* Prices may differ from that shown
I have 4 dogs and i'm always treating them with new food/treats and toys, and last year i discovered Pig Ear treats. At first, i assumed they were just rawhide or some other form of edible material that were designed and coloured to look like pig ears. I was wrong! I decided to buy a pack of 2, although there are larger packs available (packs of 10, packs of 20 and a box of 50) I didn't want to go overboard incase i couldn't stomache having them in the house and also i wasn't sure if my dogs would be keen as they'd never tried a pig ear before.
The main reason i decided to buy the Hollings brand of pig ear and not a cheaper one was because i've bought Hollings products before and have been pleased with the outcome; the treats always last well and my dogs love them.
I bought my pack of 2 from one of my favourite pet treat suppliers, Petplanet for £1.97 which works out at just short of £1 each which is pretty expensive in my opinion! As i have got 4 dogs i had to get 2 packs of 2 which worked out at £3.94, which to be honest is quite a high price tag in my opinion for just 4 pig ears, however it's not the type of treat i will buy regulary due to both the price and the fact that i don't want my dogs eating these everyday as i use this particular type of treat as a one-off sort of thing. As mentioned before though, Hollings in my opinion are a good company which produces/sells high quality products.
Upon inspecting the packet it was obvious that these were 100% the real thing due to the little window displaying them in all there shiney glory and i felt slightly sick. I'm not a huge lover of pigs, but to think that the poor animal had its ears chopped off and sold as doggy treats did make me feel slightly sorry for it, however, i turned my sensible head on and viewed it as 'the ears would of only gone to waste if this product hadn't been made and they are just a by-product of the meat industry.'
The packet is minimalistic but informative. It's blue & yellow, with the hollings logo, the amount of pig ears stated of the front (2 pig ears in this case), it states it is a 100% natural treat (additive & preservative free) and tells us that it contains 'trimmed, dried, bacteria tested and quality checked' pig ears. The ears are visible in a little plastic window of the packet, in which it simply looks like a shiney bit of bacon really. There's not much gruesomeness to it however once out the packet, i started to feel slightly more 'oh my god this really is a pig ear! can't touch it oh my god.'
In the end i resorted to picking the pig ear up with a bit of tissue. It was quite ridiculous really and i now (as i've had several packs), am able to just hold it with my fingers like any other normal person. It feels quite greasy and smooth and i do usually wash my fingers after due to the slight feel of grease after handling. Size wise they vary, most are medium to large and are unshaped so are simply dried up pig ears so are the excact same shape as they were while in possesion of the poor piggy however some are slightly curled at the edges due to the high temperature during cooking. Colour wise they're a red colour (a bit like burnt bacon) and if held up to the light are almost translucent due to bein dried out so much.
Giving them to my dogs was a bit weird because non of us were quite sure what to do. The dogs didn't know if the ear was a toy or treat and i wasn't sure at first if i should cut it up or not. In the end after a bit of playing and sniffing they tucked in. My little hoarder Pip gathered the other dog's chews up but in the end let them have theres. Obviously you do not cut up the chew and it's fine to give the dog the ear whole, but i would reccomend supervision as my dogs have tried to swallow them whole a few times. Also, if you have a food posessive dog it's not a great idea to buy this as my huskey is somewhat food posessive and anyone with a food posessive dog will know that bones/large treats make the dog very anxious and upset aswell as agressive in most cases so i'd 100% avoid this. My huskey had to be locked in the kitchen with this until he had finished which took him ages because he wouldn't eat it until we all stood around watching.
My dogs, 2 labs, a husky and a jack russel had no problem chewing the treats as they are all fit and healthy with good teeth, however an older dog would likely struggle with the ears as they're so hard and even when bitten up into bits they need alot of chewing before the dog can swallow it. (if your dog is the type that chews and swallows rather than just swallow!) I'm lucky that in my dogs all take time (mostly!) when eating so it's easy to supervise without watching 24/7 and if i feel that the chew has become too sharp or the bits that are coming off are too sharp i can take the ear off them. With faster eaters i'd reccomend supervising them until the chew is finished to avoid any choking.
The smell isn't nice but it's not unpleasent. I'd liken it to when cooking bacon, eating the bacon, going to work and coming back 8 hours later to the dirty frying pan. It smells like that, the fatty smell. It's not disgusting but not something that is very nice to be around, however my dogs seem to like the smell and they always know when i open a pack of the ears as they can smell them almost instantly.
The chews do shatter upon harsh chewing so leave bits fragments of the dried up ear in the surrounding area of where it's been chewed but i'm lucky that i have wooden floor so if the dog's don't completely hoover it up i just wipe it up with an anti bacterial wipe. For people with carpets i can see this been a problem as the fragments are tiny at times and could easily get stuck between carpet fibers, so if you do have a carpet it's probably best to put your dog(s) outside with this particular treat.
