How Many Calories in a Bull’s Penis?

Yup, that’s sure an attention getter for a blog post!

Pet Camp is not a retail store, we’re a doggie day care and dog and cat overnight care facility – but we do have a small retail area. We stock mostly inexpensive items (toys and treats) including “bully sticks.” On a fairly regular basis a pet parent asks, as they fondle the bully stick, “which part of the cow is the bully stick from?” Everyone holds back a smirk as someone responds, “oh, that’s a bull’s penis” as the pet parent drops the bully stick back into the box.

Well it turns out that San Francisco’s pet parents aren’t the only ones who don’t know what a bully stick is. According to “Your Dog”, the newsletter put out by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, about 50% of consumers surveyed and 40% of veterinarians surveyed didn’t know either. This lack of knowledge, besides being potentially embarrassing for the unsuspecting pet parent can have other consequences.

First, bully sticks are a raw treat and as such they can have bacteria on them. For most dogs and humans this isn’t a big deal but for certain dogs and high risk individuals (the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals) the risk of exposure to salmonella or E. coli is a major concern. For most of us washing our hands after touching a raw treat is sufficient (yup – time for the washing your hands after touching a penis jokes now), but for high risk individuals avoidance of raw treats is the preferred course of action and you need to know what a bully stick is to avoid it.

Second, it turns out there are a lot of calories in a bully stick (time for a joke now)! I did a bit of research and calculated that my 120 pound Newfoundland should take in about 2200 calories a day and a 60 pound dog should take in about 1300 calories a day. According to the folks at Tufts, one bully stick tested contained 260 calories – that’s about 20% of a 60 pound dog’s daily caloric intake in 1 treat.  Now not every bully stick is the same or has the same number of calories (potential joke here too), we purchase ours from Red Barn – only free range and grass fed bulls’ penises make it to Pet Camp – but there are lots of options out there.

Now we know there are lots of jokes to make about bully sticks – and trust us we’ve made plenty of them ourselves. But it turns out that it’s worth knowing something about bully sticks for reasons beyond wanting to embarrass folks at the pet store.

O.K. – and be honest here – did you know what a bully stick was before reading this?  Are you still going to buy them for your dog?  Most importantly, have you thought of a way to embarrass other pet parents with your new knowledge?

Thanks for reading!