A 6” bully stick has 87 calories on average.
And a 12” bully stick has 195 calories on average.
These calorie averages are based on mid/thick thickness bully sticks - 26 grams for the 6” bully stick, and 58 grams for the 12 bully stick.
On average there are 3.4 calories/gram of bully stick. To determine the rough amount of calories in any bully stick multiply the grams (weight) of the bully stick by 3.4.
For Bully Bundles’ bully sticks specifically, our standard 6” bully stick (averaging 25 grams or more) has 97 calories and our standard 12” bully stick (averaging 57 grams or more) has 222 calories.
The above results are based on laboratory testing from Mérieux Nutrisciences in August 2022 of 3 different brands of bully sticks (one of the 3 brands being Bully Bundles).
What Does This Mean For Your Dog’s Diet?
We talked to Dr. Sarah Abood, DVM, who has a PhD in Veterinary Nutrition, from Veterinary Nutritional Consultations, Inc. (VNC) before and after testing our bully sticks to find this out.
Dr. Sarah Abood (of VNC) said the most important nutritional aspect to consider when choosing bully sticks is how the bully stick will fit into the dog’s daily (or weekly) calorie intake. Most veterinarians recommend that commercial and human-food treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily (or weekly) calorie intake.
So, for example, a healthy 60-lb dog with a typical activity level needs about 1,000 Calories each day, and 10% of 1,000 = 100 Calories as treats. What this means for the pet parent is that they should be feeding 900 Calories from their dog’s food bowl and up to (but no more than) 100 Calories as treats each day.
Once you know your dog’s caloric needs, you can calculate what their daily treat allotment should be and now that you also know how many calories are in a bully stick, you can make a more educated decision about what size and how frequently you should feed your dog bully sticks.
The veterinary nutrition experts we talked to at Veterinary Nutritional Consultations, Inc. (VNC) recommended both this article and corresponding chart for dog parents interested in learning just how many Calories their dog should be eating: https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/basic-calorie-calculator.
What Are The Other Nutritional Values Of Bully Sticks?
These results are based on the same laboratory test from Mérieux Nutrisciences (from August 2022) used to determine the calories. 1 lb of each of 3 different brands of bully sticks (one of the 3 brands was our own bully sticks) were used.
Dogs that are fed complete and balanced meals do not require supplemental nutrients from treats.
How Much Should I Consider The Other Nutritional Values For Bully Sticks Beyond Calories?
As Dr. Abood articulated, your dog’s food (not treats) should be providing a well-balanced diet with 100% of the nutrients that your dog needs, and the key consideration for bully sticks (or any other treats) is fitting them into your dog’s daily caloric targets. Your dog should not be depending on supplemental nutrients from treats, as all of your dog's nutrient needs should already be met by his/her food. So while we have provided a detailed look at the nutritional values of your bully sticks, simply the caloric values should provide you with the information you need to determine how bully sticks fit into your dog’s diet.
Dr. Abood, as well as us, recommend supervising your dog while feeding her/him a bully stick, providing plenty of fresh water, and afterwards washing your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water.
Chelsea Barstow & Ryan Schoop