Cheek Sticks vs. Bully Sticks - What’s the Difference?

Madelene Hissom · Sep 1, 2023 · All
Author: Natalie Szymiczek

We get it – your furry pals deserve the best. When it comes to treats, the options can be overwhelming. Cheek sticks and bully sticks are both popular choices, but they have some key differences. In this article, we'll break down what sets them apart in terms of ingredients, benefits, and potential considerations. Your pup's chewing habits matter, and we're here to help you provide the most suitable and enjoyable treat.

What Are Cheek Sticks?

A cheek stick is a type of dog treat made from the inner cheek lining of animals, typically high-quality, natural beef cattle. The sourcing process involves selecting only the inner cheek linings, which are rich in flavor and texture. It's a chewable and flavorful treat option that appeals to dogs' natural chewing instincts. Cheek sticks are often dried or smoked to preserve them and enhance their flavor, creating a satisfying and long-lasting chewing experience.

Cheek sticks are valued not only for their taste but also for their potential dental benefits, as they can help promote healthy teeth and gums through chewing action.

They are a versatile treat, varying in size and thickness, and therefore suitable for a wide range of dog breeds and sizes. They are particularly well-suited for dogs that enjoy moderate to vigorous chewing. If your furry friend loves to gnaw and work on a treat for an extended period, cheek sticks could be an excellent choice.

Additionally, cheek sticks can be a great option for teething puppies, as they provide a satisfying and soothing chewing experience. However, as with any treat, it's important to consider your individual dog's chewing habits and consult with your veterinarian to ensure the treat is appropriate for your pet's age, size, and dental health.

What Are Bully Sticks?

Bully sticks are a type of dog treat made from the dried and processed penises of cattle. Yes, that’s right. Sometimes called pizzle sticks, bully sticks are made from bull or steer pizzle, meaning the penis. This may surprise some dog owners, who simply think of them as beef sticks!

Originating from the United States and other countries with cattle farming industries, bully sticks have become a popular and widely recognized chew option for dogs. The pizzle is thoroughly cleaned, stretched, and then dried through various methods, such as smoking or baking. This drying process not only preserves the sticks but also gives them their characteristic firm texture, making them a long-lasting and engaging treat for dogs to chew on.

Due to their natural origin and minimal processing, bully sticks are often considered a single ingredient treat, appealing to pet owners looking for simple and wholesome options for their canine companions. They are suitable for a wide range of dog breeds, particularly those that enjoy chewing and have moderate to vigorous chewing habits.

Bully sticks are considered a safer and more digestible alternative to traditional rawhide chews. Rawhide chews, which are made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides, can pose potential choking, blockage, or digestion issues for dogs due to their texture and processing methods. On the other hand, bully sticks offer a firm yet more easily digestible texture. Many pet owners opt for bully sticks as a rawhide alternative because they provide a similar long-lasting chewing experience without the same level of risk.

What Are Power Bully Sticks?

If you can’t decide between cheek sticks and bully sticks, you don’t have to! Power bully sticks combine both into one delectable chew. These award-winning rawhide alternatives from Natural Farm are available in 6-inch and 12-inch varieties, and they contain beef cheek wrapped in savory beef pizzle for double the flavor and fun. Crafted from the finest, all-natural beef cheek muscle and beef pizzle sheath, these treats will keep dogs coming back for more with their enduring appeal, high protein content, and engaging texture. With exceptional digestibility and perfectly suited for medium chewers, these chews are sourced from free-range, grass-fed cattle, ensuring a natural and wholesome treat without the presence of chemicals, additives, hormones, or antibiotics.

Similarities & Differences Between Cheek and Pizzle

Both cheek sticks and bully sticks can offer dogs a lean, protein-rich treat option. The main difference lies in their ingredients, with cheek sticks coming from the natural tissue of the cheek, and bully sticks being made from dried and processed cattle penises. Cheek sticks tend to have a somewhat higher fat content than bully sticks. Both chews have a natural meaty flavor, but bully sticks offer a more robust savory taste, which is intensified during the drying process

Cheek sticks offer a moderately firm texture, providing an engaging chew for dogs. They are minimally processed, often air-dried or smoked to preserve flavor and texture. Bully sticks have a firmer texture and are known to be among the longest-lasting chews available for dogs. They are dried and processed through methods like smoking or baking to create a chewy texture.

Cheek sticks offer several health benefits and contribute to dental care for dogs. They provide a protein-rich treat option that supports muscle development and overall well-being. The chewing action required to enjoy cheek sticks can help promote dental hygiene by reducing plaque buildup and massaging the gums, which may contribute to better oral health over time. Additionally, the natural texture of cheek sticks can engage dogs in a satisfying chew that helps alleviate boredom and stress.

Similarly, bully sticks offer notable health benefits and dental care advantages for dogs. The high protein content in bully sticks supports muscle growth and repair. The firm texture encourages vigorous chewing, which aids in cleaning teeth and gums by mechanically removing tartar and plaque buildup. This chewing action can contribute to fresher breath and healthier gums. The act of chewing on bully sticks can also stimulate saliva production, further promoting dental hygiene.

Both sticks offer a range of sizes and thickness options. Bully sticks can be found in different lengths and diameters to cater to various dog breeds and sizes. Thicker bully sticks are often favored by larger dogs with stronger jaws and more aggressive chewers. Smaller and thinner bully sticks can be suitable for smaller dogs or those that prefer a more manageable chew. Like with cheek sticks, selecting the appropriate size and thickness of bully stick is essential to prevent choking hazards and ensure that your dog can comfortably enjoy the treat.When choosing between cheek sticks and bully sticks, consider your dog's size, age, and chewing habits, as well as any recommendations from your veterinarian. Always supervise your dog while they're enjoying a chew and remove any small or potentially hazardous pieces to ensure their safety.

Choosing the Right Treat for Your Pup

When it comes to treating your furry friend, making the right choice between cheek sticks and bully sticks can enhance their joy and overall well-being. To ensure a delightful experience for your pup, there are a few factors to consider:

1. Considering Your Dog's Size, Age, and Chewing Habits

Size matters, especially when it comes to treats. Think about your dog's size and breed—do they fall into the small, medium, or large category? Puppies and seniors often do better with thinner chews. The length of the stick also matters, and they are commonly available in 6-inch and 12-inch varieties. A general rule of thumb is to select a stick that is longer than your dog's mouth, so they can chew on it comfortably without posing a choking hazard.

2. Consulting with Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is your pet's best ally. Before introducing any new treat, it's wise to consult with them. They can provide insights tailored to your dog's individual health considerations. If your pup has allergies, dietary restrictions, or specific health conditions, your vet's guidance can help you make an informed decision. Their expertise ensures that the treat aligns with your dog's dietary needs and overall health.

3. Rotating Between Different Treats for Variety

Variety is the spice of life, even for your four-legged companion. Rotating between different treat options, like cheek sticks and bully sticks, keeps treat time exciting and engaging. Each treat offers a unique texture, taste, and chewing experience. Plus, switching up treats can help prevent your dog from getting bored with the same thing every time.



Whether you opt for the natural richness of cheek sticks or the enduring charm of bully sticks, your thoughtful selection will surely be appreciated by your canine companion. So go ahead, make treat time a tail-wagging adventure, and relish those moments of joy as your beloved pup indulges in the perfect chew.

Natural Farm is an all-natural dog treat company with a variety of all-natural bones, treat, and chews your dog will love. Visit our store page to see our entire collection!