Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (2023)

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If you have a dog, chances are you’ve seen pig ear chews for dogs at your brick and mortar pet retail store or online.

They’re becoming more and more popular these days, but what exactly is the deal with them and are pig ears good for dogs?

That’s what we’ll look at in today’s blog post, along with how they compare to rawhide, whether or not you can leave your puppy alone with a pigs ear and if dogs can contract salmonella from this type of dog chew!

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (1)

Pig Ear Dog Treat – What’s In It?

First things first, (most) pig ears are single-ingredient dog chews.

That means you won’t find any artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, grains or anything else on the ingredient list.

There’s literally only pig ear in this dog chew – unless you buy a smoked pig ear, and we’ll cover the downsides of that later in this blog post.

But non-smoked pig ears are high in protein, moderate in fat and consist mostly of soft cartilage and skin.

That also means that it’s naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin as those are the building blocks of cartilage!

As far as pigs ear calories, they pack a decent punch with 100-200 calories per pig ear, depending on its size.

Next, let’s look at what all of this means for your pup.

6 Benefits Of Pig Ears For Dogs

1. Rawhide Alternative

You may know that bleached rawhide is treated with chemicals and is notorious for causing blockages because it’s not fully digestible.

Thankfully, pig ears are not rawhide, not even close!

As you can see in the picture below, they’re not synthetic bright white like rawhides but pig ears have their natural brow-reddish color.

That lack of chemicals makes pig ears fully digestible and turns them into a safe rawhide alternative dog chew.

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (2)
(Video) FDA, CDC issuing new warning on pig ear pet treats

2. Supports Oral Hygiene

Pig ears help scrape away tartar and plaque from dog teeth.

Additionally, they exercise your dog’s jaw muscles and massage their gums.

That’s particularly beneficial for teething puppies whose gum lines hurt as their adult teeth are starting to come in!

3. Prevents Stress & Boredom

Did you know that chewing is a natural stress-relieving and entertaining behavior for dogs?

That’s why it’s important to encourage regular chewing sessions along with appropriate dog chews in your pups, regardless of their age.

Yep, puppies benefit from chewing as much as adult and senior dogs do!

So next time your puppy tries to go for a chew session on your woodwork, furniture, or couch, offer them a pig ear instead!

You’ll see that a good chew session keeps boredom at bay and provides mental stimulation.

Chewing can also be really beneficial in dogs who are scared of thunder and fireworks sounds.

4. Helps Support Joint Health

Pig ears help support your dog’s joints because they’re naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, the building blocks of cartilage.

After all, your dog’s joints are made of cartilage!

That’s why it’s a good idea to offer your pup pig ears as a joint preventative on a somewhat regular basis – right along with keeping your pup at a healthy weight.

Because let’s face it, excessive weight adds unnecessary pressure on your dog’s joints, which makes it harder for your pup to move around and be active.

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (3)

5. Promotes Healthy Muscles & Skin

Pig ear treats are naturally rich in protein with 20-30 grams of protein per ear.

Protein is super important to build and maintain your dog’s skin & muscle tissue as well as their skeletal health.

6. Great For Dogs With Food Sensitivities

Pork ears are also a great dog chew for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to grains and starches as well as common proteins like chicken, beef or fish.

(Video) Homemade dog treats- how to make pig ears

So if your pup doesn’t do well with Milkbone treats, chicken feet, bully sticks or salmon skins, try offering them a pig ear instead!

My pup Wally, for example, gets super itchy whenever he has anything made from chicken or salmon, and the same applies to any food or chews with grains.

So I mostly stick to treating him with single-ingredient dog chews, and pig ears are definitely one of them!

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (4)

Any Cons?

Well, as much as pig ears are great for dogs with sensitivities to proteins other than pork, they’re a no-no for dogs with pork allergies!

Pig ears are also not a long lasting chew for power chewers.

Remember that they mostly consist of soft cartilage and not hard bone like antlers, for example.

Just for reference, my 38 lb pup Wally is a moderate chewer and finishes a whole pig ear in about 15-20 minutes.

That means a power chewer can easily go through a pig ear in 5 minutes or less.

Since pig ears have quite a few calories, they’re also not a great dog chew for overweight dogs who don’t exercise regularly.

Which brings us to the next question.

How Many Pig Ears Can I Give My Puppy?

Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (5)

That’s important to know because remember that pig ears are a calorie-rich food?

Well, it really depends on the size of the pig ear as well as on your dog’s size and activity level.

