully sticks: What The Heck Are They? Glad You Asked...

      Recently, a friend texted me that he'd just learned his dog had a penis... In her mouth. Let me explain. Adam is a new dog owner, and I'd recently recommended that he buy a bully stick for Clover to chew on. Someone -- not me! -- then clued him into what a bully stick is. "She loves them!" he said to me. "But did you know each one is a little cow penis?" It is indeed. Yes, Adam, your dog loves dick. But who doesn't! If there is one thing in this world that I have a lot of, it's bully sticks. Looking for bovine schlong? I'm your girl.

      Here at School For The Dogs, we have a fridge that contains nothing but bully sticks. Kate and I hand them out like they're samples, but they're not. The peace and pleasure caused by a dog with a cow penis in his mouth is worth more than any profit we'd make if we dealt in a non dog-behavior currency. Bully sticks are all natural -- they contain just one ingredient! -- and the choking hazards are far less than with rawhide. They can keep a dog busy for a long while. I usually recommend that people give them to their dogs as often as once a day. A dog who is chewing on a bully stick is a happy dog--and is also a dog who is less likely to chew on your couch.

      Bully sticks are brown and they look kind of like a cross between a ligament and a cigar. People ask me what they are all the time, and usually, I lie. I say, "They're some kind of bull tendon." Actually, this is not a complete lie. I've always known that they're made from bull penis, but I guessed that maybe a tendon is a kind of muscle? Which is what the penis is? Or maybe it's a tendon that attaches to the penis? I don't know about these things. And could a bull penis really have such little...girth?  I suppose I just chose not to dwell on it. I mean, whatever it is, it's gross. But lots of things we eat are gross if you think too much about them. Anyway, I'm not the one eating the bull penis. The dogs are. And they don't seem to be at all bothered by the "yuck" factor. They also like eating poop.

      But  I decided to try to educate myself about what bully sticks actually are. The ones that Kate and I buy in bulk from are usually only about eight-inches long. I imagine a cow penis would be bigger than that. However, I think they've been chopped up from something longer. I've seen bully sticks that are as tall as I am... and that doesn't seem right either. Maybe they are stretched when they're dried? A penis that is longer than the female cow seems like it would be evolutionarily a bad idea! Then again, I guess most calfs are the product of artificial insemination now, so perhaps the size thing doesn't matter so much. Are we breeding cows to have long dongs for our dogs' chewing pleasure?

      To attempt to answer these questions, I did some online research about cow penises. What do they look like before they're chopped up into small pieces? Is the "bully stick" the actual penis or is it a tendon that attaches to the penis? Or is the penis a tendon? Should they have let me graduate high school without this knowledge?

      What followed was some online research done while I was sitting on a long bus ride this morning; if the guy next to me was looking at my screen, he sure was in for a treat.

      First of all, I looked up a diagram of the human male anatomy as a point of reference. After all, it is the kind of animal penis most of us know best. Below is an arrow to what I'd imagined possibly corresponded to what a bully stick might be.

      But a human male penis is not exactly like a bull penis. Thank God! It is also not a dog penis or a ram penis. offers this helpful breakdown:

      To get a bit more of a visual idea of what this thing looks like when it is still attached to its owner, here is a screenshot from the Louisiana State University Vet School.

      Of course, according to the caption, the guy at left is not a good example. And I feel a little sad that the heifer has to be restrained... But let's try to stay on topic. How long is the bull dong? I spent quite a while trying to find measurements.  I couldn't find a good figure anywhere, but the LSU Vet School site did provide some idea:

      An adequate length for a bull's penis is that it should come almost between the front legs during a full erection and extension. A bull with a too short penis will not be able to breed.
      Holy moly! Well, this is indeed about the size of some of the biggest bully sticks I've seen. In fact, they're so long that on Etsy, some people even turn them into canes.

      Want a more intimate view? Here are some students at Sam Houston State University dissecting one:


      According to, the bully sticks we buy are from South American cattle, and are hanged and cooked to dry them out.  While I've tasted other kinds of dog comestibles, I've never tried a bully stick. But there are other people who are braver than I.

      On Serious Eats, blogger Chichi Wang experimented with various ways of cooking bull penis, which, when consumed by humans, is usually called "pizzle." She writes that, when stewed, she found pizzle to be "soft and sticky with a gummy texture...the chunks tasted curiously neutral—not even bland but simply lacking any flavor whatsoever."  

       Pizzle, aka bull penises, just before blogger Chichi Wang cooked it

      In a later post about cooking with lamb testicles (these proved to be yummier), she explains that the dried pizzle we give to dogs is likely tastier than the stewed version eaten by people (mostly Asian people looking for a non-synthetic ersatz Viagra) because "it is nearly impossible [for us] to digest unless it's stewed for a long time, in which case the vascular tissue breaks down into a gluey, flaccid mess of a dish with virtually no flavor." Noted.

      Now...who's ready for lunch?!