Do pig ears cause constipation in dogs? As a dog owner, you might be familiar with pig ears and maybe even the concerns on constipation after your pet consumes it. So what is the truth? Are pig ears (contrary to what producers claim!) not digestible and, therefore, the cause of constipation for many dogs?
So, do Pig Ears Cause Constipation in Dogs?
Yes, pig ears can constipate dogs. Although most food can cause constipation if they are not digestible and your dog does not chew well before it swallows, pig ears are one of the most dangerous chew treats that you can provide your dog.
Unfortunately, constipation is not the sole concern you should have when it comes to feeding your dog pig ears. So what are the other health issues that might arise from eating pig ears? Are there benefits that you can look forward to? Should you be feeding pig ears at all?
3 Dangers Of Pig Ears (Including Constipation)
We understand how easy it is for owners to buy pig ears from their local grocery stores and serve it to their dogs. Not only is this method simple, this treat tends to be cheaper than other dog chews, and, most importantly, it is a treat loved by so many dogs for its distinct scent of meat.
Unfortunately, as happy as it might make owners when they watch their dogs chew away at their favorite snack, it is also the owner’s responsibility to make sure the dog is safe.
For this reason, we recommend that you inform yourself of the following issues that may arise from pig ears:
First and foremost, constipation, though it might not seem devastating at first glance, can be one of the most dangerous health problems that might result from the consumption of pig ears for dogs.
It should be no surprise that this is a common problem for most dogs that eat pig ears: after all, the treat is meant to be difficult to break apart by chewing, making it a long-lasting chew toy as well as a fun snack. However, this very characteristic that makes up an effective chew snack is what also makes it such a large health hazard.
Before dogs swallow meals, it is important that they chew them well into smaller pieces so that their digestive system can handle them. Pig ears do not allow for this. As the dogs tend to swallow larger pieces, this leads to their digestive system not being able to digest and break the piece down, which leads to constipation.
The main problem with constipation in dogs is that this leads to an imbalance in lifestyle. First of all, the dog will be a lot more lethargic than it used to be. This is a natural result as constipation leads to stomach aches whenever your dog moves and, in worse cases, refusal to eat.
Because your dog is not able to absorb the necessary nutrients to produce energy, your dog will be a lot less active. Less active dogs can, in turn, lead to obesity, putting your dog into an unbreakable cycle of the unwillingness to exercise and refusing to eat.
All of this can lead to immune system deficiencies, which can be devastating in some situations, especially if your dog is already very old or very young. Simple illnesses like bacterial infections can be deadly if your dog does not have a healthy immune system, which is why you have to be careful!
2. Bacterial Health Issues
Before we go on and elaborate on what we mean here, we would like to first acknowledge that this might not apply for all pig ear chew products available on the market. However, there has been a recent announcement making it clear that most pig ears are not produced under sanitary conditions, urging companies to recall their products and take them off the shelves for now.
One of the most common strands of bacteria that was found in many pig ear products is salmonella, through which dogs and humans can suffer from digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.
The scariest part of this bacteria is that both humans and dogs can contract illnesses due to this strand. This means that if your dog is were to get sick, you are also going to get sick, leading to delayed medical care for your dog.
Moreover, salmonella can destroy eating habits and routines for your dog and yourself. Because of how your digestive system is affected, you won’t be able to eat when you have to and, in turn, will start eating during the night or not eat at all. Malnourishment and irregular eating schedules weakens the body for both dogs and humans, which can lead to fatigue. We recommend that you stay away from pig ears produced from businesses that have already been warned regarding health issues.
3. Agitation In The Mouth
Though this health issue is relatively less concerning compared to the two mentioned above, oral irritation is another inconvenience that can, if severe, cause a tremendous amount of stress for your dog.
Because of how pig ears that are sold in the market are not smooth, they tend to scratch the gum line and other parts of the dog’s mouth as it chews away unknowingly. If these injuries are not treated and your dog’s oral health isn’t the best, this can bring about bacterial infections.
Inflammations can make it very difficult for your dog to chew on its meals, meaning indigestion is a possible side-effect of oral irritation. Moreover, it is difficult to treat these problems because it isn’t sanitary nor safe for you to insert your hands into your dog’s mouth.
However, as long as you make sure that the pig ears are not too rough and your dog isn’t too old or too young, your dog should be able to chew on it without a problem.
Benefits Of Pig Ears
Now that it has been established that pig ears indeed cause constipation in dogs and several other health issues, it is time for us to look at the goods of these products.
1. Stress Relief
The most obvious benefit of pig ears is the stress-relieving aspect for your dog. Because chewing is a motion that is pretty much second-nature to your dog, it gives it a sense of comfort. In fact, if your dog is distressed by sudden changes in its environment, chewing on pig ears can be a great way to comfort it.
Therefore, pig ears can be used in situations like moving, dramatic weather changes, or a sudden change in lifestyle. As such, these products do have psychological benefits! However, it is worth noting that these benefits are not limited to pig ears.
As we have mentioned above, it is the motion of chewing that relieves your dog, not the pig ear. This means that you can replace pig ears with other chew toys or snacks that might be safer for your dog!
2. Financial Sense
This goes without saying: pig ears are one of the most economical “organic” chew treats that are available in the market today.
Many owners believe that rawhide bones are a thing of the past and are starting to look for less-processed alternatives.
Though there are well-known products like bully sticks, these tend to be much more expensive. On the other hand, pig ears are easier to access, making it a cheaper solution.
However, we do not recommend that you jeopardize your dog’s health for your convenience and economic advantages. We believe that there are way too many unnecessary health risks that you and your dog has to take in order to find something to chew on.
Instead of looking into pig ears, how about some alternatives that you might be able to take? First of all, your dog doesn’t need a chew snack. Instead, it can experience the same benefits of chew snacks (without the nutritional aspect, of course) with chew toys.
Chew toys, especially because they are strongly regulated, tend to be safer. Since your dog is less likely to swallow them, it poses fewer health risks for your dog’s digestive system!
Yes, but just because they are digestible doesn’t mean that they are easily digestible. As mentioned throughout this article, blockages and, therefore, constipation can occur as a result of consuming pig ears. We strongly advise you to be careful and be on the lookout.
Pig ears are not 100% safe for your dog. Instead, we recommend looking into alternatives that do not pose bacterial infection or oral agitation threats. Moreover, with the recent outbreak of salmonella from pig ear products, we do not believe pig ears to be the safest chew snack option for your best friend!
Once per week is enough both in terms of nutritional levels and for the purpose of reducing the risk of your dog getting sick from consuming it.
For healthy dogs, it takes less than five minutes for your dog to go through an entire pig ear. Use this as a standard to make sure your dog isn’t chewing on the snack for too long or swallowing it too quickly!