Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky?

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Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky?Beef Jerky is a type of snack that’s getting some bad press lately. Premature dog deaths have occurred across the United States with some cases linked to beef jerky. Is this type of people food really considered that unsafe for dogs?

The FDA has weighed in about the dangers of feeding your pets this food. Since beef jerky is somewhat similar to dog treats, and we hear of people often feeding it to their dogs, we have to set the record straight.

Read up as much as possible, here and from other sources, before offering your dog a delicious beef jerky as a snack. Our opinion is very clear regarding this matter.

Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky? Answer: No, see recent FDA information

Previously it was thought that dogs could have beef jerky, as long as it didn’t contain heavy spices.

But things have changed since 5,600+ dogs were sickened over the years. Over a thousand have died! If you wish to give your dog some beef jerky, it should be naturally prepared. Commercial beef jerky products, especially those manufactured in China, can be unsafe and even fatal. Even higher quality kinds are often loaded with chemical treatments that may be toxic for canines. Be very cautious about feeding your dog any type of store bought beef jerky.

Beef Jerky as Treats

Most dogs like the taste and chewy qualities of beef jerky. As a result, this type of food is commonly used as a treat or reward during training. If you plan to use beef jerky, the kind intended for people, at the very least make sure it’s not the spicy kind.

You can sometimes remove spices by washing the beef under running water. However, the process of making it involves a curing and marinating technique. It may be impossible to get rid of all the spices which is why we avoid using beef jerky altogether.

Typical Beef Jerky Ingredients

Beef jerky food treats are delicious for a reason. They’re loaded up with spices and preservatives which also ensures a long shelf life. The beef is often treated with an intensely salty solution. To top it off, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper may be included in the recipe.

All these less obvious ingredients are potentially dangerous. Most people know these are harmful for their pets but they are sight unseen. That’s why it’s not practical to give beef jerky, the kind intended for humans, to pet dogs. There are, however, some beef jerky treats which are especially made for pets. These are much safer! You can also make homemade beef jerky treats so you’ll know exactly what ingredients go into the preparation of Fido’s dried meat snacks.

More on the Risks

Feeding your dog an uncontrolled amount of any type of meat products can cause stomachaches or worse. Even if everything goes relatively well, they may still experience increased gas or diarrhea.

A brand called Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Tenders which is made by Nestle Purina in China should be avoided.

There may be many other brands which are also dangerous. If you are dealing with such a situation, depending on the severity, your dog may need veterinary care. This is especially true if the vomiting and diarrhea are uncontrolled.

Remedies for Upset Stomach

You can give your dog an antacid to treat gas or if you hear stomach rumbling. Pepcid and Zantac are people medicines which are generally safe for dogs suffering from mild gastrointestinal issues. Pepto-Bismol is also okay for canines with mild diarrhea. Just be sure to use a proper dose, as instructed by a vet, since dosage for humans and dogs can be quite different. Obviously, case of severe food poisoning should be addressed at a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Conclusion on Beef Jerky

Dogs find beef jerky treats to be tasty but they should be avoided. At the very least, they contain high levels of salt and other harmful spices. Some brands, especially those made in China, have killed many dogs and seriously sickened thousands of others. If you wish to use beef jerky as a treat or for training purposes, made your own at home so you can control what actually goes into making it.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki December 16, 2014

I gave my dog 3 pieces of butterball turkey jerky yesterday. He was so happy, but today he is dead.

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Javed November 24, 2014

We have an 11 year old Shih Tzu weighing 14 pounds. He has been eating chicken jerky treats, made in the USA not China, for several years now. Two days ago one half of the 3 inch long treat got stuck in his throat which we managed to pull out, in the process maybe scratching his throat. Since then he refuses to eat his normal soft food, but has drunk water twice a day. He does not have fever, is not vomiting and has pooped normal stools twice. Can we do anything to help him eat? Thanks for the help.

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Bridgett December 13, 2014

I’m guessing you gave him the jerky made for dogs. That stuff is hard and I could see how it would scratch his throat. Hopefully by now he has started eating again. But the only thing I could think of is to maybe try liquefying this food for a little while. If not, I’m hoping you took him to the vet.

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Marie October 19, 2014

Can homemade beef jerky made with soy sauce be harmful to my Saint Bernese dog?

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Max February 4, 2014

Could I give my dog home-made beef jerky?

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Terence February 18, 2014

Hi Max. You can give your dog homemade beef jerky. However, make sure that you monitor the ingredients that go into the preparation of the dried meat. No spices!

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Frank Smith January 8, 2013

I make a lot of jerky and I just started making it for my dog. I make it using deer, squirrel, wild turkey and store bought chicken. Sometimes with store bought turkey and ground beef. I usually use two to three different kinds of these meats to make different jerky.

I use store bought seasoning and cure and I always add one tablespoon of seasoning and one tablespoon of cure to a pound of ground meat and let it dry for six hours at 140 degrees. I have an Excalibur dryer. Is this too much cure for my dog? The jerky is only used for a treat. A piece about four inches long given once a day. Thanks!

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