Are Pigs Ears Good for Dogs?
Julie Sanders, DVM, Director of Operations at Heart Paw, compares pig ears to being the dog equivalent of ice cream for humans. We all love to indulge a little, but moderation is key.
“If used sparingly as a treat, pig ears are not bad, but theyre not healthy either,” Sanders tells Daily Paws.
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. For example, a 50-gram treat averages just over 200 calories. While it might not seem like a lot, these extra calories add up, especially for small dogs. A general rule of thumb is the calories from treats should make up 10 percent or less of your dogs daily caloric intake.
Sanders explains that, on average, a 20-pound adult dog requires only about 587 calories per day. “A 200-calorie treat makes up far more than 10 percent of that allowance,” she says. “For a single treat to fall within the 10-percent calorie rule, the dog has to be well over 50 pounds.”
For treats like pig ears, its best to calculate your dogs caloric needs and feed sparingly to prevent unhealthy weight gain. Sanders suggests cutting pig ears into halves, thirds, or quarters if youd like to feed them to smaller dogs, and save these treats for when you know your pup is going to need to be distracted (like if you have repair people in your home or guests are coming).
Are They Good For Cleaning Teeth?
There is evidence that teeth will appear cleaner after using a hard chew. But, tartar can still linger below the gum line. There isn’t any strong evidence at the moment that the use of any treats can prevent periodontal disease. The only exception is treats made specifically to improve dental health. The best way to ensure that your dog’s pearly whites stay clean and shiny is to brush using dog-friendly toothpaste on a regular basis.
Choose High Quality Products
When shopping for pig ears, make sure your dog gets only the highest quality pig ears that are free from chemicals, additives, and preservatives.
Remember, pig ears are a single ingredient treat and they do not need added chemicals or flavors. Be sure to purchase your dog’s treats from a reputable vendor to ensure that they’re made from quality ingredients.
Pig Ear Treats Causing Disease in People and Dogs
In recent years, there has been increased awareness in the importance of making the right food choices for your dog. Once upon a time, rawhide was considered a low fat, long treat perfect for keeping your dog occupied. Now though, the negative aspects of it are widely publicised and as a result, it is better to find more suitable long chews for your dog to enjoy.
A very good alternative to nasty rawhide, is a pig’s ear. Pigs ears are made up of cartilage making them a chewy and tasty treat. They are suitable for both large and smaller breed dogs.
Pigs ears are high in fat so should be avoided for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those on the, ahem, chunkier side of life (wed recommend lower fat Cows Ears).
As with any new addition to your dog’s diet, introduce pig’s ears gradually to avoid your dog getting an upset tummy. Pigs ears are a complementary addition to your dog’s diet and should not be fed on their own but as part of a balanced diet.