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How to safely increase daily enrichment with bully sticks and bones – P.L.A.Y.


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By Susan Mravca on May 3, 2023

Puppies love to chew, and they do so not just for mere enjoyment. Chewing is also an essential part of their growth and development. Through chewing, young dogs strengthen their teeth and other bones and muscles of their jaws. It also helps them relieve stress and provides mental stimulation. Fortunately, plenty of chew treats for puppies are now available in the market. 

Many of these products are made from all-natural, safe, and beneficial ingredients for puppies. The most popular ones are bully sticks and steak bones. Pig ears and yak cheese sticks are also high on the list. Let’s talk about these treats and how you can turn a yummy treat into enrichment.

Bully Sticks for Puppies

Bully sticks, also known as bull pizzles, are made of bull penises that were dehydrated, pulled apart into strips, and then rolled into a shape resembling a stick. Because they are made of natural ingredients, bully sticks are tasty, chewy, and highly digestible. They also contain vital nutrients such as protein, minerals, and vitamins that help your puppy maintain a healthy body and strong immune system. As such, bully sticks for puppies make an excellent treat.

Most pet owners appreciate that bully sticks for dogs do not contain any artificial preservatives or coloring agents and are, therefore, safe for their dogs to consume. They are free from harmful allergens such as soy, corn, wheat, and gluten. This makes them ideal for dogs with food allergies. They are also free of chemicals such as sodium nitrite, nitrate, and propylene glycol, which some manufacturers use as preservatives in dog treats.

Bully sticks come in different shapes and sizes to suit your dog’s unique preferences. No matter which bully stick you prefer, you can be sure that your four-legged friend will love it. However, like all treats, it is vital to remember that bully sticks for dogs are not a substitute for their regular diet. So, the trick is which are the best treats and which ones can be used as enrichment.

Benefits of Bully Sticks

There are various benefits of giving a bully stick to your puppies.

  1. Reduce zoomies 

Zoomies is a behavior exhibited by dogs when they are excited and full of energy.

Puppies tend to run around the house and jump around uncontrollably, which can be annoying for you and potentially harmful to your other pets. A bully stick will help your puppies burn off some excess energy and relax.

  1. Reward after training 

Training your pup takes a great deal of time and effort. You can reward your dog for their hard work by giving them a bully stick at the end of their training session. This type of positive reinforcement will encourage them to continue to behave well. 

  1. Long-lasting

Bully sticks are long-lasting, which makes them ideal snacks for your dogs. Your pups will be too busy chewing on their bully sticks to pester you. And you will get a well-deserved break while your pup is occupied.

  1. Fully digestible

Another significant benefit of bully sticks is that they contain only natural ingredients and are not harmful to your dog’s health. Bully sticks are fully digestible, providing your dogs with all the necessary nutrients without making them sick. It will also help stimulate the production of saliva, which will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and prevent plaque formation.

Steak Bones for Puppies

Another popular treat for puppies is steak bones. Like bully sticks, steak bones are also made from natural ingredients. They contain plenty of protein and other vital nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. Steak bones can help keep your puppy entertained for a long time.

However, there are some downsides to giving steak bones to your puppy. For instance, raw steak bones may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites that could cause serious health conditions in your dog. They should be kept in the freezer until ready to use. They can easily break into small pieces, which could be dangerous if ingested. Cooked steak bones, on the other hand, can easily splinter and cause injury to your dog’s mouth, and severe problems if swallowed. Cooked bones can also cause digestive issues in dogs and should be avoided at all costs.

Should you still opt to give steak bones to your dog for their enjoyment, experts recommend raw steak bones over cooked ones. It is also crucial to monitor your dog closely to ensure that your dog is not injured from broken steak bones. That means never give them one to freely run around in the yard. You need to keep an eye on them while consuming raw steak bones. 

So how do you turn a bully stick or raw steak bone into enrichment?

Treat vs. Enrichment

Work-to-eat will turn a bully stick or steak bone into enrichment. Think of enrichment as not something extra we provide for our dogs, but as an essential part of their mental health. It reduces behavior problems and improves dog quality of life. And it tires them out sometimes more than a long walk. So just giving your dog a bully stick or bone is not enrichment. They need to work for it to turn it into enrichment. How can that be done safely?

A treat holder that elevates a bully stick or bone, and firmly holds it in place will turn a treat into enrichment. This seemingly simple solution provides many benefits. An elevated treat that is held firmly provides the dog with a challenge. Dogs will use their brains to try to figure out how to eat and remove the stick or bone. They will become laser focused on this game. They will pull, tug, even go upside down if need be. The elevated treat also keeps the treat out of the dirt or off your carpets. It’s a neat way to allow bully sticks and bones in the house.

And when your pup is finished with their bully stick or steak bone. You can surprise them with a Barking Brunch plush dog toy to snuggle up with for a nap.

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