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We like to give our dog a bully stick to keep him occupied. One of the benefits of bully sticks is that they are a single ingredient and easily digestible for dogs.

If you've ever been around a bully stick, you know that they are quite smelly.

We've heard there are also "odor-free" bully sticks. Are "odor-free" bully sticks also safe for dogs? What is the difference between an "odor-free" bully stick and a "regular" bully stick?

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  • I have no answer, just amusement at how sanitized the linked site is on what bully sticks are. :)
    – Allison C
    Nov 7, 2022 at 17:07

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Some companies that offer odor-free bully sticks want to suggest that they have somehow unlocked a proprietary magical process to make their bully sticks the least stinky on the market. But other companies actually do share a common thread in their explanation: thorough drying.

According to Best Bully Sticks, the difference between their odor-free bully sticks and the regular ones they also sell are how long they are hung to dry. "The difference in how they are made is that the odor-free bully sticks are dried longer, lessening the moisture in them."

Bow Wow Labs similarly notes, "The odor of the sticks is related to the amount of moisture in them."

An article on Rover echoes this idea, with a vet quoted as saying, "The longer they are dried or the more moisture removed by cooking, the less odor they will have."

Personally, I've only ever given my dog odor-free bully sticks. Given that the difference is in drying technique, it feels like a pretty safe (and less noxious!) choice to me.

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  • I would assume to dry them longer makes them harder to chew... And to cook them longer would reduce the taste... Do you think the companies will add something to soften them again or add artificial taste? Nov 8, 2022 at 4:35
  • @Allerleirauh The two manufacturers I linked to both say their bully sticks are single ingredient. Whether that's true for all low odor bully sticks I don't know, but it should be easy enough to find single ingredient ones. Given my dog's love of her single ingredient low-odor bully sticks, I don't think softening or artificial taste are required though! Nov 8, 2022 at 14:46
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    @Allerleirauh the sanitized nature of the linked site from the question suggests that bully sticks might have a recipe, however, a "bully stick," "pizzle stick," "bull pizzle," etc, is specifically a single-ingredient treat made only from cleaned and dried bovine penis and nothing else.
    – Allison C
    Nov 8, 2022 at 16:06

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