Pig Ears for Dogs

Pig ears can be used by dog owners as treats. Even if pig ears may be a tasty snack for dogs, there are a few problems that should be considered. The pig ears can cause obesity if administered in high amounts and may also cause an upset stomach or bacterial infections.

Pig Ears and High Fat Content

Pig ears have a high fat percentage and this may lead to obesity if the treats are administered in excess and over a long period of time. Dogs do need a healthy amount of fat in their diet (up to 20% of their daily diet), as fat gets deposited and will be used when the dog requires extra energy. However, if the fat is in excess, the dog will become obese and only some fat deposits will be used, leaving the dog with a surplus of unhealthy fat. An overweight dog may be prone to diabetes, heart disease or premature death. In addition, the fat in excess can cause pancreas irritation or pancreatitis leading to severe abdominal pain.

Digestive Problems

Another disadvantage of pig ears is the fact that some dogs with more sensitive stomachs will not tolerate the pig ears and this may lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

In addition, if not chewed properly, the pig ears may cause chocking or intestinal obstruction.

Pig Ears and Salmonella

Pig ears may carry Salmonella bacteria, so it may cause gastrointestinal infection. The infection can be signaled by abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. In some dogs, the Salmonella may not present any initial symptoms. You should make sure that the pig ears are from a trustworthy source. Typically, pig ears should get heat treatment for half a day, so that all potential bacteria will be eliminated. The pig ear supplier should also test the pig ears prior to commercializing these.

The Salmonella infection is a zoonotic disease, which can be transmitted from dogs or pigs to humans, so you should be careful when handling the dog’s feces. Also, wash your hands after handling the pig ears, as you may contract the bacteria from these as well. You may also use gloves for protection.

Pig Ears as Treats

Pig ears can be used as treats; when dried, the pig ears are crunchy and can also benefit the dog’s teeth, removing food residue and plaque.

You can buy the pig treats from pet stores or get some pig ears from a trustworthy butcher and prepare the treats yourself. Boil the pig ears for 1 hour and smoke them for up to 6 hours.

Administering pig ears may be a great way of rewarding you pet, but you need to make sure that the treats are not infected with Salmonella bacteria and that the dog tolerates these treats. You should also limit the amount of pig ears you feed your dog to avoid obesity.