15 Healthy Alternatives to Pig Ear Chews for Dogs

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pig ear chews alternatives

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Pigs ears have become a favorite for dog owners looking for something chewy for their canine pets simply because they are in plenty and have little impact on their pockets, especially when compared to other dog chews.

Other reasons why dog owners go for pig ears include:

  • They have more flavor than other types of chews such as antlers, hooves, and rawhides.
  • Ears are formed from cartilages, so when they are well processed and dehydrated, they tend to be chewy and enjoyable. This makes them a perfect treat for any pup—small, delicate chewers, or senior dogs.
  • Like other chews, pig ears can keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy, which translates to fresh breath.
  • Finally, pig ears are natural sources of simple fats and several essential minerals

Are Pigs Ears Good For Your Dogs?

Pig ears are good and safe for dogs. They are chewy, flavorful, and nutritious. However, they have drawbacks that can’t be ignored, including:

1.Harmful Infections

While they may seem harmless, pig’s ears are ready hosts to harmful organisms such as salmonella. When your dog consumes an infected pig ear, he may end up sick with vomiting and diarrhea as the main symptoms.

You may also fall sick after handling them, especially if you don’t take measures to protect yourself. Remember that salmonella can be transmitted from pigs or dogs to humans.

2. Risk of Chocking

Pig’s ears are mouthwatering to dogs. When they lay their paws on them, they won’t let go. Some dogs are overzealous and want to gobble everything up in a hurry. In the end, they can swallow big chunks that can easily be trapped in their esophagus, stomachs, or intestines, causing abdominal pain, vomiting, and even gut perforations.

3. Recipe for Obesity

Irrespective of how trained, dogs will always be dogs. It’s their natural canine characteristic to eat beyond their fill when treated with a delicacy.

Unfortunately, pig ears contain a lot of fat. If you give your dog pig ears regularly, you will end up with an obese furry friend. So, if your dog is prone to obesity, suffering from pancreatitis, or currently on a bland diet, it is advisable to give him a different type of dog chew.

4. Dangerous Chemicals

Pig ears when left untreated will go bad within a short time. It is important to remember that the suppliers are in business. They will do anything to prevent losses. Due to the overwhelming supply of pig ears, the stocks are not cleared as quickly as suppliers want. Therefore, they have to preserve them with chemicals.

However, you may not know exactly the kind of preservatives and additives in the chews you generously give your dog—another reason you may find yourself making several trips to your vet sooner than you had expected.

5. Too Greasy

Due to their high-fat content, pig ears are fairly greasy. So, you may not want your dog to chew them on your carpet, furniture, or indoors in general.

What about puppies? Are Pig ears Good for Puppies?

Like we have highlighted above, pig ears can cause choking hazards, are laced with dangerous chemicals, are high in fat content, are hosts to harmful organisms, and can cause diarrhea.  

So, while you may let your puppies gnaw some swine cartilage once in a while, they are not the best treats for your fur babies, particularly during the puppy phase.

Best Pig Ear Chew Alternatives

What do you do when your dog has fallen in love with pig ears? Are there healthier alternatives? Short answer: there are plenty of healthy and sage options available. Here are our 15 best picks:

1.BRUTUS & BARNABY Whole Cow Ears

The first option in our list is whole cow ears. Whether your dog is a light or heavy chewer, cow ears are the best chew treats to get him. Unlike pig ears, beef ears are low in fat, 100% digestible, and are easy on most dogs’ stomachs.

The chews are made of soft cartilages wrapped in a thin skin, so they are not so easy to chew, which is a great aspect if you are looking for chews that will last. Your dog will take longer to finish one ear without the risk of any damage to his teeth.

Most importantly, the cartilages are potent sources of chondroitin and glucosamine, which are known to support joint function in dogs.  Lastly, they don’t crumble nor splinter, making them safe for your dog.

2. AFreschi Turkey Tendon for Dogs

Another excellent alternative to pig ears is these satisfying turkey tendons. They are high in protein, low in fat, have very low odor, and are easily digestible. Their tough texture and natural edges help scrape away any kind of tartar and plaque build-up on your dog’s teeth. They will, therefore, strengthen your dog’s gums and improve his overall dental health.

Made from 100% pure American-sourced turkeys, the tendons are great for all dogs, including those with sensitive tummies. They are also suitable for dogs that are choosy as they roasted to maximize their flavors.

3. Pawstruck Lamb Ears for Dogs

Another low-fat alternative to pig ears, lamb ears will help your canine friend keep the extra pounds away while getting enough proteins to build health and strong muscles. They are thoroughly cleaned before being slowly roasted in their natural juices to lock in their flavor and to make them strong enough to withstand your pup’s bite.

These lamb ears are also made exclusively from natural, new Zealand-sourced lamb ears and adhere to the strictest US quality assurance standards, so you can rest assured that they are free from funny artificial ingredients, chemicals, and hormones.

4. Beef Trachea Dog Chews

Made from windpipes of natural grass-fed bulls, trachea chews are great alternatives to pig ears and rawhides. They are packed with chondroitin and glucosamine, which have been proven to aid the formation of healthy joints. They are also low in fat and free from hormones, steroids, and artificial preservatives, which means that that you can give them to your dog on a daily basis as part of a balanced diet.

Trachea chews are also long-lasting and will seamlessly scrape away plaque and tartar from your pooch’s teeth, allowing him to maintain healthy gums and smoochable breath. They are also 100% digestible and never splinter hence safe for your dog.

