Are Pig Ears Good for Dogs? Pros & Cons

Natural dog treats are a great way to reward your dog and keep them occupied. One treat option you'll find at your local pet market is pig ears. Pig ears are a dry and delicious treat that can provide your pooch with hours of fun.  But are pig ears safe for dogs?

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of pig ears that you should consider.

dog eating a pig ear

Pros:


Promotes Cleaner Teeth

Like many long-lasting treats, pig ears are great for keeping the teeth clean. Before they're even dried, pig ears are considerably thicker than other parts of the animal.

The drying process only makes them tougher. Thus, your dog will have to constantly chew to soften the treat and reap the rewards. This abrasive action scrubs the teeth of plaque and food buildup, keeping them clean.

Delicious Taste

What dog can resist the delectable taste of pure pork? Pig ears are very enticing to dogs. While they don't have a noticeable odor to us humans, the scent and taste drive dogs wild. It's a natural alternative to chemical flavors. So, it's a win all around.

Easy for Light Chewers

Are pig ears bad for dogs who can't chew hard items? You'll be happy to know that these treats are perfect for light chewers.

Despite being tough enough to last, pig ears aren't nearly as tough as other treat options. They're thick and dense, making them a great option for seniors, small dogs, and light chewers.

Low-Cost Reward

The biggest benefit for you is that pig ears are very affordable. Essentially, they're cast-offs from the butcher. They don't cost much to dry out. Thus, most pet stores will sell them at very affordable prices.


Cons:

High Fat Content

If your dog is at risk for obesity or suffers from pancreatitis, pig ears are not a good treat for them. These treats are very high in fat content. While this adds loads of flavor, it's not great from a health standpoint. Even if you have an active dog, you should limit these treats to a once a week reward.

May Cause Upset Stomach

Are pig ears digestible for dogs? Unfortunately, not every dog is going to handle these treats well. Pups with a sensitive stomach may experience vomiting or diarrhea. Before you commit to these treats regularly, let them chew on one and see how they react.

Not Great for Voracious Chewers

Pig ears are no match for powerful chewers. Dogs with powerful jaws can rip an ear up in seconds. This renders the dental benefits useful. Plus, you run the risk of choking and creating a gastrointestinal obstruction.

If your dog has no problem tearing through a bully stick or other hard treat, steer clear of pig ears.

Potential for Bacterial Infection

Last, but not least, pig ears have the risk of being infected with salmonella. This is true of any natural treat, even bully sticks. Let's face it, pigs are filthy creatures. They're known to wade around in mud and feces, which could cause salmonella infection.

Always stick to a reputable manufacturer and look out for symptoms of the infection.


Are Pig Ears Bad for Puppies?

Generally, pig ears are safe for puppies. That is, however, as long as they come from a reputable brand. The main issue you need to worry about is salmonella. 

Puppies are more susceptible to infections and illnesses, as their immune system isn't as strong as adults. So, you need to err on the side of caution and stick to reputable brands.

Other than that, pig ears are a great option for puppies. The softer texture is easier for them to chew. Just keep an eye out on their progress. Once they get strong enough to chew the ears up in seconds, it's time to move onto something a bit tougher.

Conclusion

Generally, pig ears are perfectly fine for dogs. They're a delicious treat that improves dental health. However, the disadvantages can't be ignored.

It's important to weigh your options to figure out if pig ears are the right treat for your pup.

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