Pig Ears for Dogs - The Definitive Guide

8 minute read

Pigs' ears are a cheap and appealing treat that can be found in most pet shops. But how are they made, exactly?

Are pig ears for dogs really a healthy alternative when it comes to dog treats? And if so, why? This article goes into the subject in detail, addressing all of these questions and more!

Key Facts About Pig Ears

Treats made of pig ears may be both nutritious and delectable snacks for your dog. They can benefit your pet's health, particularly dental health.

To avoid them swallowing pieces that might cause a blockage, keep an eye on them at all times. Avoid pigs' ears if your dog is still a puppy, overweight, or has frequent pancreatitis.

If your dog is still a puppy, the best option is probably a natural puppy treat box.

What Are Pigs Ears for Dogs?

Pig's ears are a completely natural dog treat that are harvested as a by-product of the livestock sector. This reduces waste while also being more nutritious, owing to their origin in nature.

The pinna is the part of the ear that's utilized; the ear flap. The pinna is mostly made up of cartilage and skin, with just a little muscular tissue.

Therefore it is not like normal meat. Cartilage is a firm, yet flexible, connective tissue which is found in the ears, nose, at the end of ribs, and inside joints.

After harvesting an ear, it is blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rapidly cooled in ice water. All remaining hair is removed in this process.

Following drying, they are dehydrated using a dehydration rack, an oven at a low temperature, or a smoker to add flavor. Depending on the technique used, this process may take between four and 24 hours.

Following the drying, the pig ears will be a wonderful treat for your dog that he won't be able to resist.

Not All Pig Ears Are Created Equal - Always Read The Label

Not every "pig ear" product is as natural as you would believe.

Some may be molded rawhide that looks like a pig's ear, while others might include chemicals such as liquid smoke or unnecessary preservatives.

They could also come from regions with poor animal welfare practices. Before buying, always read the label.

Benefits of Pigs Ears for Dogs

Pig ears are high in nutrients, but they should only be used as a treat in moderation. This is due to the fact that they aren't balanced in minerals and vitamins like a diet should be.

Pig ears are also high in fat. As a result, if fed excessively, excessive amounts of fat might contribute to obesity. Some fat is beneficial, however, because dogs require up to 20% of their food's calories to come from fats.

Aside from fat, the other component present in pig ears is protein. Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the fundamental structural components of all bodily tissues, including muscles, enzymes, and antibodies. They are required for basic activities as well as strong immunity.

Pig ears for dogs are best to be served mixed with other treats, what you'd normally get in a natural dog treat box

Pig’s Ear Nutritional Values

Pig ears are made of roughly 73% protein and 15% fat, alongisde 2% ash and 10% moisture. Pig ears are also rich in iron and thiamine.

Pig ears are difficult to chew and take some effort to consume. With that in mind, they are not as challenging as cow hide, and thus do not cause excessive gum abrasion. The toughness is a positive aspect since the continuous chewing motion will help remove tartar and plaque from your dog's teeth.

Plaque and tartar develop as a result of a buildup of food material and germs on the teeth's base.

As a consequence, the gums react, becoming inflamed, leading to gingivitis. If this persists untreated, the ligaments that connect the teeth to the gums can weaken and teeth will begin to fall out.

The good news is that eating pig ear once in a while might help keep your dog's teeth clean and avoid dental disease.

Disadvantages & Risks of Pig Ears for Dogs

Risk of Choking or Obstruction

If your dog chews off large chunks, they might risk choking or obstructing their airway. As a result, it's usually suggested that you give pig ears are chewed under supervision

Obesity & Pancreatitis

Dogs who are overweight should not be given pig ears because of the high fat content. Obesity is a serious health concern and has been associated with osteoarthritis, diabetes, and liver failure

Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas that can occur as a result of too much fat intake.

In some dogs, large amounts of fat consumption might induce pancreatitis. The pancreas is an organ that produces enzymes to aid in the digestion of food.

When a dog has pancreatitis, the enzymes begin to digest its own pancreas, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog has had pancreatitis previously, he is more likely to get it again, therefore pig ears are not for him if he has it.


In pig ear chews, there is also the risk of Salmonella. Around 4% of commercially manufactured pig ears contain Salmonella.

A Salmonella infection can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea in both dogs and humans.

However, if you buy your pig ears from reliable sources such as butchers, high-quality pet stores, or veterinary clinics, they are less likely to be contaminated.

Risk of Intestinal Obstruction

Finally, pig ears might obstruct the gastrointestinal tract if large pieces are eaten. Small pieces of any hard and breakable treat may be swallowed and become trapped in the oesophagus, stomach, or intestines. Blockages can be quite serious; they can cause vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and possibly gut perforations. As a result, it is critical to keep an eye on any dog that eats a pig ear.

Alternatives to Pigs Ears

There are numerous other types of pig ear available on the market. If you want to keep using pig ears but in a different shape, some pet stores may sell them as rolls that your dog can carry around. Because they're thicker, they tend to be longer-lasting.

If you want to give your dog a different chew that is both natural and beneficial, knuckle bones and antlers are two options available in pet stores. Knuckle bones, on the other hand, might cause many health issues for your dog, such as splintering and detaching shards that can block his digestive system.

Antlers are significantly safer than pig ears because they will not splinter or break off chunks that could obstruct his intestines. Unfortunately, antler chews are considerably more expensive than pig Ears.

Rawhide chews are also frequently available in pet shops, alongside pig ears. They may appear to be a more appealing choice since they do not smell and are produced from animal by-products. However, the truth is less attractive. Rawhide is manufactured using a manufacturing process that may leave several pollutants in the chew, which can be harmful to your dog's health, so it is far less natural than it initially appears. Furthermore, if big pieces are consumed, it digests much more slowly and can easily cause blockages.

FAQs About Pigs Ears for Dogs

Are Pig Ears Suitable for Puppies?

It's not a good idea to give pig ears to puppies. This is due to the high amount of fat in the product, which can induce gastric issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping.

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs?

Pigs' ears are beneficial to your dog's dental health since the chewing motion and abrasion remove plaque and tartar. And they're not so delicate that they'd cause harm to your dog's gums in the same way as cow hide might.

Are Pig Ears Safe For Dogs?

Yes, pig’s ears are generally considered safe for dogs though there are some risks. As a general rule, don't treat your dog pig ears if they are overweight, if you don't know the origin of the pig ear or if you can't supervise them to ensure they don't bite large chunks.

Are Pig Ears Unpleasant To Have In The House?

Pig ears, like any natural dried animal product, have a meaty fragrance to them. Dogs are attracted to them because of this odor. This smell does not bother some people, but if you're concerned about the greasy scent sticking to your carpet and furniture, it's best not to give your dog pig ears on carpets or furniture.

Pig ears are also rather oily compared to other similar products on the market, owing to their high fat content. This is yet another reason why you shouldn't offer your dog pig ears on carpets or furniture.

How Often Can I give My Dog A Pig Ear?

In moderation, pig ears are safe to consume. A medium-sized dog should eat no more than one pig ear each week, according to a suggested limit. Keep in mind that pig ears aren't calorie-free, so the quantity of food consumed on that day should be decreased slightly to prevent an overeating of daily calories above what is necessary.

How Long Will A Pig Ear Last?

Pig ears are likely not the longest-lasting chew available. If your dog is a medium or large breed with a healthy appetite, a pig ear might only last for about 5 minutes.

If your dog is a smaller breed, it's likely to take quite a bit more.

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