How Often Can Dogs Have Cow Ears?
Selecting treats for your dog can have a few pitfalls. Our dogs are our best friends and so personable, it’s easy to just give them the same things that we are eating. Thankfully in this information age, we know better, but we are also finding out bad things about treats we trusted all the time. It can be really frustrating.
One treat that your dog absolutely loves is cow ears and they’ve been a dog-treat staple for a long, long time. Are they safe? How often can dogs have cow ears?
You’ll be happy to know that the answer is ‘3 to 4 times a week’, but a lot of that is going to depend on your dog as well and how he or she takes to them. Today we’ll explore the facts that you need to know about cow ears, such as what kind of nutrition they bring to the table, whether or not they’ll attract bugs, and what you should watch out for.
This way you’ll have all of the facts that you need to make the RIGHT choice for your dog!
Table of Contents
How healthy are cow ears for my dog?
First off, from a nutritional standpoint, cow ears are an excellent treat option. They are full of chondroitin, as they are indeed ears and thus made of cartilage. This is great for dogs with arthritis as it is good for your dog’s joints in general.
Chewing them also helps to clean off some of that pesky plaque, as well, so as a treat cow ears are looking pretty good so far. As far as their actual nutrition goes, this treat is basically just a big, old chunk of protein. A cow ear is 1–3% fat and 66-90% protein.
Calorie-wise, this treat comes to about 30=35 calories and as long as you don’t overdo it, this treat shouldn’t be an obesity risk for your dog.
Do they smell bad or attract insects?
If you have never given your dog a cow ear before then you might have worries that the treat will be smelly or is going to potentially attract insects into your home. We’re happy to report that this is not going to be an issue.
As far as bugs, your dog isn’t going to leave it alone long enough for anything like that to happen. Chances are almost non-existent, in fact, even if you leave one out as a surprise and your dog somehow doesn’t find it. The cow ear is just dried meat, like beef jerky, and as far as the smell goes you won’t even notice it unless you put it up to your nose directly for a sniff.
Can cow ears give my dog diarrhea?
One thing that you may have heard is that cow ears can give your dog diarrhea. They can, but it is not very common. A dog might have diarrhea from ingesting too many cow ears or in cases where they are mildly allergic to beef protein.
Most commonly, though, if your dog is getting diarrhea after ingesting cow ears then it is a matter of preservatives or even bacteria that may have built up on a cow ear that was purchased from an inferior (or possibly unlucky) vendor. This is why it is important to follow a few ground rules when purchasing your dog’s new favorite treat.
Cow ear considerations
When you purchase cow ears for your dog there are a few ‘hard and fast’ considerations to keep in mind. Always be sure to remember the following when it comes to these treats:
- Know your vendor – While the bacteria issue is rare and more commonly occurs with pigs ears, ears purchased from a vendor that you don’t trust are a bad idea. Make sure that you get your cow ears from a source that you trust who can tell you where they originally came from.
- Clean your hands after handing cow ears – While bacterial build-up is rare with a reputable vendor, you will always want to clean your hands after handing raw meat, even if it is dry, raw meat. This goes double for kids.
- Avoid smoked cow ears – While smoked meats are delicious and we don’t want our dogs to miss out, they are known to contribute to cancer risk in dogs. Going with raw, unprocessed, and preservative-free cow is always the best choice. Don’t worry, your dog won’t mind!
Some last-minute advice on those cow ears
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on cow ears you may feed them to your dog with confidence. All-natural cow ears have been a favorite dog treat for as long as there have been cows and dogs, so you don’t have anything to worry about.
Some last bits of advice that we would offer are that you stick to moderation and that you replace cow ears when they get chewed down into small chunks. While they are perfectly healthy to eat, small ear-chunks can be a danger because your dog may try to ‘wolf’ it down and that can be a choking hazard.
Other than this, they are just about the perfect treat. So stock up on those cows’ ears and your dog will thank you for it!
For more information on what foods dogs can and can’t eat please see our article here.