A Guide to Pig Snouts for Dogs (by Rosalind the Vet)

Pig snouts are a high-protein, lesser-known dog treat. And while they look a little odd to us, they are super tasty for our dogs. Snouts are often marketed as a lower-fat alternative to other treats, so they may be attractive for dogs on a calorie-restricted diet. But, the fat content varies hugely between products – so watch out! And, as with all new foods, think carefully about whether this treat suits your dog.

In this article, we look at the benefits and risks of feeding pig snouts to your dog, how to feed them safely, and what to look out for when purchasing these treats.

Key facts

Pig snouts should be avoided if your dog has a pork allergy.

Snouts can be a very low-fat treat for dogs that struggle to digest fats.

Take care with large breed dogs – they might swallow the snout whole, which can cause choking and blockages.

What Are Pig Snouts?

It’s no surprise that pig snout treats are simply the snout or nose of a pig. Produced as a by-product of the pig meat industry – and a delicacy in some cultures – they are a sustainable food source that would otherwise be wasted in the UK.

Pig snouts are available in many pet shops and processed in various ways – air-dried, freeze-dried, smoked, roasted and puffed. Or, you might even source fresh pig snouts from your local butcher or farm shop.

Some dried snouts are bleached and flavoured, so reading the packaging is essential, as not all snouts are as natural as you might expect. Puffed snouts are heat-treated (generally without additives) and are a little softer, so they can be an excellent option for some dogs with sensitive mouths. They are also reported to be lower in odour, and they feel less oily.

Check that the pig snout you select is free from artificial flavours, additives and preservatives. Smoked pig snouts should be avoided. Not only is there a risk of cancer linked to consuming smoked foods. But also, they are often seasoned with salts and sugars, which are unnecessary in your dog’s diet. Some owners report that smoked treats can cause digestive upsets too.

In recent years there has been controversy around commercial pig snouts being contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella. However, pet foods and treats produced in the UK must be tested for bacterial contaminants under the Food Standards Agency’s regulations. In addition, animal by-products that are sold as raw pet food should be derived from products suitable for human consumption.

raw feeding pig snouts

thoughts & tips

Raw feeding is rapidly growing in popularity. Anyone choosing to raw feed should take time to research food sources carefully. Even cooked meat products can be a source of bacteria. But raw products are far more likely to produce harmful bacteria in your dog’s poop.

Ensure that any meat you feed is produced as locally as possible or by a UK-based raw pet food company. Ideally, raw meat should be bought from your butcher and locally reared – to reduce storage and transportation times. This also means that the meat conforms to human food safety standards.

Raw pig snouts are considered a treat rather than a core constituent of your pet’s diet. But, if you are raw feeding, they can be incorporated into the meat ration of your dog’s daily plan. Pig snouts are great for adding variety to your dog’s diet and are a lower-fat alternative to other raw pork treats.

Nutritional Information for Pig Snouts

All pig snouts are high in protein, which is fantastic news for your dog. However, depending on the product and how they are processed, pig snouts can be low or high in fat – so check each product individually.

When feeding these treats to dogs with medical conditions such as pancreatitis, care should be taken, as high-fat foods can trigger the disease.
The chart provides an average guaranteed nutritional analysis of pig snouts:

Vitamins and minerals

Air-Dried   Puffed  Raw

Protein 68% 61.4% 22.5%
Fat 12.9%
(range 1.5% – 22.5%) 11.5%
(range 1.5% – 26.2%)
Fibre 3.3% 4% 0%
Moisture 9% 6.8% 74.4%
Calories per 100g 395 kcal Not available 127 kcal

Note: The percentages don’t add up to 100% as they are averages from several data sources. Ranges are given when there is a high level of variation between products.

Approximately 3470kcal/kg HIGH (raw product far lower)
Dried pig snouts weigh around 50g, so an average snout will provide 173 calories. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for an average 20kg dog, that’s about 15% of their daily calorie needs. As these treats are pretty small, the high-calorie content is less worrying. But if your dog is on a complete diet, these should only be provided as a treat every now and then.

