Are pig ears good for dogs?

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If you have a dog, chances are you’ve seen pig ear chews for dogs at your brick-and-mortar pet store or online.

They’re becoming more and more popular these days, but what exactly are they all about, and are pig ears good for dogs?

That’s what we’ll cover in today’s blog post, along with how they compare to rawhide, whether you can leave your puppy alone with pig’s ear, and whether dogs can get salmonella from chewing on this type of dog chew. :

My puppy Wally is chewing on a pig’s ear

Pig Ear Dog Treat – What’s in it?

First of all, (most) pig ears are a one-ingredient dog chew.

That means you won’t find any artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, grains, or anything else in the ingredients list.

There is literally only pig’s ear in this dog chew unless you buy a smoked pig’s ear, and we’ll get into the downsides of that later in this blog post.

However, unsmoked pig ears are high in protein, moderate in fat, and mostly consist of soft cartilage and skin.

That also means it’s naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, which are the building blocks of cartilage.

As for the calories in a pig’s ear, they have 100-200 calories per pig’s ear, depending on its size.

Next, let’s look at what this all means for your pup.

6 Benefits of Pig Ears for Dogs

1. An alternative to rawhide

You may know that bleached rawhide is treated with chemicals and is known to cause blockages because it is not fully digestible.

Thankfully, pig ears are not raw, not even close.

As you can see in the picture below, they are not synthetic bright white like rawhide, but pig ears have the reddish color of their natural eyebrows.

That lack of chemicals makes pig ears completely digestible, making them a safe alternative to rawhide dog chews.

Pig ears are a natural brown-reddish color

2. Support oral hygiene

Pig ears help remove tartar and plaque from a dog’s teeth.

Plus, they exercise your dog’s jaw muscles and massage the gums.

This is especially helpful for teething puppies whose gum lines hurt as their adult teeth start coming in.

3. Prevents stress and boredom

Did you know that chewing is a stress-relieving and fun behavior for dogs?

That’s why it’s important to encourage regular chew sessions as well as proper dog chewing in your pups, regardless of their age.

Yes, puppies benefit just as much as adults and adults.

So the next time your puppy tries to chew on your woodwork, furniture or couch, offer him a pig’s ear instead.

You’ll find that a good chewing session keeps boredom at bay and provides mental stimulation.

Chewing can also be really helpful for dogs who are afraid of thunder and the sounds of fireworks.

4. Help support joint health

Pig ears help support your dog’s joints because they are naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, the building blocks of cartilage.

After all, your dog’s joints are made of cartilage.

That’s why it’s a good idea to offer pig’s ears to your puppy on a somewhat regular basis as a joint preventative, right along with keeping your puppy at a healthy weight.

Because let’s face it, extra weight puts extra pressure on your dog’s joints, making it harder for your pup to move and be active.

Two of my former dog walking clients with the gift of pig ear chewing

5. Promotes healthy muscles and skin

Pig ear care is naturally high in protein with 20-30 grams of protein per ear.

Protein is extremely important for building and maintaining your dog’s skin and muscle tissue, as well as their skeletal health.

6. Great for dogs with food sensitivities

Pig ears are also great chews for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to grains and starches, as well as common proteins like chicken, beef or fish.

So if your pup doesn’t do well with Milkbone, chicken feet, bully sticks or salmon skin, try offering them a pig’s ear instead.

My pup Wally, for example, gets super itchy when he has anything made with chicken or salmon, and the same goes for any food or chews with grains.

So I mostly stick to treating him with one ingredient dog chews and pig ears are definitely one of them.

Any objection?

Well, as great as pig’s ears are for dogs sensitive to proteins other than pork, they are a total no-no for dogs with pork allergies.

Pig ears are also not a long-lasting chew for power chewers.

Remember that they are mostly made up of soft cartilage and not hard bone like antlers.

Just for reference, my 38 pound puppy Wally is a moderate chewer and finishes a pig’s ear in about 15-20 minutes.

That means a powerful chewer can easily go through a pig’s ear in 5 minutes or less.

