Among the wide variety of natural chews, pig ears are a great option. They’re a dry and tasty chew that your doggo will love. They help clean her teeth, strengthen her gums and satisfy her need to work out the jaw.
What are Pig Ears?Pig ears are, well, exactly what you think they are! A humanely harvested and dehydrated ear of a pig – specifically a flap of the ear called the pinna. This particular part of the ear is made up of cartilage and skin with barely any muscle, making them more flexible and digestible for dogs to munch.
If you think feeding your dog pig ears is strange, check out our blog on Bully Sticks for a real surprise!
Are pig ears digestible for dogs?
There has been some controversy surrounding whether pig ears are good or bad to give to dogs. Many pet parents have been scared off from feeding pig ears because of the concern with harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
However, there’s no need to avoid pig ears altogether. The truth is, as long as they are fed responsibly, pig ears are a safe and healthy treat!
Pig ears are a nutritious alternative to rawhide or other less than natural dog chews. Plus, they’re a great source of protein and essential nutrients to compliment your dog’s regular diet.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Safety Tips for Feeding Pig Ears
While wholesome, nutritious foods should be the primary source of the nutrients your dog needs to thrive, a pig ear is excellent as an occasional treat that can provide a little extra nutritional value and keep boredom at bay. As long as you keep these safe feeding tips in mind, your dog can have a field-day gnawing on this naturally delicious chew!
- Trust the source.
The general rule when buying pig ears for your dog is to make sure they’re coming from a reputable source. Some pig ears are made with rawhide, grains or coated with harsh chemicals, such as bleach, that your dog should never ingest. You want to choose a pig ear from a trusted source that avoids using these unhealthy ingredients.
Our Value Pack pig ears are sourced right here in Canada with North American ingredients. They’re made with natural pork and smoked in tantalizing flavours your dog will drool over.
- Wash your hands.
Dogs can handle a lot more bacteria than we can. Most natural chews contain bacteria that can make people sick but are typically safe for your pooch. Pig ears are especially controversial because there have been several recalls over the years of different pig ear brands that contain salmonella.
Of course, pig ears from trusted sources don’t have the same issues, but it’s still a best practice to wash your hands after handling your dog’s pig ear treats - or any treats for that matter.
- Always supervise your dog’s chew time.
Dogs can get a little carried away with their chewing. It’s important to keep an eye on our pets as they chew to ensure they don’t break off too big of a piece and choke!
Heavy chewers may be able to finish a pig ear pretty quickly. This can lead to an upset stomach or digestion issues. If your dog is an avid chewer, we recommend limiting his chew time to avoid him eating the whole ear in under an hour!
- Avoid feeding to dogs at risk for obesity or suffering from pancreatitis.
There is too much fat and too many calories in pig ears for dogs that suffer from weight issues or pancreatitis. For this reason, your doggo should avoid this natural chew entirely. Luckily, there are other less fattening long-lasting chews to offer your dog to reward them with something special!
3 Pros of Feeding Pig Ears
There are many perks to feeding your dog a pig ear every once and awhile. They’re not only entertaining, flavourful and nutrient-dense, but beneficial in other ways too.
1. They’re ideal for more gentle chewers.
Pig ear dog treats are tough, but not as tough as other chews you’ll find at your local pet store! That’s why they’re an excellent choice for light chewers. If you have a dog that likes to savour their treats, pig ears are great to let them chew at their own pace without lasting too long to attract harmful bacteria.
Red Barn Puffed Sow Ears are naturally puffed up before being dehydrated to make for a softer, crunchy chew. These are especially great for light to moderate chewers.
2. They’re great for puppies and senior dogs.
Are pig ears safe for puppies and senior dogs? Yes! As we mentioned above, pig ears are less tough than other natural chews such as bully sticks or rawhide. That makes them safe to feed to your new puppy or your senior dog that might have a few teeth missing.
When it comes to feeding pig ears to puppies, you want to be extra careful to ensure they are coming from a trusted source. Puppies are more susceptible to digestion problems, infection and illness, so you must watch for added chemicals and unhealthy ingredients.
3. They work as a dental chew.
Despite being dried and dehydrated, pig ears maintain their thick and tough texture. This makes them more difficult for even the hardcore chewers to break them down with their teeth. As your dog continuously chews to soften up the ear, this motion works to scrub off tough to reach plaque build-up and helps to keep your dog’s pearly whites clean – or cleaner!
Treat Your Dog to Something New
If you want to offer your dog something new and different from his usual rawhide bone or rubber toy, pig ears are a safe dog treat that will not only provide mental stimulation but nutritional benefits too!
What's your dog's favourite natural chew? Let us know in the comments below!