Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

You love your dog. You take it to the vet, you care for it, you make sure that they have all the treats they want. And dogs seem to love the smell of beef jerky when you pull it out. But some part of your brain stops you. 

That’s a wise part of your brain. Because if the question is a blanket question—can dogs eat beef jerky? Let's explore this question further below.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Beef Jerky?

This question is complicated. Beef jerky, for starters, is a term that can refer to a variety of snacks. Maybe you’ve made high-quality home jerky that doesn’t have any ingredients in there that would be harmful to dogs.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should blindly feed all beef jerky to your dog. It isn’t that the underlying meat is a problem. But consider everything else that may go into a beef jerky that’s intended for a human:

  • Salt content
  • Garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Black pepper
  • Preservatives and other additives

For most of us humans, the idea of eating too much salt is more of a long-term issue: we want to manage our blood pressure, for example. But for your little pooch, the problem can be much more acute. Remember: they don't have the same bodies we do, and they’ll react to some ingredients we may consider “household” ingredients in unpredictable ways. 

In the case of salt, ingesting too much may lead to sodium ion poisoning. This isn’t to say dogs can’t have salt. Like many living beings, they need it to function. But keep in mind that dogs aren’t very good regulators of what they eat. They may eat something because it’s tasty and salty, having no idea of the wave of thirst that’s going to come in and offset all of that salt.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Beef Jerky?

A dog who eats a very small amount of human jerky won’t be a serious issue, but here are some things to keep in mind if you want to give them a lot.

  • Fluid in the gut. The high salt concentration in beef jerky might be something humans can handle more often, particularly as humans are larger than most dogs. And this gives us the incorrection impression that it must be an appropriate amount of salt for dogs. This isn’t necessarily the case. Too much salt can draw fluid to the dog’s stomach area, which puts them at risk for gut twist, which is a legitimate medical emergency.
  • Digestive problems. Too much beef jerky at once can sometimes prove difficult on dogs’ digestive systems, particularly for small dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that big dogs aren’t at risk. If a dog has already eaten beef jerky, giving them too much food in the immediate aftermath of this overwhelming amount can cause further digestive problems.
  • Toxic effects of certain spices. Salt issues notwithstanding, you should always be careful about giving your dog specific spices that they can’t handle. It doesn’t matter if the meat itself is good for dogs, such as chicken jerky. The aforementioned seasonings like pepper, onion powder, and garlic can be harmful to dogs. This is one reason why homemade beef jerky is often recommended for dogs instead; it lets you control salt concentrations and the other additives that end up in the meat.

  • Consult a veterinarian if you believe your dog has eaten lot of “human beef jerky”—that is, beef jerky with ingredients intended for human consumption—as you never know what kinds of issues this can cause. While it is possible to make your own beef jerky dog treats or buy, you have to know which preservatives and additives your dog can handle, and which it can’t.

    Can I give My Dog Homemade Beef Jerky?

    That depends! What did you do when you made your own jerky? Using a dehydrator to make jerky is a good idea, as well as avoiding the spices that can potentially be harmful for your dog. You’ll also want to reduce the amount of sodium in the meat to a level far more appropriate for what dogs can handle. Remember: even for large dogs, you’re generally feeding a creature who is much smaller than you.

    The advantage of homemade beef jerky treats is that you can exercise tighten control over your dog’s diet. Your little furry friend may be used to certain human foods and even some dried meat treats, but that doesn’t mean that these foods have always agreed with them. Making homemade beef jerky treats and avoiding products like garlic powder will give you an advantage: you can make delicious treats that your dog will be able to handle with minimal issues.


    About Us

    Red Truck Beef Jerky is a small, family-owned business that sources all premium cuts of meat in the USA. Some more prominent beef jerky players say “packed in the USA,” which means that the meat is probably from overseas. With us, you are supporting a family business and keeping the quality right here in the USA.


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