Pig ears offer many benefits for a teething puppy. Not only do dogs love the taste, but pig ears can help relieve the pain puppies experience from teething, keep the teeth free from plaque and tartar, and consist of over 70% protein.
Almost everything is cute about puppies – their fluffy coats, tiny paws, and adorable personalities. However, those razor-sharp baby teeth that like to chomp on everything are not that cute!
If your puppy is continuously gnawing on something they shouldn’t be, you aren’t alone. Many dog owners face the same issue.
Just like people, puppies lose all of their baby teeth and go through the process of having new adult ones come in. Your puppy is experiencing sore, swollen gums as his adult teeth come through, and one of the few things that make him feel better is chewing.
Toys and chews are a great option, but there are many other things to bring your puppy relief. You may consider adding dried pig ears into your rotation to help your teething puppy find some relief.
In this guide, we will go into detail on what teething is, what you can do to help relieve the symptoms, and the best practices for using dried pig ears.
What is Teething?
First, let’s discuss what exactly is making your puppy so uncomfortable. Your puppy is born with no teeth, and their first set comes in when they are three weeks old. By eight weeks, their mouth is full of those little piranha teeth! When your puppy reaches three months, their baby teeth fall out to make room for adult teeth.
How Teething Works
Permanent teeth will start to push through the gums; they push the baby teeth up and out. You may find their teeth lying around the house, or your puppy may swallow them. Since the teeth are so small, it does not pose any health risk to the puppy.
Your puppy started with 28 baby teeth (also called milk or deciduous teeth), which will fall out to make room for 42 adult teeth.
First, the incisor teeth will fall out. These are the six teeth on the top and bottom of your puppy’s mouth, right in front, between the fangs.
Next, the canine teeth will come in – these are the big, sharp, fang-like teeth, with two on the top and bottom.
Finally, the premolars and molars will come in, the larger teeth towards the back of the mouth used for chewing.
What You’ll Notice
Other than the obvious excessive chewing, you may notice that your puppy is drooling or pawing at his mouth more than usual. You may also see some blood left behind on the toys your puppy was chewing on. This is all a normal part of the teething process.
You’ll find that you keep a close eye on your puppy during this time to make sure they are only chewing on what you want them to.
It’s important to keep an eye on the teeth as they come in. Sometimes, an adult tooth will push through, but the baby tooth will not immediately fall out. This may cause dental issues further down the line, so let your veterinarian know if you notice this happening.
Pig Ear Benefits
Pig ears are a great option to help soothe your puppy’s aching gums. There are many benefits to this treat – other than saving your hands and furniture from being your puppy’s favorite thing to chew.
Taste and Texture
To dogs, pig ears are delicious! Even with no other added flavors or preservatives, dogs will go bananas over a dried pig ear.
These treats are ideal for puppies, as they are not extremely hard or tough. Pig ears are dense and thick, but softer than something like a bully stick or bone.
Their texture is perfect for a teething puppy because it brings them relief from the pain of teething without being too hard or crunchy.
Pig ears will help keep your puppy’s incoming teeth healthy right from the start. Chewing on tough objects helps remove plaque and tartar from dogs’ teeth, so by giving your puppy a pig ear to chew on, you’ll be promoting good dental health from the start.
Keeping teeth free from plaque and tartar helps also prevent gingivitis, which causes dental issues as dogs get older.
Most pig ears are made of 70% protein, making them an excellent protein source for dogs. This also comes with a fat content of 10% or higher, so pig ears are a snack to be enjoyed only once a week or every two weeks.
Risks of Pig Ears
Although pig ears make a delicious treat for your teething puppy, there are a few risks to be aware of.
Do your research before purchasing pig ears (or any other treats) for your puppy. Marketing on the package can often be misleading. You don’t want to end up with a snack that has various byproducts or is not entirely made of the pig’s ear itself.
Look for a treat with as few ingredients as possible – all you really need is the ear itself! Farmer’s markets, organic retailers, or natural pet stores are a great option to find the healthiest treats possible.
Run a google search to find stores in your area that may have the exact treat you are looking for.
Starting in July 2019, the CDC issued a recall on pig ear treats for dogs after finding them linked to a Salmonella outbreak, which can make dogs and humans very sick. Though the risk is low, it is always present.
Practice good hygiene when giving your pet pig ear treats. Wash your hands after touching one and avoid letting your puppy lick your hands and face after they eat one.
The high fat content of pig ears can trigger gastrointestinal issues, especially in puppies, who are still learning what foods they can and cannot tolerate.
Keep a close eye on your pup in the hours and days following this snack so you can be sure it agrees with them.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your puppy whenever you give him a pig ear. These can pose a choking hazard to a young dog, and even though the risk is small with something as large as a pig ear, it is best to always keep an eye on your puppy while they are munching.
Take it away from your puppy when you cannot supervise them. Do not leave a pig ear with your puppy overnight and do not feed it to them right before leaving the house.
There is the risk of obstruction if your puppy tears off a large piece of pig ear and swallows it whole.
If you notice that a large part of the pig ear suddenly goes missing, keep a close eye on your pup the next few days. If he shows signs of obstruction – like lethargy, pain when the stomach is touched, lack of thirst or appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea – call your vet. These situations can be harmful if left untreated.
Tips for Using Pig Ears For Teething
Before you give your puppy their first pig ear, there are a few things to be aware of that will make the experience much smoother.
Pig ears are high in fat content – this can make them greasy and likely to stain any cloth covered furniture or carpet. T
hey also can have a fairly strong smell. Consider making pig ears an outside treat, or have a designated area like a crate that is easy to clean once your puppy is done snacking.
You can use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut your puppy’s ear in half. This will help control how much your puppy is eating and reduce the risk of choking, obstruction, or an upset stomach.
Do It Yourself
If you think your pup would enjoy pig ears, you can always save money by making these treats at home.
This will also guarantee there are no additives that you don’t want in your pups chews. Head to your local butcher, who will have what you need. Call first to be sure they carry what you need.
How To Bake Pig Ears
If the ears appear dirty when you get home, clean thoroughly with water. Lay them out on parchment paper or paper towels and dry them off.
At this point, you can cut the pig ears to be the appropriate size for your puppy. Brush each side lightly with olive or vegetable oil. You can also brush the treats in chicken or beef stock to make them extra flavorful.
Transfer them over to an oven-safe pan lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake at low heat, around 175-200 F, for around 3-4 hours depending on the size of your treats.
Flip them halfway to ensure they cook evenly. When they look crispy and golden brown, take them out to cool and let your pup enjoy!
Bottom Line – Yes!
If you need a solution for your teething puppy, pig ears are a delicious snack that they are sure to enjoy.
They provide a high-quality chewing experience for your pup to keep those incoming adult teeth free from plaque and tartar. Try to limit your puppy’s intake of pig ears until you know they won’t upset their stomach.
You may find that even when they are done teething, your puppy still wants to chew on anything and everything – pig ears are a special treat to offer them through their adult lives.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.