These days many pet parents are concerned about the dog treats available at the store. In fact, every day it seems there’s another news story about a dog food or treat recall due to harmful ingredients. Not only that, but dog treats and dog foods made in other countries have been known to contain ingredients harmful to dogs.
So, what should you do? Your fur baby is precious to you and you want only the best when it comes to his food and treats. Have you ever considered making homemade dog treats for your pup?
Benefits of Homemade Dog Treats
Here are some of the benefits of making homemade treats for your fur baby!
1. Treats made at home are safe: not only can commercially made dog snacks contain harmful substances, but some of the ingredients are darn right unhealthy. Many contain preservatives and other chemicals are unhealthy for pets. However, if you make treats at home, then you’ll have full control of the ingredients. You can choose natural, fresh ingredients that are healthy for your canine friend.
2. Treats you make are healthier: by controlling what you put into your dog treat recipes, you can greatly affect your dog’s health. Choose healthy fats, but use recipes that don’t use too much fat. Avoid ingredients such as salt and sugar, too. And if your dog has food allergies, you can avoid those ingredients that cause him trouble. You’ll have a happy dog with a healthy heart by only giving him treats that are good for him.
3. Making your own saves money: homemade dog treats are not only healthier, but are also cheaper than store-bought treats. Look for ingredients you can buy in bulk and that are easily found in any grocery store. Making the treats yourself is generally cost-effective—you’ll not only have a healthy, happy fur baby, but you’ll have a happier and fatter wallet, too!
4. Dogs will love the homemade flavor: your homemade doggie treats will also taste better. By making your own, you can choose to flavor the homemade snacks with ingredients your pup prefers. For instance, if your dog loves liver, then make treats with this flavor. You can also make a wide variety of treats—from pig ears to doggie cookies—your dog will enjoy the variety.
These are some of the benefits you and your fur baby will enjoy by making your own dog treats. Now let’s look at one popular idea that most dogs love—pig ears for dogs DIY.
Are Pig Ears Bad for Dogs?
Pig ear treats are a favorite with most dogs. Their love of this piggy delicacy is probably due to the fact that pig ears contain a high amount of fat. This gives the ears a crunchy texture that dogs love. However, there are a few things you should consider about commercially prepared pig ear doggie treats. These yummy treats usually have a high fat content. If your fur baby eats them too often, he could gain weight and suffer other health problems. This is true with homemade or commercially prepared pig ear dog treats.
Commercially made pig ears can carry a risk of salmonella, especially if undercooked or raw. In the past few years, these treats (made by different companies) have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration for just this reason. Salmonella is a nasty bug that can cause terrible stomach and digestive upsets in dogs and their humans. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and unrelenting diarrhea. Not a pleasant experience for you or your precious pet.
Digestive problems can also be common with pig ears. The high fat content can cause digestive issues for some dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs. In addition, pig ears can pose a choking hazard, especially in smaller dogs who try to eat big chunks of the ear. These chunks can even cause intestinal blockages in small dogs.
These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when choosing pig ears for your dog, whether homemade or commercially prepared treats. It’s important to note that homemade pig ear treats can also carry salmonella if not cooked properly. So be sure to cook/dry the ears at a temperature and long enough to kill any bacteria to keep your pup from getting sick.
Can Puppy Eat Pig Ears?
Most puppies love to chew—especially when they’re teething. In order to protect furniture and their favorite shoes, some pet parents choose to give their puppies pig ears. But are these safe for puppies?
Pig ears are generally not recommended for puppies. Just like with rawhide, pig ear cartilage can pose a choking hazard to puppies and can also cause painful intestinal blockage. It’s a good idea to check with your vet, to see if they say it’s OK to give pig ear treats to your puppy.
Pig Ears for Dogs Recipe
Now we’re ready to look at some different recipes you can use to make your dog homemade pig ear treats! This is a pig ears dog treat how to make for anyone who wants a tasty, economical and healthy snack for their fur baby!
