All dog owners have been in the position where they just want to buy new food for their pet, but the offers in the pet shops are just too attractive to pass by and they are tempted by treats which would make their four-legged friends happy.
Ears are one of the most popular dog snacks, but hardly any dog owner has really been informed as to where they come from, how they are made and whether they are as well suited in a dog’s diet as originally believed.
In this article, we are going to discuss exactly how cow ears are produced and whether they are a suitable dog food snack or treat.
How are Cow Ears Produced?
Cow ears are produced as a waste product during the slaughter of cattle. The ears are dried, packed and shipped. However, the exact production varies depending on the dealer.
Most are dried at 130 degrees in a hot air oven.
By drying the ears, they turn crispy and firm. The cow ears consist of almost 90% protein. Added to this are fat, raw fibres, raw ash and moisture.
When buying, you should make sure that the ears are not chemically treated and contain no additives.
Also, added sugar or dyes should be avoided. In general, most cattle ears meet these requirements, especially if processed in the EU.
Are Cow Ears Recommended for Dogs?
Generally, it can be said that the cow ears are much healthier for dogs than for example pig ears. Cow ears are larger but contain hardly any fat.
This ensures long chewing fun for the pet but does not endanger your dog’s weight and health. They are also very digestible and tolerable.
Cow ears are also ideal to promote the natural chewing instinct of the four-legged friends. By chewing, the jaw muscles are strengthened and the salivation glands are stimulated.
Also, the teeth are cleansed and tartar counteracted, which often needs to be surgically removed in older dogs.
The cattle ears are a good supplement to the daily dog food. If you feed your dog chewing snacks regularly, then you should reduce the feed ration accordingly.
Considerations During the Feeding Process
Cow ears have a great smell for the dog and they taste great. When you feed your dog a cattle ear, keep in mind that chewing makes the smell even stronger.
If you do not want any unpleasant scents in your home, you should send your pet to the garden or outside when chewing!
However, like all chewy dog snacks, you should always supervise your dog as some animals can get greedy and swallow the chew, which may lead to choking.This not only applies to cattle ears, but also to all other chews.
As the cow ears become soft and greasy when chewed, make sure that your dog is not lying on her favourite rug or jumping on your sofa or bed while they are busy with the chew!
In some dogs, chewing bones can lead to bleeding gums. It is recommended that you check in for traces of blood on the snack on a regular basis. If this is the case, the dog’s gums are not healthy and a visit to the vet is recommended.
Since cow ears are largely made from protein and too much protein can have a damaging effect on the dog’s kidneys.
With this in mind, it is recommended you should feed cow ears to your dog no more than 3 times per week.
It is important to understand and be aware of the dog’s digestive system, as too much of a nutritional source could cause a negative effect for the animal. Of course, there are dogs who tolerate a cow ear every day.
However, the nutritional values derived from the dogs daily feed and snacks must be adjusted accordingly to ensure the optimum daily nutritional values are maintained.
Are Cow Ears a Suitable Snack for all Dogs?
Always make sure that your dog does not hurt themselves while chewing and that their gums are not bleeding as a result of the snack.
With regards to puppies, if the cow ears seem too big, then you should resort to smaller alternatives.
However, in general, small dogs, puppies and seniors can be given cow ears as long as you consider the size and the teeth of your dog. Often, old dogs have few or no teeth left and therefore, the hard snack is unsuitable. For younger dogs, they are especially well suited during the period of tooth change.
The digestion of puppies and young dogs is often more sensitive than in adult quadrupeds and therefore, diarrhoea may become an issue.
Chewing is also very stressful for your puppy. Make sure that you do not overwhelm them and feed too much.
Moreover, if your puppy reacts with diarrhoea, it is recommended that you wait a few weeks or months until you try with the cow ear again.