Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky?

Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky?Beef Jerky is a snack that’s gotten lots of bad press. Premature dog deaths have been linked to some of these meaty pet products. Is this type of food really that unsafe for Fido?

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The FDA says this popular snack can be dangerous for dogs. Dried beef jerky, that’s made for human consumption, is likely safer compared to any questionably sourced pet-grade treats.

Let’s set the record straight before you start giving the family dog any beef jerky snacks. Our opinion is very clear when it comes to this canine controversy.

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

Thousands of dogs have been sickened and many have died!

This devastating news has made us steer clear of most beef jerky brands. If you provide some to your dog, make sure it’s naturally prepared without spices. Commercial beef jerky, especially if manufactured in China, could be very unsafe and even fatal. Even most higher quality kinds are often loaded with chemical treatments that may be toxic for pets.

The reasonable alternative is an excellent USA-made grain-free product called Wellness Pure Rewards.

Spicy Beef Jerky Treats

Most dogs like the taste and chewy qualities of beef jerky, so owners have long used it as a treat or reward during training. If you still plan to use jerky, at the very least make sure it’s not spicy. Sometimes you can remove spices by washing the beef jerky under running water. Unfortunately, the manufacturing process may involve a curing and marinating technique. It may be impossible to get rid of spices.

This is one reason why we don’t recommend regular store-bought beef jerky. Most likely it’s safe, but we err on the side of caution. 

Store vs. Homemade Jerky

Beef jerky is delicious since it’s loaded up with, again, lots of spices. The beef is treated with an intensely salty solution and preservatives prolong shelf life. Garlic, onion powder and pepper may be included in the recipe all of which are potentially harmful. Most dog owners know this but it’s a sight unseen. Homemade beef jerky is best. You’ll know exactly what ingredients are in your best buddy’s dried meat snacks.

A much easier way is to get quality beef jerky treats made for specifically dogs.

Downright Dangerous

A brand called Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Tenders, made by Nestle Purina in China, should be avoided. There are several other brands which are also dangerous so be careful. If you are already dealing with such a situation, depending on the severity, your dog may need urgent veterinary care. This is especially true if the vomiting and diarrhea are uncontrolled. Dehydration is also a real concern.

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.

Upset Stomach Remedies

Dogs can be given an antacid for gas or stomach rumbling, but often times symptoms will go away on their own. Pepcid and Zantac are generally safe for mild gastrointestinal issues. Pepto-Bismol is also okay for dogs 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. Cases of severe food poisoning should be addressed by a professional as soon as possible.

Conclusion on Beef Jerky

Dogs love beef jerky treats but they should be given with an abundance of caution. High levels of salt, preservatives and spices make this snack questionable. Some brands, especially those made in China, have killed many dogs and seriously sickened many more. Toxicity is a real concern so make your own or buy quality USA-made pet-friendly beef jerky. This food is used as a treat, or for training purposes, but not all of these jerky products are safe for dogs.

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Dr. Stephanie Flansburg Cruz, a practicing vet, has reviewed and endorsed this article. She has 3 dogs of her own and cares about the welfare of all animals.


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