Is Beef Jerky a Dangerous Treat For My Pet Dog?

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Have you heard that beef jerky could be harmful or even deadly for dogs?

Unfortunately it’s true that some of these meat products are unsafe for pets.

Can I Give My Dog Beef Jerky?The FDA has actually come out and stated that beef jerky can, in fact, be dangerous for dogs.

Luckily you can reduce the risks by sticking to human-grade dried jerky. The key is to avoid any questionably sourced treats.

Be Very Selective When Feeding Your Dog Beef Jerky

Thousands of canines have been sickened and many have died.

So be sure that your beef jerky is naturally prepared and without an abundance of spices because some can certainly have toxic effects.

In particular, some Chinese-manufactured products are unsafe and can even be fatal.

And keep in mind that the very nature of how beef jerky is made means nasty chemicals could be a factor.

Spicy Beef Jerky Treats

Most dogs like the taste and chewiness of beef jerky.

Owners have long used it as a treat or reward. But, at the very least, make sure it’s not spicy.

Sometimes you can remove spices by washing beef jerky. But the manufacturing process may involve a curing and marinating technique.

In other words, it may be impossible to remove spices.

This is just one reason why we do not recommend beef jerky. At the very least, be cautious.

Store Bought vs Homemade Jerky

Beef jerky is delicious since it is loaded with, again, lots of spices.

The beef is also treated with a salty solution and preservatives prolong shelf life.

Garlic, onion powder and pepper may be included in the recipe. These are all potentially harmful for hounds.

Homemade beef jerky is best because you’ll know exactly what ingredients are in your dog’s dried meat snacks.

An easier way is to get quality beef jerky treats that are specifically made for 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 risky. Be careful!

Your dog may need urgent help for a case of poisoning. It depends on the severity.

Is vomiting and/or diarrhea severe and uncontrolled?

Feeding your dog too much of any meat product can cause stomachaches or worse. Most of the time you’ll see increased gas or diarrhea. Dehydration is also a concern.

Upset Stomach Remedies

Dogs can be given an antacid for gas or stomach rumbling. 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.

Careful though! Dosage for humans and dogs can be quite different. Severe food poisoning should be addressed by a professional ASAP.

The Bottom Line

Your dog probably loves beef jerky. But high salt, preservatives and spices make this snack questionable.

Some brands have killed dogs and seriously sickened many more.

Toxicity is a real concern.

Make your own, or be selective or just avoid. Whether as a treat, or for training, not all jerky is safe for dogs.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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16 thoughts on “Is Beef Jerky a Dangerous Treat For My Pet Dog?”

  1. My dog loves beef jerky from Costco! Is it safe? She’s been eating it for a couple of years.

  2. I make home made jerky for my dogs and they love it. I use a dehydrator. If you are going to give your dogs jerky make sure that it is still slightly moist.

    Most dogs will not chew it, but swallow it as whole as they can. If it is dry it is like swallowing a stick. It most likely will digest but I would avoid giving any hard, dry jerky to your dogs.

  3. The cited article doesn’t mention human beef jerky, only special dog jerky from China. Further, the necropsies showed most causes of death to be clearly unrelated to jerky. The problem population seems to be dogs that are genetically susceptible to Fanconi’s syndrome of the kidney.

  4. My Shih Tzu puppy ate a beef jerky stick and as a request she has been vomiting. Now she’s laying down after I gave her an antacid in her water. Let’s see if she gets better.

  5. I have an 11 1/2 year old Whippet weighing about 45 to 50 pounds. He has gotten into a large bag of home-made peppered beef jerky. He is not acting sick. Should I be concerned?

  6. I gave up on pet store jerky treats. The chicken and duck treats are hard as a rock. My Pug tried to swallow them whole, choking on them every time. I threw them away and never looked back. We have a beef jerky store nearby that sells dog beef jerky which my dog loves. Actually, humans can eat the dog treats because they’re all natural and all beef. Of course, they are made without spices, for dogs.

    My Pug, 3 1/2 years old, loves human beef jerky. I buy the original or traditional style that has as few spices as possible. She gets no teriyaki or spice-flavored human jerky. I don’t want to upset her stomach. She’s been eating small bites of jerky several times a day for more than a year now and has suffered no negative health effects from it. I plan to make my own jerky at home pretty soon so I can make sure they have only beef in them.

    My pet dog is the daughter that I never had. She is spoiled like a 2-year old child, all day and night, she gets pampered. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope everyone’s dogs are safe. I am sorry to hear about the injuries and deaths to your furry family members due to eating jerky treats.

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

    1. I am so sorry for your loss.

    2. That is because it has cracked black pepper (probably the most potent form of pepper). Surely you would not give the dog chili pepper jerky.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  10. Could I give my dog home-made beef jerky?

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

  11. 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!

  12. Use jerky dog treats if you are cautious. My dog loves the duck kind because he cannot have beef or chicken.

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