Back to home
in Boston Terriers, Health

Are Pig Ears Safe For Dogs?

  • August 31, 2019
  • By
Are Pig Ears Safe For Dogs?

Pig ears are an excellent chew and source of nutrients. But in light of the recent pig ear Salmonella scare, is it safe for dogs to eat them still? I was curious to learn more so I did some research to find out if pig ears are safe for dogs.

Dogs can safely eat pig ears if they are purchased from a reputable company who are sourcing their ears from the United States. Pig ears have 11% fat content so moderation when feeding them is key. Dogs should not eat more than one pig ear every ten to fourteen days. 

Feeding your dog real food is the foundation of health. It’s important you know how to feed them the chew, what to look for to keep it safe or else it might make them ill. In this article I’ll go over all you need to know when deciding to give your dog a pig ear chew.

The Safe Way To Feed Pig Ears

Pig ears are a challenging and delicious high protein chew. Dogs will enjoy gnawing through the tasty layers, thoroughly cleaning their teeth in the process.

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears

Trust The Company You Buy it From

The first step is to know and trust the company you are purchasing pig ear chews.

We purchase ours from REAL DOG BOX which delivers a monthly supply of treats and chews to our house.

They are completely transparent as to who they source their ingredients from. They often show how the raw product has arrived at their facility and show how they make it.

This is very unique as most companies use third party co-packers. In fact anytime you see the word “distributed by” on your dog food packaging that means the company is using a third party to prepare the food you’re making. While there is nothing wrong with that it indicates to me that the company isn’t always hands on when it comes to quality inspections.

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears

Know Where Your Pig Ears Are Sourced From

One other benefit in trusting where you get your pig ear chews from is that you can ask the company where the pig ears are sourced from. When we asked Real Dog Box this question they showed the pig ears being sourced from a rancher in California.

Nutritional Data of Dried Real Pig Ear Chews

According to the nutritional card we received from Real Dog Box, our pig ears have

Crude protein 70% minimum
Crude fat 11% minimum
Crude fiber 2% maximum
Moisture 8% maximum

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears

When we purchase our pig ears from Real Dog Box we know that they are
– Made fresh to order
– Naturally air dried for 60 to 64 hours
– Scrubbed and trimmed of fat
– Have ZERO preservatives or additives

Since our pig ears have nothing in them to prolong shelf life they last in the fridge for up to thirty days or in the freezer for up to sixty days.

Why Feed Pig Ear Chews to Your Dog

Variety and diversity is a foundation to good health. Pig ear chews although are hard, are edible to your dog.

As a fresh real food feeder (I cook my dog’s meals) having more than five different types of proteins is what we strive for in a given month.

Mixing up the different proteins allows your dog to benefit from the different nutrients. Also feeding them air dried pig ear chews means outside of feeding it to them fully raw, it has maximum bio-availability. The more times or higher heat food is cooked the less nutrients there are for your dog. Since Real Dog Box gently air dries their pig ear chews it has a lot of important nutrients for your pups.

Pig Ears Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

There is a misconception that “bones” or “chewing on bones” is what keeps your dog’s teeth clean.

When actually it is the gnawing action of softer chews or tearing of meat from bones that rub plaque away and scrape tartar away.

Pig ear chews fall in the hard chew category. Gnawing on them will certainly rub any thin layers of plaque and if the tartar isn’t too hard will even scrape tartar away.

At three and a half and four years old Orbit and Maggie’s vet has been impressed with the health and good and clean condition of their teeth and gums. I attribute this solely on their chews from Real Dog Box since I don’t brush their teeth at all.

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears

How Often Should I Feed My Boston Terrier’s Pig Ear Chews?

I have a rule that moderation is key. My two dogs will get four different types of chews in any given month. They are also so small at seventeen pounds that a pig ear chew becomes their meal. So on the nights that they get a pig ear, they will not get their dinner.

I like to feed my two a chew every other day and since I have on rotation at least four different kind of chews, I feed my them no more than one pig ear every seven to ten days.

Remember to gently introduce any new type of food to your dog. Sometimes some foods can cause funny stools. So if it’s your first time feeding a pig ear chew, time how long it takes them to eat it and the first session should be no more than fifteen minutes.

Take the chew away. Store it in the freezer in an open plastic bag (so that moisture can escape) and give it back to them a half a week to a week later.


DISCLOSURE:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation.  This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust.

Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons  is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


What to do if your dog has a stomach upset?

I keep slippery elm on hand. I’ve had the same tincture for over four years. I simply add two to three drops in their next meal and often times their stomachs are better within that same day. On a very rare occasion I had to give slippery elm over the course of two days.

If your dog gets an upset tummy and it does not go away please consult your vet.

Are Pig Ears Safe For Dogs?

Supervise your Boston Terrier While They Are Eating on their Pig Ear Chew

Boston Terrier’s generally have amazing appetites. I can only count on one hand how many Boston Terriers I have met that didn’t love to eat.

I have two Boston Terriers. Maggie and Orbit. Maggie is a methodical chewer she will chew from one end of the pig ear to the other slowly nibbling away until her chew is all gone.