Generally speaking, smaller pig ears or half pig ears are a better size for puppies and small to medium size dogs.

Whole pig ears as well as jumbo pig ears are best for large to extra large dogs.

That said, if your pup’s at their target body weight and not chubby or obese, you should be able to give them a pig ear once a week.

(Video) Money Matters 7/10: Pig ear dog treats under recall

But your pup’s activity level and life stage plays an important role in the amount of pig ears they can have, too.

When Can Dogs Eat Pig Ears Every Day?

If they exercise 2-3 hours per day and have weekly agility practice sessions in combination with agility trials on the weekend, they’re burning a lot of calories.

That means they’ll be fine with several pig ears per week, potentially even one per day.

The same applies to puppies who need considerably more calories while they’re growing compared to their adult and senior counterparts.

But if your couch potato Bulldog eats a pig ear every day and only gets to walk their neighborhood for 30 minutes, they’ll get chubby real quick.

Are Pig Ears Safe For Dogs or: Can I Leave My Dog Alone With A Pigs Ear?

We already covered the fact that unlike rawhide, pig ears are fully digestible, so your pup shouldn’t have any issues there.

If they’ve never had a pig ear, it’s probably best to introduce it slowly to prevent an upset tummy, especially if your dog is known to have an overly sensitive stomach.

If they don’t reliably respond to a “leave it” command, you can hold one end of the pig ear and let your pup chew on the other end.

After 5 minutes or so, take it away and let them continue chewing on it the next day.

As far as leaving your dog alone with a pigs ear, it’s safer not to.

Even if your dog is a seasoned chewer, there’s always a small chance they may choke on it for whatever reason.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to supervise your pups when they’re busy with any type of chew – regardless of whether it’s an antler, a bully stick or a pigs ear.

That also means that it’s not a good idea to leave your pup home alone in their crate with a pig ear.

A filled and frozen KONG dog toy is a much better crate companion when you’re not home to supervise.

But I digress.

Are Baked Or Smoked Pig Ears Better For Dogs?

Generally speaking, the less processed a dog chew, the healthier and better it is.

Smoked pig ears are more processed than baked or slow roasted pig ears.

(Video) The Worst Ears I've Seen in 10 Years - PLUCK AND CLEAN THE EAR!

That’s because they undergo an additional level of treatment and contain unnatural, chemical flavors.

As the name suggests, chemicals are the opposite of natural and are not something that should be in your best friend’s dog treats, right?

OK, let’s go down one more important pig ear rabbit hole:

Can Dogs Get Salmonella From Pig Ear Treats?

The chances that healthy dogs contract salmonella from pig ear treats or any other chews are slim to none.

That’s because a dog’s stomach is very acidic and their digestive system is very short.

Because of that, dogs are well equipped to handle bacteria like salmonella.

That’s also the reason why they can eat raw meat – as a matter of fact, dog and wolf DNA are almost exactly the same and only differ by less than 2%.

However, people can get salmonella from affected pig ear treats, which is what happened in 2019 and caused multiple pig ear dog chew recalls.

That’s why it’s important to always remember to wash your hands after handling any dog treats such as pig ears.

If you have kids, teach them the same!

Bottom Line

Overall, oven-dried pig ear treats are really good for dogs and make a healthy rawhide alternative!

They’re a single-ingredient dog chew that’s naturally rich in health promoting components and doesn’t feature any harmful chemical ingredients.

Fed in moderation, your puppy can greatly benefit from pig ear chews both on a physical AND mental level because:

  • Their joints and muscle tissue use and absorb the glucosamine, chondroitin and protein.
  • The act of chewing helps to clean, massage and exercise their teeth, gums and jaws.
  • A pig ear chew session is entertaining and stress-relieving.

However, remember that it’s safest to supervise your dog’s chewing and not to leave them home alone with pig ears (or any other dog chews)!

For your own safety, remember to always thoroughly wash your hands after handling any dog treats.

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Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? (6)

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(Video) Don't Feed Your Dog These "Natural" Chews (Feed These Instead!)


Are Pig Ears Good For Dogs? ›

Pig ears are incredibly easy to chew because they are softer cartilage, making them the perfect treat for senior dogs with dental problems. Pig ears also carry an impressive amount of glucosamine and chondroitin. These naturally-occurring compounds relieve osteoarthritis in dogs.

