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.
- WebMD: Dog Dental Treats
- Canadian Veterinary Medical Association: Pigs' Ears Not Recommended for Dogs
- Clinical Infectious Diseases: Human Health Implications of Salmonella-Contaminated Natural Pet Treats and Raw Pet Food
- Univeristy of Wisconsin - Madison School of Veterinary Medicine: Selected Zoonotic Agents of Gastroenteritis That Can Be Acquired From Dogs and Cats
- The Whole Dog Journal: Healthy Low-Fat Diets For Dogs With Special Dietary Needs
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.