Pigs’ ears have a high fat content and can lead to obesity. They can also cause stomach upset in some dogs. Because they are high in fat, they can irritate the pancreas, causing pancreatitis in susceptible dogs. This results in vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Pig’s ear treats can also be a source of Salmonella bacteria. The federal government recently issued a warning that pig’s ear dog treats from a number of manufacturers were contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and other serious long-term complications. Some pets that become infected may not show clinical signs.
These products can also be a risk to humans, according to the Health Canada warning. Transmission of the bacteria to humans can be via direct handling of contaminated product or handling of pets who may have become infected. For this reason, owners are advised to wash their hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after handling pig’s ear treats. Better yet, consult your veterinarian about these products or avoid them altogether.
Note: This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.