Do vets recommend pig ears for dogs? ›

CDC and FDA are now advising people not to buy or feed any pig ear dog treats to pets, including any that may already be in homes. People can get sick after handling the treats or caring for dogs who ate the treats. Dogs might get sick after eating them.

What is the problem with pig ears for dogs? ›

Sanders adds that the most common problems associated with feeding pig ears include vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Some dogs may experience more serious complications, such as pancreatitis or bloody diarrhea.

How many pig ears can a dog have a day? ›

Pig Ear Chew Safety

Pig ear chews are best for small dogs, delicate chewers and seniors in moderation (one chew per week).

How digestible are pig ears for dogs? ›

And because they're just cartilage, pig ears and cow ears are quite digestible for your dog. Just monitor your dog if he's a gulper who doesn't chew his food thoroughly, so he doesn't choke or get a bowel obstruction from swallowing big chunks of ear.

Are pig ears safe for dogs now? ›

Yes, pig's ears are generally considered safe for dogs though there are some risks. If your dog bites of large chunks they could cause intestinal obstruction. Also, if you don't know the provenance of a pig's ear, it may contain salmonella.

Is it OK to give my dog a pig ear everyday? ›

Sanders says pig ears are safe for most medium- and large-sized dogs when given as an occasional treat once or twice a month. "Pig ears are best when given sparingly as a special treat," she says. "This is definitely not an everyday food." Pig ears can contain a fair amount of fat and calories.

What is the healthiest treat for dogs? ›

11 Healthy, Natural Treats for Dogs in Your Kitchen
  • Apples. An apple a day doesn't necessarily keep the veterinarian away, and a whole apple would be a bit much for a dog anyway, but they are good for dogs just like they are people! ...
  • Green Peas. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Green Beans. ...
  • Watermelon. ...
  • Cooked Sweet Potatoes. ...
  • Bananas. ...
  • Broccoli.

What are the benefits of dogs eating pig ears? ›

They are a crunchy treat that assists in the removal of plaque and food residue from the teeth (think of it as a toothbrush for dogs). The intense chewing on pig ears also helps in developing strong jaws, canine teeth, and healthy gums for years to come.

How long should a pig's ear last a dog? ›

Pig ears are not a long-lasting organic treat; they can keep your dog busy for hours. A small dog; or a dog with slow chewing action will take time to get through a pig ear. However, the middle of a large breed dog will finish it in under five-ten minutes.

Are too many pig ears bad for dogs? ›

Cons of Pig Ears For Dogs

If given freely to them as a part of their regular diet, they risk becoming obese. A high-fat diet can lead to pancreatitis in many dogs, leading to extreme abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is also important to source your products from reputable vendors and manufacturers.

What is the best bone for dogs? ›

Hard Beef Knuckle Bones and Beef Marrow Bones are ideal and the safest for dogs. Chicken, Turkey, and Pork bones are too soft and dangerous for dogs. Dogs love the sensation and taste of chewing bones. Chewing bones releases feel-good endorphins for dogs.

Are cow ears or pig ears better for dogs? ›

Cow ears are one of the most popular dog chews because they contain protein, they help promote digestion and teeth cleaning. They also have less fat than other animal products like pig ears or beef jerky, making them a healthier option for dogs who need to lose weight.

Why can dogs eat pigs ears but not pork? ›

Pig ears for dogs are, well, exactly what you think they are! A humanely harvested and dehydrated ear of a pig – specifically a flap of the ear called the pinna. This particular part of the ear is made up of cartilage and skin with barely any muscle, making them more flexible and digestible for dogs to munch.

Do pig ears make dogs gassy? ›

Rawhide chews and pig's ears are notorious for causing flatulence, as well as bad breath and unpleasant smelling stools. They are enjoyed by many dogs, but if your dog is suffering from flatulence, eliminating them may prove beneficial.

Are chicken claws good for dogs? ›

Chicken feet are highly nutritious for dogs. They have two main health draws to them; they help manage joint conditions, and they help maintain dental hygiene. The only part of the chicken feet which might cause a problem is the nails. They can be sharp and harder to digest than the other parts of the foot.

Are pig ears still on recall? ›

Both distributors (Brutus & Barnaby, TDBBS) recalled these products. On October 30, 2019, the CDC announced that this outbreak appears to be over.

How do you prepare pigs ears for dogs? ›

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread out the pig's ears, and bake until thoroughly dried out—anywhere between 6 to 10 hours, depending on your oven temperature and how crispy you want the ears to be—flip them once roughly around the cooking mid-point. If using your smoker: Heat to 250° F.