Orbit acts like she has not eaten in four years. And she tears and gulps down her chews like a hyena that just took down their dinner. I sit by her and watch her chewing. Sometimes I will hold her chew to slow her down. If she manages to tear big pieces off that she tries to swallow I will take it away from her, cut it into smaller pieces and then give it back.

Use Pig Ear Chews As High Value Training Rewards

Pig ear chews are high in the value food chain. Use this time to have a two to three minute training session using lower value treats at the start of the session and reward with the pig ear chew at the end of the session.

Separate Your Dogs When Giving Pig Ear Chews

As a multiple dog owner I learned to take resource guarding away from day one.

As such if you have more than one dog, feed them their pig ear chew in their own separate crates so that they can chew in peace without fear that the other dog will be staring at them or try to take their chew away from them.

Alternatively I will put out two different blankets that are at least ten feet away from each other and give them their pig ear chews.

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears

Know How To Read the FDA and CDC’s Report on Contaminated Pig Ear Treats and Chews

Recently the FDA announced that there was a Salmonella outbreak from Pig Ear Treats. There’s a few things you need to know:
– The salmonella outbreak has affected people not dogs. It’s because certain pet stores store these in bins and when your hand goes into the bin to retrieve a pig ear chew and you don’t wash your hands you stand the risk of contamination.
– The pig ears have been identified as having been sourced from suppliers in Brazil, Columbia and Argentina.
– The media took parts of the investigative report and ran with it. Not covering all of the facts. A month ago there was a lot of coverage related to DCM in dogs. As a dog owner it’s your job to do a little investigative digging to find out all of the facts.

What’s interesting to notice is that on the CDC site they report the Timeline of Reported Cases People with outbreak strains of Salmonella by month.

And it shows that the timeline spans between 2015 and 2019. If you’re curious to know how many people (not dogs) are affected its 143 human illnesses assumed to be linked to pig ears over four years.

For the most part it was pretty minimal but then notice around November 2018 there is a spike … but it took the FDA eight months to report it.

I ask – why did the FDA wait so long to report the warning and then what motivates them to issue the alert?

The question I ask this is if you read the report from the CDC they say

“In interviews, ill people answered questions about animal and pet food contact in the week before they became ill. Of 100 ill people, 88 (88%) reported contact with a dog before getting sick. Of 80 people with available information, 56 (70%) reported contact with pig ear treats or with dogs who were fed pig ears.”

It’s of my personal opinion that the FDA could be influenced by the bigger pet food brands to pick on any products related to raw because dog owners are steering away from kibble or processed products.

The point being is just because the FDA issues a warning it’s still up to us dog owners to look and read the details because all the news media outlets will report are headlines.

There is speculation among the fresh feeding community that the FDA is picking on the raw food industry.  The recently cautioned consumers not to feed Answers Beef Formula to which Answers has responded with a complaint that the FDA is being selective in how they enforce guidelines.

For example why do they have a zero tolerance limit for pet food but 25% allowance of salmonella in HUMAN grocery food?

Let’s Look at Salmonella in Pig Ears Against Other Cases

There are worse things to be worried about:

  • Hills Vitamin D Recall – dogs have died from eating food with too much Vitamin D in 33 varieties.  This LIST contains all the lot information of the cans recalled.
  • There were more cases of Salmonella poisoning to people from recalled meat from your grocery store than recalled pig ears from three countries in South America that only affected people not dog.
pig ear dog chew salmonella timeline from cdc

Look At The Map Of Reported Cases for Pig Ear Reported Cases

The CDC has a map of *People infected with the outbreak strains of*/Salmonella/*, by state of residence, as of August 22, 2019*

cdc pig ear outbreak map

Most of the cases are on the east coast.

Where to Buy Pig Ear Treats and Chews

We’ve been customers of Real Dog Box for over two years. I know that when I purchase my treats and chews for my dogs that they will be sourced in the United States and clear of any risks.

You can learn more about them and purchase your own box via our referral link:

When you sign up with our referral link your dog gets an extra bag of treats and so do we. Boxes are customizable and there is no contract you can sign up for as long as you want or as short as you want.


Feeding my two dogs a Pig Ear Chew is a staple in our house. It provides them the important nutrients that they need, allows me to feed a mix of different proteins, and when I purchase from Real Dog Box I know that the pig ears are safe. Oh … and the last benefit – their teeth are sparkly clean!

Can My Boston Terriers Eat Pig Ears


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.  A self proclaimed Boston Terrier addict, (aka breed advocate) I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is my sensitive flower.  Blow on her skin wrong (ok I might be exaggerating) and she breaks out in a rash.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.    Read more about us. 

Join us on Facebook

By, August 31, 2019
  • 2
  • Salbatore
    February 13, 2021

    The FDA is working with affected firms to remove pig ear pet treats from the marketplace and identify places where they may have been distributed.

    • Maggie Loves Orbit
      February 20, 2021

      The pig ears that were bad came from internationally and luckily the issue hasn’t reared its head as of late.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram API currently not available.