Can dogs eat beef jerky, and why or why not? Is beef jerky nutritional? Will our dogs love the taste as much as we do?
You or a friend is a big-time hunter. Imagine you have all of this wonderful deer jerky! Can your dog enjoy some of your tasty delights, even though deer jerky isn’t exactly beef jerky (because it is a deer, not a cow)? Is there much of a difference?
What Exactly is Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is lean, trimmed strips of beef that have been dried and cut into strips. Salt has been added to prevent excessive bacterial growth. Jerky literally translates to “dried, salted meat”.
Most convenience stores and supermarkets sell beef jerky in small packets. You can also make it yourself if the mood strikes you.
Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?
Can dogs eat beef jerky plain? This is in fact the only kind you should offer.
There isn’t anything generally dangerous about dried meat. In fact, dogs are classified as carnivores and would love it! Can dogs eat beef jerky safely though? Just because they would love it doesn’t mean it’s great for them.
Meat also offers several nutritional benefits. Your pup will get plenty of vitamin B12, some valuable protein, and several other nutrients. These can be found in jerky and also other natural treats such as popular dried chicken feet.
On the other hand, Beef Jerky is made with large amounts of salt. While sodium is an important part of a dog’s diet, your pup should get everything he needs from his dog food. Anything else is additional.
So, what happens if a dog has too much salt? It can lead to dehydration for one. This normally isn’t a problem as long as your dog has constant access to plenty of cool, clean, fresh drinking water.
How Much Beef Jerky Can a Dog Have?
This depends on the type/brand of beef jerky and how it was made. Dogs usually shouldn’t have much beef jerky made for human consumption. If nothing else, this type of jerky is high in sodium.
You should really only offer most types of beef jerky as an occasional snack or treat. This shouldn’t be part of your dog’s everyday nutritional regimen.
The most common problem with plain beef jerky is the amount of salt or sodium used to make it. Jerky can be extremely salty, and we all know you should limit the number of salty foods you give your dog.
Low sodium jerky is always best.
Preservatives, various spices and unique flavors are often added also. It’s best to avoid these and only offer plain beef (or another animal) jerky.
What Happens if a Dog Has too Much Beef Jerky?
Let’s use the example of the plain jerky, not made with any flavoring or extra spices. It is high in sodium, however.
Imagine your dog got into your Jerky stash! You had just purchased a brand new bag, and he ate the entire thing! Each piece contained more sodium than a dog should get in an entire day, and your pup had a bag full of them.
What will happen to your dog’s body? This depends on how much water he has access to. If your pup always has constant access to a full bowl of fresh water, he should be fine. You’ll still have to watch him for any symptoms.
But what if your dog doesn’t have any access to water?
He could begin to dehydrate. Your dog might experience vomiting and diarrhea, further dehydrating. This could lead to nausea, muscle tremors, weakness, and even seizures.
The worst possible result is death. Hypernatremia, or excessive salt in the bloodstream, can become a huge problem. Remember to always offer plenty of fresh water.
Can Dogs Eat Slim Jim Beef Jerky?
Slim Jim Originals are ok in general for your dog to try out as a treat once in a great while, but not overly healthy and shouldn’t be a regular part of your dog’s diet. These are very high in sodium and relatively high in fat for such a small treat.
Slim Jim Originals don’t really offer much in the way of vitamins or minerals. There would be better treats out there.
Are Jack Links Safe for Dogs?
Jack Links Originals contain 460 mg. sodium per serving size, which is 19% of the recommended daily allowance for a human! Dogs shouldn’t get nearly the same amount per day as a human.
460 mg. is more than a dog should get all together in one day, and that is only in 1 oz. This is all in addition to a dog’s regular diet.
So, the rare plain piece of Jack Links jerky is ok, as long as your dog has access to plenty of fresh, cool water. Is it healthy for your dog? No, it isn’t.
Are Beef Jerky Dog Treats Safe?
So can dogs eat beef jerky dog treats? Beef jerky dog treats are usually safe for dogs, but there are exceptions.
This depends, again, on how they were made. If you live in the United States, there haven’t been any FDA Jerky treat recalls since 2016. Dog treats made in America must pass certain health code regulations. For example, they can’t contain numerous dangerous metals.
This doesn’t mean all dog treats are nutritional or healthy. Quite the opposite is true in fact, and many dog treats are just as unhealthy for dogs as human treats can be for humans. It simply means treats made for dogs are designed to be edible for dogs.
If you purchase dog treats made in another country, however, it could be risky. Many areas around the world don’t have the same requirements.
Make sure you always buy the best possible dog treats for your pet.