Feeding guide
Pig snouts can be given as one component of a well-balanced diet. If a raw pig snout is part of your dog’s ration, then you can feed up to two per day, depending on your dog’s size.
Alternatively, feeding as an occasional treat is a perfect option for those dogs on a complete commercial diet. Pig snouts are not a complete food in their own right and should never be fed exclusively to your dog.
Pig snouts are not as chewy as you might think, and your hound might demolish one in no time at all. If you are looking for a durable chew treat, then these are not the answer. Snouts should be thought of as a treat rather than a chew.
Some owners report that the dried snouts can be greasy and stain soft furnishings. Small pieces or crumbs may make the process quite messy too!

Health Benefits of Feeding Pig Snouts to Your Dog

Key Benefits

● Low in Fat – if you pick the low-fat variety, these are healthy treats that can be enjoyed in small quantities without your dog piling on the pounds.
● Joint Health – pig snouts are high in collagen, which keeps your pet’s joints in excellent health.
● Short to Medium Chew Time – beneficial if you want your dog to chew but don’t want treats left lurking under the sofa.
● Dental Health – Chewing snouts can remove plaque from your dog’s teeth and improve oral hygiene.

For the right dogs, there are many potential health benefits to feeding pig snouts:
Mental enrichment
Anything that promotes chewing and provides new tastes, smells and textures hugely enriches your dog’s life. Hiding chews for them to seek out can add even more fun to the process. These may not be the longest-lasting chews, but they are great for that instant distraction or gratification.
For older dogs, puffed pig snouts are a slightly softer chew and are easier for them to get stuck into. As with all chews, particularly those small enough to be swallowed, close supervision is recommended at all times.
Dental Health
Dental disease is common in dogs, and brushing teeth is the best way to reduce plaque buildup. Other options include special dental kibble, raw diets and chews, although research in this field is limited.
While snouts are superseded by treats that require more chewing, they still promote that natural teeth-cleaning action. Any plaque on your dog’s teeth will eventually calcify and turn into rock-hard tartar. The simple answer is to remove plaque early on, so your dog will be protected from more severe dental problems.
Joint health
Pig snouts are high in the connective tissue collagen. This chewy protein is an essential part of joints, skin and ligaments. Increasing the collagen in your dog’s diet can help to keep their joints in tip-top shape.
Other nutrients
Micronutrients are important too. Snouts are high in iron, an essential component of red blood cells. Iron is also vital for building muscle and keeping your dog strong and healthy.

Downsides and Risks of Feeding Your Dog Pig Snouts

Low to Moderate Risk
If you have a very large dog or one that likes to swallow chews whole, there is a real risk of choking. In addition, those snouts that have a higher fat content, or are smoked or flavoured, might cause tummy upsets. Of course, if your dog is a light chewer and you chose a low-fat variety of snout, these risks are vastly reduced.

