It’s almost impossible to walk into a pet store and not see an aisle fully-stocked with rawhides and pig ears. If you’ve walked down that aisle and weren’t sure which one to choose for your pup, don’t worry! We’ve got your back.
In general, pig ears are the part of the pig’s ear called the pinna. The pinna is the flap of the ear that contains mostly cartilage and skin and little to no muscle. Pig ears get harvested as by-products by the farming industry.
Rawhide comes from the skin of cows or horses. The hides are cleaned, and then they are either cut, or they are ground. After this, they’re pressed into the chewable treats you see in pet stores. To make these treats taste better, rawhides usually contain liver, beef, or chicken flavors.
Both of these treats can be chewed for hours on end by average chewers and should be avoided by power chewers since it can be a potential safety hazard.
Breaking it down:
We’ll be giving an in-depth review of rawhides and pig ears as general dog treats. Then we’ll compare two specific products, one from each category, found on chewy.com. We’ll also give you a review of the chosen products.
We’ll choose the winner by comparing the following:
- Any potential hazards associated with the treat
- How effectively the treat helps your puppy’s teeth and gums
- If the treats have any impact on current health conditions
- How easy the treat is to digest
Bones & Chews Pig Ears
Pig ears are a lot thicker than the other parts of the pig. The thickness, along with the long-lasting nature of this treat, helps keep your pup chewing for hours and can give them a full day of teeth cleaning goodness.
Since they are tough, as your pup continually chews to soften them, the abrasive action of the pig ears help clean the teeth of buildup and keep them clean.
Does this mean that pig ears aren’t good for dogs who can’t chew hard things since they’re so tough? Not at all. Pig ears are actually great for light chewers. They’re tough, but they are definitely not as tough as rawhides, for example.
Pig hears can pose a health threat to dogs who are at risk of obesity or pups who have pancreatitis. This is because pig ears are very high in fat and can cause pancreatitis to worsen and weight gain.
Also, pig ears can be at risk of having a salmonella infection. This threat is present with all-natural treats, including rawhides.
However, it’s more prevalent in pig ears because pigs are dirtier than cows and horses. They roll around in the mud and feces, increasing the risk of salmonella infections.
Pig ears are quite digestible, but it’s essential to keep in mind that every dog is different. If your pup already has a sensitive digestive system, pig ears can possibly upset their tummies and cause vomiting or diarrhea.
If you want to know how your pup might react to these treats, try only giving them one and see how that goes. If they don’t have any gas, vomiting, or diarrhea, then their digestive systems can probably handle the pig ears.
As mentioned previously, this treat is not advisable for power chewers. If your pup is able to chew through the pig ear and leave behind big bits, those bits could be swallowed whole, causing intestinal blockages and can be a choking hazard.
Pig ears not made in the USA are more likely to contain harmful toxins for your pup. These pig ears are made in the USA to ensure your dog is getting the best quality. The risk of toxins and other dangerous chemicals being in your pig ears will be slim with USA-manufactured products.
With no sugar, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients, this treat is great for pups with sensitive digestive systems. Not to mention that they are grain and gluten-free.
This can also be useful to dogs who have certain skin sensitivities. Grain-free diets can help improve your pup’s skin issues and can also aid in keeping their digestive issues to a minimum.
Bone & Chews Pig Ear will keep your pup chewing for hours, helping keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh. This treat is available for all breeds and sizes, which makes them all-inclusive and is an added bonus.
These pig ears are high in fat, however, which may not be ideal for dogs currently suffering from obesity or pancreatitis.
- Help keep teeth clean
- Dogs love the taste of pork
- Easy to chew for all dogs
- Fat content is very high
- Might upset your pup’s stomach
- Risk of bacterial infection
Better Belly Dental Total Care Rawhide Roll Dog Treats
As your pup chews rawhides, they begin to soften and wrap around your dog’s teeth. The rubbing motion helps to clean off tartar and plaque. This keeps your pup’s teeth and gums healthy. All the chewing action also strengthens their jaw.
Rawhides generally won’t impact your pup’s health. In fact, it can even help them. Since rawhides last for several hours, dogs with anxiety may find them useful. Keeping themselves occupied can help ease separation anxiety.
If your dog is prone to demand barking when they’re bored, rawhides can also keep them busy and reduce the barking.
However, these treats can also be exposed to bacteria like salmonella if safety standards aren’t met. They have less of a chance of this happening than pig ears, though.
Rawhides tend to not be easily digestible unless specially formulated to be so. This can cause your puppy’s stomach to be easily upset, a lot more than pig ears. If your pooch has a sensitive digestive system, rawhides might give them a rough time.
Also, rawhides are not recommended for strong chewers, just like pig ears. These dogs are able to bite off really large portions of the rawhide. This poses a major choking hazard, even under supervision.
This can also cause intestinal blockages. Rawhide swallowed in large amounts can take days to digest and can make your pup extremely sick, and can even be deadly.
These rawhides, in particular, are for small breeds, but the brand has rawhides for larger dogs too.
They’re gluten-free with a focus on dental care and digestibility. To keep your pooch’s teeth healthy and their breath fresh, these rawhides include parsley seed oil and sodium bicarbonate.
They have parsley seed oil and sodium bicarbonate to keep your pooch’s teeth healthy and their breath fresh. These rawhides will keep your pup chewing for hours, which will help clean off plaque and stuck food particles, similar to us humans flossing and brushing.
Better Belly Dental Total Care Rawhides don’t contain any artificial colors or fillers, aiding in its digestibility. Additionally, these rawhides have collagen fibers that are easily broken down. This reduces the chance of blockages and helps your pup’s stomach from getting upset.
One major downside of these rawhides is that they contain sorbitol, which may have a laxative effect on your pup depending on how sensitive their digestive system is.
- Help keep teeth and gums healthy
- Prevents pups from chewing on furniture
- Can relieve anxiety
- Risk of exposure to bacteria
- Poses a choking hazard
- Not easily digestible
Winner – Bones & Chews Pig Ears
Pig ears in general are a lot better than rawhides. Rawhides do clean the teeth better, but the choking hazards of these outweigh those dental benefits. And pig ears are still a great treat to keep your pup’s teeth and gums healthy!
Although pig ears pose a risk to dogs who are battling their weight or are suffering from pancreatitis, they don’t pose any new health risks for dogs who are not already sick.
They can be especially useful for puppies since they are high in fat, and puppies need more overall nutrients than dogs.
Pig ears are also a lot more digestible than rawhides. Even with the added digestible ingredients in some rawhides, they still don’t compare to pig ears. The more digestible these types of treats are, the better. It means there is less of a chance of intestinal blockages and stomach upset.
The flavors of pig ears are also all-natural: it’s pork. Dogs tend to really like the taste of pork, so this is an added bonus to keep your pup chewing for hours. Rawhides, on the other hand, have additional flavors added, and sometimes this flavoring can cause stomach upset.
Both rawhides and pig ears present the risk of salmonella infections. Pig ears do have a higher risk; however, those manufactured in the USA with strict standards tend to be free of bacteria.