The treats — called “pizzle” or “bully” sticks — are the uncooked, dried penis of a bull or steer. A study by researchers at the University of Guelph and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine took a look at the popular treat sold under many brands, reports Science Daily.
The caloric study found that each inch of the 26 samples contained between nine and 22 calories. For an average 6-inch treat, that comes to 88 calories. That’s 9% of the suggested caloric intake for a 10-pound canine.
Of the 26 samples, nearly 35% were found contaminated with bacteria. One had Clostridium difficile, while another contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and seven were contaminated with Escherischia coli. One of the latter was of the tetracycline-resistant variety.
The researchers advise people handling the dog snacks as if they were raw meat. People doing so should wash their hands after handling and the young, old and pregnant women should avoid them altogether.