Pig Ears and Salmonella Poisoning

Aug 6, 2019 | Pet Health, Pets

I follow a blog called Proud Dog Mom and recently received a post about Pig Ear Dog Treats Making Humans Sick.  The FDA is investigating and urging all pet owners to stop buying and feeding their pets the pig ears and urging retailers to stop selling them.  The CDC is now reporting 127 cases of human infection with Salmonella — 26 people have been hospitalized. Of the illnesses, 24 (that’s 21%) are among children younger than 5 years old. No deaths have been reported at this time.

Tips for pet parents:

  • Do not feed any pig ear to your dog.
  • If you have pig ear dog treats in your home, throw them away in a safe container so no pets or other animals can get them.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling pet meals and treats. This includes pig ears.
  • Clean items in your home that may have come into contact with contaminated pig ears — like floors. 
  • Did you know animals can actually shed the bacteria? That’s why it’s important to pick up and dispose of your dog’s poop in your yard and public parks where people or other animals may become exposed.
  • Children younger than 5 should not touch or eat dog food or treats, according to health officials.

A Statement From The CDC
“State health and regulatory officials in several states and the FDA have tested pig ear dog treats at various suppliers and identified many different strains of Salmonella. No single supplier, distributor or common brand of pig ear treats has been identified that could account for all the illnesses. This is why CDC and FDA are now advising people to not buy or feed any pig ear dog treats to pets.”


“Jake after his grooming appointment”.  “He got a new scarf and a new Nylabone shaped like a dinosaur from mommy and daddy for being a good boy”.  

I have never bought a pig ear in my life and I won’t ever start.  But I have to admit that when I got my first dog, Bear, I bought him a rawhide bone.  As I sat on the couch one night and watched him nosh on it until it was soggy, I thought about how it could be contaminated and quickly took it off of him.  I later found out they are really bad for pets and I never bought one again.  

In my research about pigs ears, I never thought about pets shedding bacteria.  After touching a dog treat or dog’s saliva that has been infected with Salmonella, you are at a higher chance of illness.  The bacteria could also be in the dog’s stool and be transferred to people who are cleaning up after their dog,

“Maggie wanted Jake’s bone even though she got one to”.  “Then she was blowing me kisses after yelling at me”.  “As you can see, she doesn’t have her scarf on because Jake tore it off of her!”


According to the CDC, this is a large outbreak and since a common supplier of pig ear treats in this outbreak has not been identified yet, if you have purchased a pig ear, please return it to the store for refund or throw them away.  They don’t think this is an isolated incident with just dogs.  It may be cats as well.  If your cat has come into contact with a pig ear, please watch for signs of sickness.  Make sure you clean out the litter boxes with disposable gloves and keep your yard free and clear of pet waste.  Please wash your hands after handling any treats as well.  


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