Overall the treat is 100% natural, dogs enjoy them and they're not too expensive if buying as a one off. They are definetly not for anyone who can't stand the sight of meat or animal body parts, as they do look like what they are; pig ears. There isn't alot of detail due to the drying out process however a few veins are visible sometimes so these are not for the weak stomached dog owners. Ofcourse dog's don't care and mine love these treats despite been unsure at first. The treats are healthy, not too big but are big enough to keep a dog busy, and overall are nice for an occasional treat for a dog. I would reccomend to look around at prices as they can get very expensive (some shops charge upto £4.50 for a pack of two), and i personally would say to buy online as it's much cheaper if postage charges aren't extortionate.
I must admit that my dogs are spoilt, at the end of the day they are members of the family and I like to include them as much as I can in daily life. Most of the time I am at the yard with the horses and like my daughter, Miss Peach, the dogs come with me. There are times where I need to keep them occupied especially when I am riding as although they are perfectly fine in the ménage with me my one horse will just about tolerate them and I don't want them to be hurt just in case he decides to kick out.
To occupy them isn't hard and it generally comes in the form of a hard dog treat which will last for a while. Currently in their selection is pigs ears. Yes, disgusting to some but absolutely delicious to my dogs. I generally buy my pigs ears from my local feed merchants as they have dried pigs ears which have come from a nearby farm so I know their natural but on my last visit they didn't have any and instead I bought a pack of 2 which are made by Hollings.
Hollings are a company which have a wide variety of dog treats branded as natural and a dried at high temperatures and are well packaged to ensure their freshness. The pigs ears come in packs of 2 which makes them ideal for my two as they have one each. Hollings have quite distinctive packaging which is often colour coded depending on what item it is. For the pigs ears the tough plastic bag is bright yellow and blue but on the front it features a clear 'window' so you can see what the pigs ears look like.
Hollings pigs ears come in three sizes; regular, large and x large. I tend to buy x large where possible as my dogs are quite large in size and the larger ear size tends to last them a bit longer. The pigs ears are trimmed and are dried to the highest standard and they are also bacteria tested so only the freshest pigs ears will be sold by Hollings. The pigs ears are 100% natural, there are no additives or flavourings added to them which is great as I do like my dogs to have natural things to eat rather than fill them with things they could really do without.
As you would expect the pigs ears look like pigs ears although they are slightly mis-shapen due to the drying process as they are dried at high temperatures which obviously makes the sides of the pigs ears slightly curl up. They are dark brown in colour and are hard to the touch and if you tap them they are like tapping on a piece of thin wood. Even though they are trimmed you may still find a few hairs on the ears which doesn't really bother the dogs at all. When you open the packaging they do have a meaty smell to them which is expected but it isn't as synthetic as other dog treats.
The pigs ears certainly keep my dogs entertained for quite a while and because they are both quite greedy they certainly won't leave the pigs ears without finishing them off. It does take them a while for the pigs ears to finally soften up but it does take them quite a long time to chew them and make them a bit more flexible to eat. Because they are the x large size my dogs are able to bite one part of it whilst holding it down with their paws. If they do leave any bits they tend to be forgotten about but after a while of chewing the pigs ears turn to a soft white texture which is pretty horrible!
Because they are a natural treat I know that it won't harm my dogs but I wont give them more than one pigs ear a week just because I don't want them constantly having treats and they do have quite a varied selection of treats throughout a week together with their usual food. They certainly do enjoy them and will spend an hour or so chewing and eating them so it keeps them occupied and because the pigs ears are hard this is also good for helping to keep their teeth and gums clean.
As much as I don't really like pigs ears my dogs really enjoy them and they are a healthy, natural treat which keep them occupied. I've bought quite a few Hollings products and these are of good quality and I would recommend to all dog owners (may be not so suitable for older dogs due to the hardness of the pigs ears). Expect to pay around £2.69 for a pack of the regular size up to around £4.59 for a pack of 2 of the x large size (expensive I know!).
I feed these to my dogs reguarly as a treat after exercise.
These come in packs of two or four or larger boxes of 50s. They work out to be about 50p-70p each depending on where you buy and if they are on offer or not.
These are very simply natural dried pigs ears and so are quite good for dogs. I would never leave them chewing them alone as they can become chocking hazard but they are entirely edible and my dogs have swallow socks and the like whole so as long as your dog is not tiny they will be fine. If they are tiny then the ear can be cut into smaller bits.
the ears do range in size of course as they are just ears but normally about 10cm in length. I usually look for a nie full package so as not to be sold short with a miniture size ear in the pack.
These ears last about 10minutes for my dogs, better than a jumbone which lasts about 3 minutes and is over three times the price.
These do smell of air dried pork and are greasey so they are not for the faint hearted. I make sure mine stay on their beds or go outside with these as if eaten on a nice plush beige carpet it will stain and make it smell!
I took them in the car to give then a treat after a long work of which the dogs loved but they did smell the entire car out. I would definitely recommend wrapping them up well to keep the odar in!
All in all these are good treats, other companies make these and they can be bought separatley in pet shops. The price and quality rarely varies from company to company so any are as good as any.
You can get Sows ears which are twice the size so probably better for bigger dog, these are also twice the price.
In this time of tightened purse strings these are getting to be a bit of a rearity, carrots are the treats now!