Here’s a list of the main dangers to watch out for:
These palm-sized treats might be perfect for a small to medium-breed dog. But for larger dogs, the most significant hazard is choking. A pig snout is an ideal size for a large dog to swallow and become lodged in the oesophagus.
For this reason, you must monitor your dog if you give them a pig snout to chew on. Pay particular attention to your dog the first time you offer this treat. If your dog tries to gulp it down whole, this is not a safe treat for them to eat, and you need to look at alternatives.
Symptoms such as instant gagging, unproductive retching, coughing, drooling and struggling to breathe might indicate a blockage in the throat. If this happens, you should take your dog to a vet immediately. Be careful trying to remove a chew stuck in the throat, as your dog might panic and unintentionally bite you.
Gastrointestinal obstruction
A blockage further through the intestines is less likely with one of these treats, but not impossible. For this reason, you must ensure your dog is not swallowing big chunks of snout. If your dog develops vomiting or tummy pains after eating a snout, you should mention this when you see your vet. Intestinal obstructions are serious and may require surgery, so it is essential to be vigilant.
Digestive issues
Some dried and puffed snouts can have a higher fat content that might cause issues if your dog has a sensitive stomach. This is also the case if your dog is prone to pancreatitis or has a pork intolerance.
If your dog swallows the snout whole and it reaches the stomach, it may take time to digest. This can cause stomach cramps, indigestion and vomiting. Any new dog food or treat should be introduced for short periods initially until you feel more confident that your dog’s stomach is up to the change.
Bacterial contamination
When feeding a raw food product, it is important to be aware of the risks of harmful bacteria. Raw foods contain a higher bacterial load that is reduced during the cooking process in commercial, cooked diets. If these bugs inhabit and multiply in your dog’s guts, they can become stronger and more resistant to antibiotics.
Research shows that raw feeding increases the risk of your pet shedding harmful bacteria in their faeces. These bacteria can cause severe infections in people, particularly those with a weak immune system (e.g. children, the elderly and those on chemotherapy).
Weight gain
Managing your pet’s weight is a simple equation of calories eaten versus energy used, right? Well, sort of. This doesn’t account for metabolism, life stage, growth, or other factors that might affect your dog’s daily energy requirements.
Often we start with a basic equation to determine their needs or follow a feeding guide. But most importantly, we need to feel the dog and monitor their body condition score. This is the best way to ensure that your dog is in good shape.
ANY treats in your dog’s diet need to be considered as part of their daily ration, and their food intake adjusted accordingly. On days they have a higher energy treat, feed a little less food.
Infectious disease
Te viral infection Aujeszky’s disease (pseudorabies), and the roundworm Trichinella spiralis can be passed to dogs consuming raw pork meat. These diseases are found worldwide but less commonly in parts of Europe and are generally not found in the UK. To avoid exposure to these diseases, knowing where your meat is sourced from and what journey it has taken to your dog’s plate is crucial.
Avoid if….
Your dog is still growing or elderly.
Your dog has a history of digestive issues.
Your dog has a pork intolerance (or an unknown intolerance).
Your dog is large and likely to swallow the snout whole

Pig Snouts for Puppies…
Most manufacturers suggest that pups can consume snouts from 12-16 weeks old. But every dog is an individual. The firmer, air-dried snouts might injure your pup’s delicate mouth and teeth, so they are not ideal for puppies.
Also, some young dogs will immediately swallow anything they think is tasty. For this reason, it may be best to wait until your dog is fully grown. There are plenty of durable chew toys specifically designed for this purpose that are safer to offer in the meantime.

Alternatives to Pig Snouts
If you’re looking for alternative treats to pig snouts that provide plenty of chewing action, consider these alternatives:
Bully sticks are a good substitute if you are looking for a chewy and long-lasting treat. Just watch out for the hidden calories in these tasty chews!
Ostrich tendons are a fantastic chewy treat for dogs with intolerances to more common protein sources.
Cow snouts are an excellent alternative for larger dogs who chomp through pig snouts in minutes. They have similar nutritional properties and are just as tasty!

Are pig snouts safe for dogs?
Pig snouts are relatively safe for dogs so long as they are not swallowed whole or in large chunks. Avoid flavoured, smoked or salted varieties and check the fat content before offering one to your dog. If your dog is allergic to pork protein, these are a definite no-go.
Are pig snouts ok for my puppy?
Although pig snouts might suit some pups. Your young dog will be inexperienced with chewy treats and may try to swallow them whole or injure themselves by chewing too vigorously. It may be better to wait until your pup has adult teeth before offering snouts as a treat. Remember, however old they are, choking is a risk, and your dog must be supervised whilst they gnaw on this tasty snack.
Are pig snouts bad for my dog?
Pig snouts can be a choking and intestinal blockage risk. Pig snouts should be avoided if you have a large dog who tends to swallow chews whole. In this case, cow snouts might be more suitable. If your pet is on a weight loss plan or has pancreatitis, then be careful to select lower-fat products or avoid snouts altogether.
Are puffed pig snouts bleached?
Generally, puffed pig snouts are not bleached – but this does vary between products. You should always read the product label to check for chemicals and additives. Puffed snouts are cooked intensely at very high temperatures, causing the water to expand and evaporate, rather like popcorn. This leads to their puffy white appearance.
How often should I feed my dog pig snouts?
Snouts are best offered as an occasional treat 1-2 times weekly. However, if you feed snouts raw as part of a complete diet, your dog could be offered half a snout (small dog) up to two snouts (large dog) per day as part of their meat ration.

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