Note: You can find pig ears at some grocery stores, Asian stores, or at the local butcher shop.
Tip: You may want to cut/slice each pig ear into smaller pieces. You could try to slice them each ear into 3-4 pieces, or smaller if you have a small dog. Just make sure they’re not too big—to keep the treats from becoming a chocking hazard or causing an intestinal blockage.
Dehydrated Pig Ears for Your Pup
Chances are your dog loves jerky! Well, then your pup may enjoy these dehydrated pig ear dog treats you make at home.
What You’ll Need
- Dehydrator or oven
- Dehydrator racks or cookie sheets
- Pig Ears
1. Wash your hands before starting—this is something we all should do when preparing to cook our own or our pup’s food every day!
2. For the dehydrator: place pig ears on the dehydrator racks for 16-24 hours. To make sure all bacteria, etc. have been killed, you might also put the dehydrated ears in the oven at 257 F (126 C) for about 10 minutes. This is just to make sure the ears are thoroughly dried and won’t make your pup sick.
3. Once completely dried, let your fur baby enjoy!
Baked Pig Ear Dog Treats
Here’s healthy baked pig ear dog treat your canine companion is sure to love!
- Pig ears
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (or less, depending on your dog’s health requirements)
- 2 tablespoon ham flavored bullion (or any flavor your pup prefers)
1. Check the pig ears for any hairs. Most of the time, they should already have the hair removed. If not, then you can either shave the hairs off (using a razor) or burn the hairs off with a cigarette lighter.
2. Clean the pig ears. Fill a large stock pot about 3/4s full of water. Place the pig ears into the pan of water and bring to a boil. Immediately move the pot from the burner. Remove the pig ears to a colander and rinse under cold running water.
3. Rinse out the stock pot and refill with cold water, until it’s about 3/4 s full. Add the seasonings to the water, and then place the pig ears into the water and allow to come to a boil. Turn down the heat and let the pig ears simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the ears to retain the flavors from the seasonings.
4. Remove the pig ears from the pot and place them on paper towels to dry. At this point, you might choose to cut the pig ears into smaller slices. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors for this.
5. Next, cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then place the pig ears in a single layer on the baking sheet.
6. Spray or brush the sides of each ear lightly with olive or vegetable oil.
7. Bake the pig ears at 200 F for about 5 hours, until the ears a golden-brown color and crispy. They should be hard to bend, which ensures all moisture has been removed. If they’re still bendable, you might put them back in the oven for a few more hours until they hard. You want to ensure all bacteria and pathogens are killed before your pup gnaws on these.
8. Let your fur baby enjoy—watch him get that happy doggie grin as he’s eating your homemade pig ear treats!
Homemade Smoked Pig Ear Dog Treats
Do you have a smoker? Then you can even make smoked pig ear treats for your dog!
What You’ll Need:
- Wood chips (your choice)
- Pig ears
- Bullion (dried or crystals)
1. Prepare the smoker and wood chips per the manufacturer’s directions or as you normally would.
2. Prepare the pig ears by washing them and removing any hair. Cut into slices or small pieces (a safe size for your dog, so the pieces can’t pose a choking hazard or cause digestive problems).
3. When the smoker’s ready, brush each side of the pig ear pieces with some vegetable oil or olive oil. Then sprinkle the ears with salt and bullion (if desired—these ingredients are optional). Then place the ears on the uppermost rack in your smoker and let them smoke for about 4-5 hours. The ears should be hard and not easy to bend. If they’re not quite finished, you could place them in the oven at 200 F until they’re completely dried. You want to make sure all bacteria are killed before letting your fur baby eat them!
4. Let your dog enjoy these tasty smoke pig ear treats!
Now you have some different homemade pig ear treats that are easy to make for your fur baby! Not only that, but you can control the ingredients and make sure they’re healthy, as well as yummy. Your dog will fall in love with one of these recipes—it’s a sure thing!
Related Sources: HealthLine Psychology Today NIH.Gov