Bully sticks vs rawhide: which treat is best for your dog?

bully sticks vs rawhideBully sticks vs rawhide: which treat is best for your dog?

With so many dog treats to choose from, picking out the perfect reward for your pet is no easy feat. In terms of enjoyment, durability and healthiness, some of the best dog treats are rawhide chews and bully sticks, but how do these two popular products stack up against each other?

Both types of treat are healthier than many manufactured alternatives, being largely natural products made from a single ingredient, and easy to digest. Before you decide to shop for a rawhide chew or a bully stick, take a look at the facts and make sure you’re making the right choice for your canine companion.

Ingredient quality

Pets become members of the family and, as such, we want to feed them high-quality ingredients, both in their regular food and with treats. A pungent bone filled with a meaty paste might seem like a wonderful treat for your dog, but when you check out the ingredients list you may find the product is packed with low-quality protein and additives.

The best option is to choose a natural treat, this way, you can be sure of what your pet is eating. Both bully sticks and rawhide are natural products – bully sticks are made from beef pizzle, while rawhide is the dried skin of cattle.

Rawhide is easy to digest as it doesn’t usually contain any artificial ingredients; similarly, bully sticks are made from a single ingredient – meaty protein, which is gentle on the stomach. The difference is that bully sticks have some nutritional value when compared with rawhide. Rawhide contains very little protein, whereas bully sticks are nutritious and also rich in magnesium and calcium.

Processing methods

Both rawhide and bully sticks are dried natural animal products but the processing of these treats differs depending on the country of production. In the USA, both bully sticks and rawhide tend to be made using the same method – the raw product is cleaned and dried in a heat chamber for around 12 hours at 90 degrees. Elsewhere in the world, however, rawhide is often sun-dried.

Drying rawhide in the sun, or for too long in an oven, can cause hard spots on the hide, which do not soften easily during chewing. These patches can be hard enough to break a dog’s tooth.

Additionally, rawhide is sometimes bleached or colored using artificial dyes. Hide products are also sometimes chemically treated to improve shelf life, rather than being refrigerated in transit.

Chew time

Choosing a dog treat that provides long-lasting chew time means more enjoyment for your pet and better value for you. Both rawhide treats and bully sticks are great examples of dog treats with long chew times. Rawhide comes in all shapes and sizes, and the thick skin means it takes time to soften up through chewing, so dogs can be kept content for hours. However, the lack of flavor or distinctive scent of over-processed rawhide can mean dogs lose interest in their treat relatively quickly.

The key difference is that bully sticks are made from tasty protein, providing a healthy snack for dogs that will satisfy their urge to chew and hold their interest. Although bully sticks can be short and skinny, there are longer, thicker varieties to choose from, too.

Bully sticks are also less likely than rawhide treats to snap or break into pieces during chewing, which means they retain a better shape that the dog can hold between its paws for a longer, more satisfying chewing experience.


Dog treats vary enormously in terms of cost and while achieving value is important to most pet owners, looking after your dog’s health and happiness is of equal concern. Rawhide chews are priced according to their size and elements like the brand, quality of ingredients and more.

Essentially, rawhide chews are all made from the same product: animal skin, but some products are shaped, colored, and added to with pastes and textured parts for variety – these treats are usually more expensive than a regular rawhide chew.

Bully sticks tend to be pricier than rawhide chews, reflecting the quality of the ingredient, which is pure protein. Buying bully sticks in bulk often means you can make savings, and the larger sticks will naturally last longer than the slim alternatives.



A dog treat should be just that – an enjoyable snack that your pet can savor without any ill after-effects. Some dog treats, however, are not as safe as others; natural bones, for example, can splinter and damage your dog’s internal organs, rawhide, meanwhile, poses a risk of choking and causing blockages within the digestive tract.

In this area, there is a clear difference between bully sticks and rawhide. Although rawhide is tough, it can break into smaller pieces that a dog can choke on. If your pet manages to ingest a large chunk of rawhide, it can be difficult to expel, with the piece of chew sometimes getting stuck and requiring surgical removal.

Bully sticks, on the other hand, are made from protein, which is completely digestible. The chews are also much more difficult to break up into bits. Should a piece of bully stick be swallowed accidentally, it is broken down naturally and absorbed in your dog’s body, rather than causing a blocking along the digestive tract.

Dangers of Raw Hide


When it comes to the variety of different dog treats available across bully stick and rawhide product ranges, rawhide is perhaps the most versatile. Knots, bones, molded shapes, shoes and much more can be created from dried animal skin. Bully sticks, meanwhile, are long, tube-like shapes, although they are available in different sizes.

Bully sticks can also be knotted, braided and twisted but the product is rarely fashioned into an array of shapes like rawhide. The point to consider, though, is whether your pet notices any difference between a rawhide slipper and a twist – or whether he or she is entirely unconcerned with the shape in favur of the impending opportunity for a satisfying chewing experience.

Essentially, rawhide treats are all made from the same ingredient, regardless of their form. Bully sticks, too, are made from a single ingredient – natural, wholesome protein with a taste that dogs crave.

Which will you choose for your dog’s next treat? You can pick up a value pack of long-lasting, flavorsome bully sticks here.


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