Because pig ears are relatively low in calories, they are also not a great dog chew for overweight dogs who do not exercise regularly.

Which brings us to the next question.

How many pig ears can I give my puppy?

A dog chews a pig’s ear

This is important to know because remember that pig ears are a high calorie food.

Well, it really depends on the size of the pig’s ear, as well as the size and activity level of your dog.

Generally, small pig ears or half pig ears are better for puppies and small to medium sized dogs.

Whole pig ears as well as pig pig ears are best for large and extra large dogs.

That said, if your pup is at his target weight and not chubby or obese, you should be able to give him a pig’s ear once a week.

But your pup’s activity level and life stage also play a role in the number of pig ears.

When can dogs eat a pig’s ear every day?

If they train 2-3 hours a day and have weekend agility practice along with weekly agility trials, they burn a lot of calories.

That means they’ll be fine with a few pig ears a week, potentially once a day.

The same goes for puppies, who need significantly more calories during growth compared to their adult and older counterparts.

But if your couch potato bulldog eats a pig’s ear every day and only gets to walk 30 minutes around their neighborhood, he’ll get chubby very quickly.

Are pig ears safe for dogs or can I leave my dog ​​alone with pig ears?

We have already touched on the fact that unlike the raw skin, pig’s ears are fully digestible, so your pup should have no problems there.

If they’ve never had pig’s ear before, it’s probably best to introduce it slowly to prevent an upset stomach, especially if your dog is known to have an extremely sensitive stomach.

If they don’t respond reliably to the “leave it” command, you can hold one end of the pig’s ear and let your pup chew the other end.

After about 5 minutes, pick it up and let them continue chewing the next day.

As for leaving your dog alone with a pig’s ear, it’s safer.

Even if your dog is an experienced chewer, there is always a small chance that he could choke for some reason.

As a general rule, it’s best to supervise your pups when they’re engaged in any type of chewing, whether it’s a horn, a bully stick, or a pig’s ear.

It also means it’s not a good idea to leave your puppy home alone in his crate with a pig’s ear.

A stuffed and frozen KONG dog toy is a much better companion in the crate when you’re not home to supervise.

But I digress.

Baked or smoked pig ears are better for dogs.

In general, the less processed a dog’s gums are, the healthier and better they are.

Smoked pig ears are more processed than baked or slow-roasted pig ears.

This is because they undergo an extra level of treatment and contain unnatural, chemical flavors.

As the name suggests, chemicals are the opposite of natural and not something that should be in your best friend’s dog treats, right?

Okay, let’s go down another important pig’s ear rabbit hole.

Can dogs get salmonella from treating a pig’s ear?

Healthy dogs are very unlikely to contract salmonella from pig ear treats or any other chews.

This is because a dog’s stomach is very acidic and its digestive system is very short.

Because of this, dogs are well equipped to fight off bacteria like salmonella.

This is also the reason why they can eat raw meat. in fact, the DNA of a dog and a wolf is almost the same and differs by only 2%.

However, people can get salmonella from infected pig’s ear treats, which happened in 2019 and caused many recalls of a dog’s pig’s ear.

That’s why it’s important to always remember to wash your hands after handling any dog ​​product, such as pig ears.

If you have children, teach them the same.

bottom line

Overall, oven dried pig ears are really good for dogs and are a healthy leather alternative.

They are a one-ingredient dog chew that is naturally rich in health-promoting ingredients and contains no harmful chemical ingredients.

When fed in moderation, your puppy can greatly benefit from chewing pig’s ear on both a physical and mental level because:

  • Their joints and muscle tissue use and absorb glucosamine, chondroitin and protein.
  • The act of chewing helps clean, massage and exercise the teeth, gums and jaws.
  • A pig ear chewing session is fun and stress relieving.

However, remember that it is safest to control your dog’s chewing and not leave him alone in the house with pig ears (or any other dog’s chewing).

For your own safety, remember to always wash your hands thoroughly after preparing any dog ​​food.

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Are pig ears good for dogs?  - the dog chokes the pig's ears

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