How Many Pig Ears Should I Feed My Puppy?

by Jon Mohrman
    There are options to chew on other than pig ears to protect your puppy's teeth.

    There are options to chew on other than pig ears to protect your puppy's teeth.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    Dried pig ears are a fairly popular treat given to dogs. Most canine companions love gnawing away at them. They also have a reputation as beneficial dental aids that help remove food particles and plaque during chewing. However, pig ears may not be the best choice to feed to your puppy.

    Pig Ears and Dental Health

    If you want to give your puppy pig ears for her oral health, studies have failed to establish any such benefits, as WebMD notes. In fact, chewing on hard pig ears can lead to broken teeth in puppies or dogs with dental disease. Instead, feed your puppy kibble or low-calorie treats or chews designed to provide dental benefits. Regular tooth and gum brushing is essential, too. Ask your vet for product suggestions, whether a dental rinse is a good idea and for a demonstration of proper brushing technique.

    Dangers of Pig Ears

    Pig ears have been found on more than rare occasions to be contaminated with salmonella and other bacteria. This can cause illness in puppies, who are at high risk for dehydration when feverish or suffering diarrhea or vomiting. Humans and other pets can be sickened by bacterial contamination, too. Also, pig ears are high in fat and calories, contributing to digestive discomfort and unhealthy weight gain and increasing the risk of pancreatitis in susceptible dogs.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.

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