Are pig ears safe for dogs 2023? ›

Pig ears are considered to be safe for dogs.

Feeding your pup pig ears is a personal choice. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you feed them to your dog, including intestinal blockages, higher fat content, and Salmonella.

Are pig ears better than rawhide? ›

Final Verdict. Pig ears in general are a lot better than rawhides. Rawhides do clean the teeth better, but the choking hazards of these outweigh those dental benefits. And pig ears are still a great treat to keep your pup's teeth and gums healthy!

Are Ol Roy pig ears safe? ›

The CDC offers the following advice: Do not feed any pig ear treats to your dog. Throw them away in a secure container so that your pets and other animals can't eat them. Even if some of the pig ears were fed to your dog and no one got sick, do not continue to feed them to your dog.

Are greenies good for dogs? ›

They're Safe for Dogs

The lack of harmful ingredients means Greenies Dental Treats are a safe, healthy pet food that is easily digestible. Just make sure your pet chews them thoroughly before swallowing.

What dog treats not to buy? ›

At-a-Glance Types of Bad Treats to Avoid
  • Any treats from China.
  • Cooked or raw bones.
  • Rawhide treats.
  • Treats with unnatural coloring.
  • Any treats that contain sugar.
  • Treats that are high in corn, soy, or wheat.
  • Treats that appear on the recall list [5]

Are Antlers good for dogs? ›

Here's why antlers are NOT safe for dogs: Antlers, regardless of how they are cut or what animal they come from, pose a hazard for dogs for three reasons: Antlers can cause painful fractured teeth. Smaller antler pieces could pose a choking hazard.

Does pig ears have collagen? ›

In other words, most of the pig's ear cartilage is made of collagen.

Are rawhides good for dogs? ›

Rawhide is bad for dogs for a number of reasons. intestinal blockage. These concerns are so big, that the Humane Society and ASPCA both discourage the consumption of rawhide for pets. Also, Petco recently announced it will no longer sell traditional rawhide in its stores.

What is the best thing for dogs to chew on? ›

Offer your dog some edible things to chew, like bully sticks, pig ears, rawhide bones, pig skin rolls or other natural chews. Dogs can sometimes choke on edible chews, especially if they bite off and swallow large hunks.

Are pigs ears hypoallergenic for dogs? ›

They are the ideal snack to strengthen the gums and clean the plaque of the dog's teeth. It is a hypoallergenic and 100% natural product that does not contain gluten and not trans fatty acids.

What taste do dogs hate to stop biting? ›

Taste deterrents take advantage of your pet's dislike of bitter and spicy flavors by using those sensations to discourage chewing. Bitter apple sprays and spicy or hot sprays are commonly used deterrents.

Are carrots good for dogs? ›

Are carrots safe for me to feed my dog?” While some of the vegetables we love are unsafe to feed our dogs, carrots are a perfectly safe and nutritious treat for your dog.

Are deer antlers good for dogs? ›

Are Antlers safe for dogs to chew? Deer antlers are completely safe for your dog to chew and will provide a stimulating and nutritious snack they'll keep coming back to. Unwrapping an antler for the first time to hand to your doggo can be daunting.

Are milk bones healthy for dogs? ›

If given in moderation (and if your dog is not allergic to the ingredients), Milk-Bone treats should not have adverse effects on your dog's health, and even contain added vitamins and minerals. Milk-Bone's three main ingredients (wheat, beef, and milk) are generally not harmful to dogs in moderate quantities.

Do all dogs like pigs ears? ›

While there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to treats, almost all dogs love those crunchy pig ears. These are usually a rather inexpensive option for a savory treat to give to your pup.

Are pig ears like rawhide? ›

Pig ears and pig snouts are popular dog chews, but they really shouldn't be considered to be in the same category as rawhide chews, due to the rapidity with which a dog can consume them. Pig snouts consist largely of cartilage; pig ears are cartilage and fat.


1. Nick's Inappropriate Question
(The Future Files)
2. Dog MUKBANG Pitbull Eating Dried Pig Ears 【Crunchy Sounds】
(Bounce The Pit Bull)
3. How to clean a pig's ear
(Saeng Douangdara)
4. Pig Ear Dog Treats Linked To Salmonella
(CBS New York)
5. Maker of pig-ear treats for dogs fined for foul odors
6. Recalled Pig Ear Dog Treats Still Making Pets And People Sick
(CBS Chicago)
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