Most of us love to chew on beef jerky once in a while, but is beef jerky bad for dogs? After all, it is made with beef, and protein is good for dogs. Unfortunately, depending on how the jerky is made, you probably should not give your dog or puppy beef jerky.
Yes, people have used beef jerky as a training treat for many years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthy or good for dogs. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t give your dog commercially-prepared beef jerky, including Slim Jims, Jack Link’s, Krave, Oberto, Matador, and other processed meat products.
Beef Jerky Contains Chemicals and Sodium
Most of the beef jerky you buy is loaded with chemicals that help improve its flavor and preservatives that keep it from spoiling for long periods of time. Unfortunately, these chemicals are not good for dogs making it a poor option for a dog treat.
Also, many spices are often used, and a lot of these spices, including garlic and onion, are toxic to dogs. Beef jerky is quite salty as well, and a dog’s sodium intake should be no more than 10mg daily. Beef jerky is so high in sodium that it can cause your dog to become very ill leading to diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, seizures, and in some cases, death.
Dogs that are given a lot of beef jerky tend to suffer from a variety of stomach ailments including some like pancreatitis that can be very serious and require surgery. Even though your dog may love its taste and chewy texture, beef jerky should not be given as a treat unless it is specifically made for dogs and is low in sodium.
Homemade Jerky Treats For Dogs
Just because most of the commercial beef jerky you buy is not good for dogs, it doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy their own version of this tasty treat. There are special jerky treats you can buy for dogs or easily make at home in your own oven or food dehydrator if you want to be absolutely sure that there are no additives in it.
- 1 pound lean beef
- Preheat oven to 150° F if you do not have a food dehydrator
- Cut beef into strips about ¼” thick
- Place beef strips on the food dehydrator racks or onto a baking rack
- Cook for about 4-5 hours or until completely dehydrated
- Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks
No, Dogs Should Not Eat Commercial Beef Jerky
Unless you are preparing your own jerky treats or buying them from your local pet store, dogs should not eat beef jerky. In addition, commercially prepared chicken and turkey jerky are also unsafe for your dog as well. If your dog happens to eat beef jerky by mistake, you should monitor them for symptoms and contact a local veterinarian if they exhibit any sign of illness.