What is Beef Pizzle Made Of? Everything You Need to Know About This Popular Dog Chew

Beef pizzle, also known as bully sticks, have become an increasingly popular dog chew treat. But what exactly are they and what are they made of? In this in-depth article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the origins, ingredients, and benefits of beef pizzle sticks.

What is Beef Pizzle?

Beef pizzle is made from the penis of a bull or steer. It is harvested as part of the normal slaughtering process and then cleaned, dried, and processed into long-lasting chews.

Pizzle comes from the Latin word “pistillum” meaning pestle, referring to its general shape and texture. The terms “pizzle” and “bully stick” are often used interchangeably when referring to this unique dog treat.

Other Names for Pizzle Include:

  • Bully Stick
  • Bull Stick
  • Steer Stick
  • Bully Pizzle
  • Beef Stick

What Animals are Used to Make Pizzle?

The most common source of pizzle is bulls and steers (castrated bulls). However, there are some pizzle chews on the market that come from other animals:

  • Bison Pizzle – Made from American bison penis
  • Buffalo Pizzle – Water buffalo penis from Asia
  • Yak Pizzle – Harvested from domestic yaks
  • Moose Pizzle – A less common variant from moose penis

Cattle remains the predominant source for commercial beef pizzle production around the world.

Brief History of Beef Pizzle as Dog Treats

The use of beef pizzle as dog treats has its origins in the desire to use every part of the cattle after slaughter. Organ meats like liver and kidneys were recognized as nutritious for dogs. The durable pizzle was identified as an ideal body part to turn into long-lasting, chewable treats.

Early references to pizzle chews can be found in the 17th century when cattle trade flourished in places like Argentina. The pizzle was dried into hardy sticks. Ranchers observed their herding dogs enthusiastically chewing on them, keeping them distracted and entertained for hours.

By the 20th century, pizzle was being produced commercially for sale as dog snacks. They grew in popularity over the decades as a tasty and engaging chew for dogs.

Nutritional Contents of Beef Pizzle

Beef pizzle chews are prized for being a healthy single-ingredient dog treat. Since they are made from just one body part, there are no mysteries about what’s in them.

The main nutritional contents of beef pizzle are:

  • Protein – Pizzle is high in protein, containing about 80% by weight. This makes it great for building and maintaining muscle.

  • Fat – Around 12% fat content, providing a concentrated energy source.

  • Minerals – Good amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and other minerals dogs need.

  • Enzymes – Contains natural enzymes like catalase to aid digestion.

  • Cholesterol – Negligible amounts of cholesterol.

  • Fiber – Low fiber content.

  • Moisture – Typically less than 15% moisture when dried.

  • Calories – Around 130 calories per ounce of pizzle chew.

Beyond basic nutrition, pizzle also provides a nice workout for a dog’s jaws, gums, and teeth as they gnaw and chomp on it. The abrasive chewing action helps reduce tartar and plaque buildup.

How Are Beef Pizzle Chews Made?

The process of making beef pizzle into dog chews involves a few main steps:

Harvest and Preparation

  • The pizzle is removed from the bull during slaughter at the abattoir. It is immediately chilled to preserve freshness.

  • Excess fascia, fat, and other tissue is trimmed off, leaving just the muscle.

  • Pizzles are thoroughly washed and sanitized at this stage as well. Proper cleaning is critical.

Primary Drying

  • Pizzles are hung and air dried, which evaporates surface moisture.

  • Drying concentrates the natural flavors and begins the curing process.

  • Environmental temperatures and humidity will affect drying time.

Secondary Drying

  • Pizzles are dried again, this time in special dehydrators or ovens.

  • Temperatures reach between 140-165°F, which kills any remaining bacteria.

  • When dried, the pizzle is very stiff and shelf-stable.


  • Once fully dried, the pizzle is cut into sizes chews.

  • Chews are then packaged in bags or clear tubes.

  • Some may be wrapped individually then packed in bundles.

Proper cleaning, drying, and storage ensures the pizzle remains fresh and safe for dogs to eat. No artificial preservatives are required.

Buying Considerations When Choosing Pizzle Chews

When selecting beef pizzle for your dog, keep the following buying considerations in mind:

  • Origin – Look for pizzle sourced and processed regionally or in countries with stringent safety standards for dog treats. This ensures quality.

  • Processing – Choose pizzle from companies that use minimal processing without harsh chemicals or bleach. This maintains nutritional integrity.

  • Additives – Avoid pizzle with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Seek natural, additive-free options.

  • Odor – Many pizzle chews have a strong odor. Opting for low or non-odor versions provides a better experience.

  • Thickness – Thicker pizzles are more suitable for aggressive chewers while thin ones work for gentle chewers.

  • Length – Longer pizzle chews tend to last dogs longer before finishing them. Measure your dog’s mouth size to pick a comfortable length.

