Pig ears dog treats are made of dehydrated natural cartilage and skin of a pig ears (as the name suggests). Some recipes will add flavoring, but this usually isn’t required since pig ears are high in fat (making them very flavorful).
You are at the pet store with Fido, and you come across a selection of dry animal treats for your dog. Why not pick up something for your four-legged friend? You come across some pig ears and start to wonder, “are these actual pig ears?”
I know I wasn’t the only one to wonder that before coming across them in a pet store years ago. Today’s guide is all about pig ears. We will go over what they are made of, whether or not they’re healthy, and a few alternatives if you are hesitant to feed your dog pig ears.
Pig Ear Treats – They’re Exactly That
Before giving your dog any type of treat, you always want to consider what they are made of and if it is safe.
Pig ears are made of just that, pig ears!
Most pig ears in the USA are from farms where pigs are domesticated. The pig ear is made of natural cartilage and skin.
This is why it makes for a slightly crunchy yet chewy treat for your four-legged friend.
These treats can be found at your local supermarket in the pet department or any local pet store and are usually sold as whole pieces.
These are popular chews because they are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. We recommend checking to see if they were made in the USA and then checking the ingredients label for any unnecessary ingredients like artificial preservatives.
We would also like to note that you should check to make sure it is not rawhide as sometimes there are rawhide shaped pig ears. You will only want natural pig ears if you are in the market for some dog treats for your best friend.
How Are Pig Ear Treats Made?
Pig ears are such a strange treat, I can’t be the only one who wondered how they were made, right?!
For those who have just as much curiosity as me, pig ears are categorized as a by-product of domesticated pigs from farming facilities.
Usually, these treats are boiled and dried or dehydrated. Every once in a while, you may find these treats smoked in your pet store’s selection.
Smoked treats may add more flavor to your dog’s treats. Still, we highly recommend checking the ingredients and making sure that the smoked flavor is not artificial.
Once dehydrated, it turns into a treat to keep your dog entertained for a long period of time.
Making Homemade Pig Ear Treats For Your Dog
If you do not want to buy this product in your local pet shop, there are plenty of pig ear recipes you can find to make some for your dog at home.
First, you’ll need to buy the actual pig ears. You can find pig ears from your local butcher or farmers market.
Make sure you wash the pig ears thoroughly and remove any excess hair or dirt from the ears. Once you are done cleaning the pig ears, you can coat them with a dog-friendly oil, such as coconut or olive oil.
After coating the ears with your oil of choice, you will bake them in the oven to completely dehydrate them.
This may make your home smell a bit, so if you have a dehydrator on hand, I would recommend leaving the dehydrator outside until finished.
Soon you will have homemade pig ear treats for your four-legged friend!
Are Pig Ear Dog Treats Healthy for Your Dog?
Pig ear dog treats are not to be part of your dog’s regular diet. This is considered a treat for a reason.
Pig ear dog treats have very high-fat content. If your dog is obese or at risk of obesity, we do not recommend giving your dog this treat.
With the fat content, if your dog eats too many in a short period of time, they’ll be at risk for pancreatitis.
There have also been Salmonella scares that have been linked to pig ear dog treats that were commercially produced, but this is rare.
Nevertheless, that’s why you should check where the pig ears were produced and what’s in them.
These treats are good for your dog in moderation (just like with anything in life).
One of the benefits your dog will receive from these treats is cleaner teeth. By the tough chewing, your dog will be able to scrub any plaque or build up on their teeth.
Another benefit is that depending on your dog’s chewing habits and size, this can keep them occupied for a long time.
We’ve talked about how pig ears are high in fat, but on the flip side, they’re also high in protein, which is vital for dogs and humans alike. Protein will keep your dog’s muscles strong, give them a healthy coat, and strengthen their immune systems.
Pig ears contain just about 70% protein! Although that means 30% is fat (which is considered high), the good news is that the remainder is packed with protein.
Can My Puppy Eat Pig Ears?
Yes, puppies can eat pig ears once they’re eating regular food. Make sure you don’t feed a puppy pig ears while they’re still nursing from their mother.
However, keep in mind these are very high in fat. Much higher than a puppy is used to. Don’t let them eat the whole thing in one sitting. Let your puppy chew on it for a few minutes, then take it away. You can give it back to them once or twice throughout the day.
What Are The Alternatives to Pig Ears?
For some dogs, their instinct to chew. If you don’t give them something to chew, they’ll find their own thing! Perhaps one of the biggest “pros” to pig ears is that they last for a long time and give your dog something to chew on.
For smaller to medium-sized dogs, pig ears should last a couple hours. However, for bigger dogs with strong jaws, they may only last a few minutes. Since pig ears are high in fat, you should limit the amount you give to your dog.
So what else can you give them to chew on? Luckily, there are many healthy alternative dog chew treats. Here are our top three.
This alternative solution is a pricier option in comparison to pig ears, but it lasts significantly longer. These antlers can be from deer or elk. You can conveniently find them in your local pet shop in the chew section.
They are also natural and harmless to the deer or elk as they naturally shed their antlers. They are cruelty-free!
Apart from keeping your four-legged friend busy, you will not have to worry about any blockage as these do not splinter. If some parts do get sharp, we would recommend shaving it down with sandpaper or hard concrete floors to smooth them out.
Your dog does not have to be on a raw diet to enjoy some raw bones. As we know, cooked bones are an absolute no-no when it comes to treats.
On the contrary, Raw bones are a great solution to keeping your dog busy, and their teeth cleaned! Be sure to supervise your dog when they’re chewing on raw bones.
Sweet Potato Chews
Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients and can be a healthy treat for your pup.
You can find these at your local pet shop or easily make these at home in your oven. You will just have to slice the sweet potato to your preferred thickness.
Please note, you do not want to make them too thick as you will be dehydrating them. You can put them in your oven on the lowest temperature until they are fully dehydrated.
An easy peasy treat for your little pup!
Keep Your Dog Safe When Giving Them Treats
When giving your dog any treats, you should supervise them in the process. Sometimes, your furry friend may break off and swallow larger pieces than they should. This can cause some intestinal blockage, leading to some severe health issues such as vomiting and digestive pains.
While under supervision, you may notice that if you get a coated pig ear dog treat that it may stain your carpet or floors. If you want to prevent this, we suggest buying pig ears that don’t have a coating.
Pig Ear Treats Are Good in Moderation
We hope that you found this information helpful. Pig ear dog treats are healthy in moderation if your dog does not have any underlying health issues mentioned in the article.
There are plenty of alternative solutions if pig ears do not pique your dog’s fancy. We always recommend that if you are unsure about giving pig ears to your dog to consult your personal vet. They will give you the best advice while considering your dog’s personal health and habits.
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