Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky Safely? | The Good and Bad

Posted by #jerkywoman on Apr 14th 2023

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky Safely? | The Good and Bad

Beef jerky is a popular snack for humans, but is it safe for our furry friends? Many pet owners wonder if beef jerky is a good treat option for their dogs, or if it could be harmful to their health. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide valuable information on the topic.

Is Beef Jerky Safe For Dogs?

Beef and beef jerky sticks can have some nutritional benefits for dogs when given in moderation and in the right form. High-quality beef jerky that is made from lean cuts of meat can be a good source of protein for dogs, which is essential for their overall health and well-being.

Protein is necessary for building and repairing tissues in a dog's body, and it also plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of strong muscles, healthy skin and coat, and a robust immune system.

When choosing beef jerky or dog treats for your dog, look for products that are made from high-quality, grass-fed beef, without any artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers. You can also make your own beef jerky for your dog, using lean cuts of meat and a dehydrator.

As with any new food or treat, it's important to introduce beef or turkey jerky gradually and in small amounts, to ensure that your dog tolerates it well and doesn't experience any adverse reactions. Additionally, it's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog's diet.

Nutritional Benefits

Beef jerky is a high-protein snack that is made from lean cuts of beef. This makes it an excellent source of protein for dogs, who require a lot of protein in their diets. The protein in beef jerky can help to build and repair muscle tissue, support healthy skin and coat, and boost the immune system.

Additionally, eating beef jerky often is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for overall health and wellness in dogs and can help to support their energy levels and vitality.

Potential Risks

While beef jerky can offer many benefits for dogs, there are also potential risks associated with beef jerky treats and with feeding it to them. One of the biggest concerns is the risk of choking. Beef jerky is a dense and chewy treat, which can be difficult for dogs to swallow. This can lead to choking, or even blockages in the digestive system, which can be very dangerous for dogs.

Another concern is the presence of preservatives, such as sodium and nitrates, in many beef jerky and meat products now. These additives can be harmful to dogs, particularly if they have any underlying health conditions such as kidney or liver disease. Excessive consumption of sodium and nitrates can also lead to dehydration and other health issues in dogs. It is important to check the salt/sodium content when selecting beef jerky dog treats for your furry friend.

A dog eyeing a piece of beef jerky.

Choosing the Right Beef Jerky for Your Dog

When searching for jerky treats, you want to make sure that what you buy is safe, delicious, and engaging for your pup. It's important to look at the process, from the curing and treatment to the packaging and shipping, when selecting your jerky treats. Search for ones that are naturally preserved and packaged without harsh chemical additives or flavors. Look for information on how the product is made; the best dog jerky treats will be created naturally. Red flags to watch for when dogs eat beef jerky can include artificial dyes or coloring, brewer’s rice, corn syrup, excessive salt, nitrites, propylene glycol, vegetable oil, xylitol and other artificial sweeteners.

How to Safely Feed Beef Jerky to Dogs

You might be asking yourself... When can my dog eat beef jerky? If you do decide to feed a beef jerky treat to your dog, it is important to do so in moderation. A small piece of dried meat or two as an occasional treat is unlikely to cause any harm, but you should not make it a regular part of their diet.

When selecting beef jerky for your dog, it is also important to choose a product that is made specifically for dogs and to avoid any products that contain harmful additives, such as preservatives or artificial flavorings.

A golden retriever outside.

Safe beef jerky treats for your dog

  1. Homemade beef jerky is the best option as it involves drying lean beef and adding very little to it. Many processed beef jerky products contain seasonings and additives that may not be safe for dogs, so it's best to stick with plain beef jerky.
  2. Look for jerky with low sodium content as dogs cannot tolerate the same amount of sodium as humans. Flavored beef jerky like peppered, soy sauce-glazed or teriyaki beef jerky may contain too much salt, so it's best to avoid them. Especially spicy beef jerky dog treats which can be toxic.
  3. Opt for dog-specific beef jerky treats that are formulated for pets, and keep human-grade beef jerky for yourself.

What to avoid

  1. Avoid beef jerky that contains onion or garlic, which are toxic to dogs.
  2. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in some human foods, can be deadly for dogs. Make sure that the beef jerky does not contain xylitol.
  3. Moderation is key. Feed your dog beef jerky in small amounts and ensure that it does not exceed 30% of their daily calorie intake.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while beef jerky can be a nutritious and high-protein treat for dogs, it is important to exercise caution when feeding it to them. To ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friend, it is best to limit their consumption of beef jerky and to choose a product that is made specifically for dogs. With these precautions in mind, you can feel confident that you are making a safe and healthy choice for your furry friend.

Ready to treat your dog to North-Creek Smokehouse's beef jerky?

This product is made with 100% beef, thin-sliced, and mesquite smoked just like our regular product (yes, that is right - treat yourself to our beef jerky!). No salt, no sugar, or any other ingredients. Just goodness in the form of tasty beef jerky for your pet.

Your dogs will love it!

North-Creek Smokehouse's Dog Beef Jerky Treats.