Chewing is a natural and necessary behaviour for dogs. If you want to keep your dog from chewing your best shoes, you need to offer an appropriate alternative for him to gnaw on. In the wake of pet treat recalls and safety concerns with rawhide, many dog owners are unsure of what to give their dogs. Making your own dog treats and chews is a good alternative that will ensure you know exactly what your dog is ingesting.
Rinse the pig skin or ear thoroughly under running water. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
Cut the pig skin or ear to the appropriate size for your dog with a sharp butcher knife. The best size for your dog depends largely on her individual chewing habits. You want something large enough that she will not try to swallow it whole -- presenting a choking risk -- but not so large that she ingests too much as she breaks down the pig skin or ear and chews it. Pig ear size will vary but generally a whole ear is a reasonable size for giant and large breeds, while you may want to use half for medium-sized dogs and a quarter for small or toy breeds.
Spray or brush the skin or ear lightly with oil. You may also add some flavouring, such as a little bit of garlic powder or dry stock cube at this point if you choose.
Place the oiled pig skin or ear onto a baking tray.
Bake it in an oven set to 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5 to 6 hours.
Drain the cooked chew on paper towels as it may be oily. You may also pat it down with a paper towel to remove some of the excess oil. Let the chew cool thoroughly before giving to your dog.
Speciality markets like Asian food stores will often carry pig ears, but the best place to go for quality assurance is your local butcher. Talk to your butcher in advance about setting aside some ears or skin for you. He may even be willing to cut them to size for you.
As with all chews make sure to supervise your dog with these treats to prevent them from swallowing large pieces and choking.