Rawhide vs. Bully Sticks: Ultimate Comparison Guide

Rawhide vs. Bully Sticks: Ultimate Comparison Guide

Many types of treats and chew toys for dogs are available on the market today. Treats tend to fall into two categories. Small treats for training, or long lasting treats to keep your dog occupied. It can be challenging to decide which are the best for your pet. When it comes to long lasting dog treats to keep your dog occupied, two of the most popular are rawhide and bully sticks. While they may be similar at first glance, they have significant differences that affect how you decide which treat is best for your pup. If you're curious, read on as we discuss rawhide vs. bully sticks.

What is a Rawhide?

Rawhide is a chew treat for dogs made from the hide of an animal that is untanned. Hides are usually split into two layers. The inner layer is used to make rawhide chews for dogs. The outer, or top layer is used for fashion items such as shoes, belts, and handbags. The hides, or skins of animals like pigs, buffalo, or beef are commonly used for dog chews.

What is a Bully Stick?

A bully stick is another type of chew treat. They are the meaty, deep red/orange, long, cylindrical sticks. Made from bull penis that has been stretched and dehydrated or baked at high heat. Some have been treated with chemicals or irradiated to kill off harmful bacteria. They are chewable but hard and come in various lengths and various thicknesses.

Benefits of Chew Treats

Rawhides and bully sticks are long-lasting chew treats that dogs love to devour. Aside from seeing your pet enjoying these treats, you might give your dog these treats once you find out their other benefits. Following are the reasons why you may want to consider long lasting chew treats in your pet’s diet:

  • Promotes dental health

  • As your dog happily chews on these treats, the plaque and tartar are naturally being scraped away from your dog’s teeth. Teeth cleaning becomes significantly more manageable, and the gums become healthier. However, this does not mean these chew treats can replace brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. 

  • Encourages healthy behavior

  • Chew treats also help your dog manage their boredom and deal with stress. They can also keep your pet occupied for a very long time. Even strong chewers can get 30 minutes of chewing time. Smaller dogs may get several hours or even days of chewing time with a single treat. With these treats, you can channel your pet’s urge to chew away from things like shoes, furniture, etc. And as they chew, they can better understand their environment. 

  • Useful for training sessions

  • You can also use these chew treats for positive reinforcement as you teach a new command or trick. Your dog will be excited and look forward to your training sessions and quality time together because of these tasty chews. 

  • Satisfies natural cravings

  • Lastly, rawhides and bully sticks contain natural textures and flavors that satisfy the dogs' evolutionary desire to chew. With these natural chew treats, you can help your furry friend embrace their wild side for a few minutes or a few hours. 

    Rawhides vs. Bully Sticks

    At this point, let's compare the two treats side by side. We will cover four main categories: nutrition, ingredients, digestibility, and cost.


    As you can see, both treats are primarily made from animal products. Rawhides contain a large amount of animal fat, while bully sticks contain lean protein. Both treats have a low amount of total calories and will keep dogs in an ideal weight range.

    However, bully sticks have a much higher percentage of vitamins and minerals than rawhides. Also, bully sticks have a very low glycemic index, meaning they will not increase your pet's blood sugar or cause digestive problems. In contrast, rawhides contain a higher glycemic index. This is especially problematic for dogs with health issues like diabetes.


    Rawhide treats contain various ingredients and additives, including preservatives, artificial flavorings, and colorants. These chemicals are used to maintain the quality of the rawhide and make it taste good. However, these chemicals can harm dogs, especially when they quickly gobble a large amount of rawhide.

    On the other hand, bully sticks contain a large amount of lean animal meat. They do not have any artificial ingredients or preservatives, making them a safer choice for dogs.


    Bully sticks are more easily digested than rawhides. The edges of the bully stick makes it easier for the dog to chew on it. Also, the bully stick is primarily made of animal meat, which is easier to digest than rawhide.

    In contrast, rawhide is composed of a large amount of collagen, which is difficult for dogs to digest. Also, dogs must chew on the rawhide for a long time before they can entirely break it down.


    The cost of the treats depends significantly on the size, shape, and overall quality. However, bully sticks are generally more expensive than rawhides. Longer and thicker sticks cost more than shorter ones. But bully sticks formed into braids and shapes with greater thickness and width tend to be the most expensive type.

    Rawhides are considerably less expensive. They are much more common and both can usually be found in pet stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, and online.

    Which one’s better?

    Considering the aspects we used in comparing these treats, bully sticks are a better choice for dogs. Although they are more expensive than raw hides, bully sticks contain more nutrients, do not have harmful chemicals, and are easier to digest. As such, bully sticks are healthier and safer for your pet.

    As with all long lasting treats, keep an eye on your dog while they are chewing on their treat. A bully stick holder that holds the stick firmly in place so that your dog may consume it safely is always the best choice.
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