Are Pig Ears Digestible for Dogs?

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Are pig ears digestible for dogs? Pig ears, regardless of how controversial they may be among dog owners, are quite a popular snack among dogs, but are there any digestive problems caused by it? Although they seem to really enjoy the taste of meat that can’t be replicated, is it really safe for you to feed the exotic treat to your dog?

So, are pig ears digestible for dogs? Yes. Pig ears are just like any other type of meat: they are digestible, just like pork chops and other cuts. In fact, these tend to be a fun source of protein in addition to being a chew toy, which is why some owners like to purchase pig ears over other chew toys/consumables for their dog.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe to eat. Just like how, although most objects are digestible they are harmful, pig ears, more recently, were determined to be a threat to your dog’s health. It is known to cause different health issues such as digestive problems and bacterial infection.

Can dogs digest pig ears?

3 Potential Health Problems Caused by Pig Ears

In September 2019, U.S. Health Officials made an official announcement to avoid all pig ear dog treats because they were a suspect for the health crisis among dogs that spread across dogs that ate pig ears.

In fact, there were many different salmonella strains in these pig ear products, which meant that either most of these were manufactured under unsanitary conditions or were inherently bad on your dog’s health. Along with this problem, however, are many others that are related to bacterial infections and illnesses.

1. Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis seems to be the most common disease when it comes to contracting sicknesses from pig ears, especially in September of 2019.

Although it is quite rare to actually get this illness, this disease appeared to be very prevalent when large amounts of salmonella bacteria strains were found.

Some symptoms of salmonellosis in dogs are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased activity level

In short, if your dog seems to be low on energy and is suffering from digestive issues, you should start worrying about whether your dog contracted salmonellosis or not.

In this case, we strongly advise you that you visit the veterinarian immediately: there is not much you can do at home when your dog is already showing symptoms of salmonellosis.

In fact, you need professional care and medication in order for you to cure your dog. However, salmonellosis is not usually deadly for dogs, so there is not much to worry about when it comes to fatality rates as long as they are placed in professional hands in a reasonable amount of time.

Humans can also contract this disease in the more familiar form of Salmonella Infection.


And the symptoms of this disease seems to be far worse for humans:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Bleeding

If humans were to touch pig ear products and somehow let the bacteria into their system (via mouths, noses, or eyes), then they and their dogs would contract illnesses related to the bacteria.

In such cases, it is difficult to provide the right treatment for the dog because someone else is already sick. This is exactly what makes this disease so scary for dogs and humans: more often than not, both parties are victims of the sicknesses caused by salmonella.

This is one of the biggest risks of feeding pig ears to your dog, so be careful! Make sure that the pig ear product is clean before feeding it to your dog and wash your hands immediately after touching the chew treat.

2. Indigestion

Though pig ears are technically digestible, that does not mean that dogs can consume them with zero risk of indigestion.

Digestibility all depends on how healthy a dog is. If your dog has not been eating much, is not too active, or immediately rolls over to the side after it eats, your dog will most likely suffer from indigestion problems. Some common symptoms of indigestion are vomiting, choking, mucus, and unwillingness to eat.

Luckily, this sickness isn’t the worst for your dog as they can be treated at your house as long as the symptoms do not persist for a long time or are too extreme for you to handle.

If you see that your dog is suffering from indigestion, stop feeding it chewy treats that are difficult to thoroughly break down before swallowing.

Instead, we recommend that you look into softer meals such as boiled carrots or soup/stew. Moreover, if you can get your dog to walk frequently, it will greatly benefit its digestive system, even helping with eradicating such problems!

3. Choking

Like all chew products that are meant to be resilient and difficult to break into smaller pieces, pig ears pose a choking threat to dogs, especially smaller ones.

Due to weaker jaw strength and smaller throats, smaller dog breeds are susceptible to choking. Because of their relatively weak jaws, they can’t really chew enough on the pig ears to break it down into reasonable sizes for swallowing. And, because of their small throat, it is even hard for them to consume this chewy snack!

As a result, choking is a common negative consequence with chewy consumables, and pig ears are no exception.

Benefits of Pig Ears

It is without a doubt that pig ears have their risks, especially when it comes to bacterial infection and digestive problems. However, they do have their benefits.

Pig ears are one of the most popular chew treats that are available on the market today.

This is because, not only can owners keep them in the cabinets for a long time, the dogs absolutely love this treat for its meaty scent.

Dogs, as descendants of wolves, are accustomed to the taste of meat, and they most need large amounts of protein to maintain an active, healthy life. Pig ears work great as a source of protein which is important for younger dogs as they are in their developing stages.

Unfortunately, we do not think pig ears are an appropriate treat for small dogs. If your dog is young but big, then pig ears are safe. However, if your dog is small like most young dogs are, then pig ears start to pose a larger choking threat for your companion!

Related Questions

Are pig ears safe for dogs to eat?

We don’t recommend you feed your dog pig ears as of now. Because of the concerns surrounding salmonella, there is a risk of putting you and your dog in danger. However, if you know that the pig ears product is made under sanitary conditions, provide them to your dog at your own discretion.

Can pig ears cause blockage?

Yes. Blockage basically occurs whenever a large object lodged in your dog’s intestines and a large piece of pig ear treat can do exactly that.

Do pig ears make dogs sick?

Yes, they can. Pig ears tend to be cuts that are not meant to be eaten by humans, which means they are processed under subpar sanctuary conditions. Therefore, there is a risk of getting sick.

Are cow ears digestible for dogs?

Yes. In fact, some choose to feed cow ears as they tend to be lower in fat. However, the risk of infections and blockages still lies. Provide them at your own discretion.

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