5. Himalayan Dog Cheese Chew

Himalayan Dogs Chews are often considered to be near-perfect dog chews for a number of good reasons. They are long-lasting, unique, digestible, low odor, and non-staining. Made of Himalayas-sourced yak and cow milk, this is the type of chew that you will feel good giving your furry friend.

The chews are produced using traditional crafted methods, so you don’t need to worry about artificial additives, colors, flavors or blinding agents. They are also lactose-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and corn-free.  

6. EcoKind Pet Treats Yak Dog Chews

This is another yak dog chew and an alternative to Himalayan Dogs Chews. We couldn’t leave it out because it enjoys massive ratings by other dog owners, which simply shows how great it is. It is made from 100% natural yak and cow milk and is free from artificial additives and chemicals. They are also gluten and lactose-free, making them perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

The chews come in 6-8 inches long and 1-2 inches wide sticks, providing many chew hours for your dog. Lastly, they are odorless, so you don’t need to worry about any funny smell when your dog is busy chewing the sticks indoors.

7. Deer Antlers for Dogs

Deer antlers are natural, long-lasting, and odor-free chews that will not only keep your dog’s teeth clean but also keep him busy and out of trouble. They last longer than other chews and are renewable.

Antlers are tastier than nylon bones, non-allergenic, and are potent sources of calcium, phosphorous, and a host of other beneficial nutrients. They also support muscle and bone health and will massage and exercise your dog’s jaws as he chews them.

To avoid potential injury and choking hazards, chose the appropriate size of the antler, supervise your dog while he enjoys this chew, and consider throwing the chew immediately it splinters or develops sharp edges.

8. LuvChew Premium Rawhide-Free Dog Chews

If you are looking for pig ears alternatives but also concerned about the many health risks associated with rawhides, these rawhide-free dog chews made with real chicken and vegetables are the best bet. They are high in protein, low in fat, and easy to digest.

The chews are also long-lasting and will satisfy even heavy chewers without the risk of splintering or chocking your dog. They are also gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, grain-free, steroids-free, and made from US-sourced Free-range chicken.

9. Benebone Wishbone Dog Chews

Inspired by dog’s powerful sense of smell, Benebone’s Wishbone chews are not your average dog chew toys. They are made with 100% real bacon to offer your dog irresistible scent and flavor.

Each prong of the chew has deep flavor grooves to keep your dog interested in his chewing business for long. However, they are not edible and relatively hard hence may not be suitable for very aggressive chewers as they can damage the toy or injure their teeth.

10. Best For My Pets Natural Triple Sticks Chews

Another pig ears alternative chew that will take out your dog’s stress in no time is these delicious triple stick toys. They contain essential fatty acids that are great for your dog’s teeth and bones as well as his skin and coat. They also have greater flavor and low in odor.

Measuring 5-7 inches long, you can give these chews to all types of dogs, including puppies, small dogs, and even senior dogs. Besides helping clean your dog’s teeth, these treats also make effective training treats.

11. Pawstruck Natural Cow Hooves

If your dog prefers to chew for hours, then you should get him these natural cow hooves. They are durable and can easily last a full day if your dog is a moderate or power chewer.

Pawstruck Natural Cow Hooves are not your average cow hooves—they are thoroughly cleaned, carefully trimmed and roasted to boost their flavor. They are also sourced from grass-fed cattle and manufactured in FDA-approved processing facilities.

Hooves are also very cheap and even more cost-effective when bought in bulk. What’s more, the hooves are hollowed to allow you to squeeze peanut butter or cheese inside them.

12. Smartbones Rawhide-Free Dog Chews

This is another rawhide-free dog chew that you can give to your dog instead of pig ears. They are made of real chicken and nutritious wholesome vegetables. They are easy to digest and enriched with a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. These 100% delicious chews also boast potent glucosamine and chondroitin content for healthy bone, hip, and joints of your dog.

13. DreamSticks Rawhide-Free

If you are looking to satisfy your dog’s natural instincts but worried about the health concerns of pig ear chews, you will never go wrong with DreamSticks chews. These innovative, rawhide-free chews are not gummy like your typical rawhides and are easy to digest. They come in a wide range of tastes, including chicken, bacon, beef, and cheese, allowing you to choose the best flavor for your dog.

14. The Honest Kitchen Wolffish Ocean Dog Chews

If your dog is a bit choosy, these savory chewy sticks are what you should get him. Made with dehydrated wild-caught fish, these chews will not only support healthy gums for your dog but will also supply him with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids for a stronger immune system, cardiovascular health, excellent brain development in puppies.

If you are looking for pig ears alternatives because you prefer low-fat chews or your dog is sensitive to common proteins, this is the all-round chew to get him—it is low fat and contains lean proteins.

15. Jack & Pup Roasted Beef Ribs for Dogs

The last pig ear alternative on our list is the famous shin bone chews from Jack & Pup. The way these bones are prepared is what makes them stand out, especially when compared to typical butcher-sourced shin bones. They are professionally roasted then naturally smoked with pieces of tendon and meat to give them natural flavor.

For starters, shin bones are rich in bone marrows that are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals (such as calcium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, selenium, and magnesium). By getting these chews for your dog, you will help him fight off infections, amass energy, and maintain a healthy immune system.

Conclusion

Chewing helps dogs exercise their jaws and teeth as well as stimulate their brains. It is also important for teething puppies.

However, pig ears are not always the best chews. You should avoid them if your dog overweight, prone to bouts of pancreatitis, or if your dog is still a puppy. The above highlighted 15 options are good alternatives that you can give to your dog.

You can also consider buying your dog chew toys. Check out this post for the best options: 17 Best dog chew toys—inexpensive, durable and stimulating.