When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for advice on selecting appropriate pizzle chews for your dog.

Benefits of Giving Your Dog Beef Pizzle

Natural beef pizzle offers a number of benefits for your dog when used responsibly:

Nutritious Single-Ingredient Treat

  • Made from just bull penis, you know exactly what’s in pizzle chews. No mystery ingredients.

  • Provides protein, fatty acids, and important minerals dogs need. An excellent source of nutrition.

Long-Lasting Chew

  • The tough, dried pizzle takes dogs hours to slowly gnaw through. Keeps them happily occupied.

  • Less processed pizzle may last even longer before being consumed.

Supports Dental Health

  • The firm texture and fibrous tissue helps clean teeth surfaces as dogs chew.

  • Reduces plaque and tartar buildup on teeth and gums.

Easily Digestible

  • Most dogs digest the simple beef muscle tissue easily with little GI upset.

  • The natural enzymes aid digestion. Much gentler on stomachs than artificial chews.

  • Check with your vet if your dog has a sensitive system.

Provides Mental Stimulation

  • Dogs must work to grind down the durable chew using their jaws, teeth, and tongue.

  • The chewing action engages them mentally to help satisfy their instinct to chew.

No Mess Minimal Odor

  • Pizzle chews help satisfy chewing urges without demolishing household items. Prevents destructive chewing behavior.

  • They produce little mess compared to treats that crumble. Also available in low or non-odor options.

Safety Tips for Giving Your Dog Beef Pizzle

While pizzle chews provide many benefits, there are also some safety considerations to keep in mind:

  • Supervise – Always monitor your dog when giving pizzle chews or any long-lasting chew. Don’t leave them unattended with it.

  • Limit Access – Restrict access to a few hours per day. Remove pizzle once it gets small enough to swallow.

  • Size Appropriately – Choose pizzle chews that match your dog’s mouth size to reduce choking risk.

  • Watch for Trouble – If your dog is struggling with the chew, choking, vomiting, or has other signs of distress, take it away immediately.

  • Introduce Slowly – When first introducing pizzle, give limited amounts to ensure your dog tolerates it well.

  • Account for Calories – Calculate pizzle calories into your dog’s diet to avoid overfeeding and weight gain.

Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about the safety of pizzle chews for your particular dog before giving them. Monitor your dog closely every time they enjoy this popular treat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beef Pizzle Chews

Are pizzle chews safe for puppies?

Beef pizzle can be safe for puppies over 8 weeks old who have their adult teeth grown in. Pick an appropriately sized pizzle and always supervise chewing.

How long do pizzle chews last dogs?

Depending on size and chewing intensity, pizzle chews can last dogs anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Larger and less processed types typically last the longest.

Do pizzle sticks smell bad?

Some pizzle chews have a very strong, offensive odor. Seek out low-odor varieties processed to reduce smell. Certain drying methods and added spices can help too.

Can I give my dog a pizzle chew every day?

It’s fine to give pizzle occasionally as a treat, but not recommended daily. Too much can upset your dog’s digestive system. Give more filling chews like bully sticks a few times per week at most.

Are thick or thin pizzle chews better?

Thicker pizzles are great for aggressive heavy chewers, while skinny ones suit gentler chewers. Pick a thickness your dog can handle safely based on their size and chewing style.

The Takeaway

Beef pizzle offers dogs a nutritious, long-lasting natural chew that provides both physical and mental engagement. Made solely from the penis of bulls and steers, these popular treats are valued for being a single-ingredient chew full of protein. When chosen carefully and used responsibly under supervision, pizzle can be a healthy part of most dogs’ diets. Just be sure to introduce them slowly and monitor your dog any time they enjoy these hardy chews.

What is beef pizzle made of?


Is beef pizzle good for dogs?

The short answer is yes! Due to pizzles being a single source protein and highly digestible it is safe for dogs to eat small pieces of the pizzle. That being said, you should make sure your dog is supervised and make sure they have a supply of fresh water at all times.

Do vets recommend bully sticks?

For the most part, yes, says Albert Ahn, DVM, veterinary advisor for Myos Pet and veterinarian at Inwood Animal Clinic in New York City. Certain dogs—puppies and ones with dental problems—probably need something else to snack on, but most other pups will enjoy a bully stick, provided you have a watchful eye.

Why is it called bull pizzle?

The word pizzle is also known, at least since 1523, especially in the combination “bull pizzle”, to denote a flogging instrument made from a bull’s penis. It derives from the Low German pesel or Flemish pezel, originally from the Dutch language pees meaning “sinew”.

Are bully sticks and pizzles the same thing?

The terms “pizzle sticks” and “bully sticks” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to the same type of treat made from the pizzle (penis) of animals, typically bulls. There is no inherent difference between pizzle sticks and bully sticks in terms of their composition or preparation.

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