Can dogs eat beef jerky?

Beef jerky is made of beef meat that is marinated, cured, and dried. The process ensures the meat will not have moisture that may cause it to spoil. There are other types of meat used in the production of jerky such as lamb, chicken, pork, goat, game among others. Curing requires adding a high volume of salt to give the beef jerky longer shelf life and provide it with taste and avoid harmful bacteria that may grow on it.

Can dogs eat beef jerky?
Can dogs eat beef jerky?

Beef jerky not only contains salt but other spices such as pepper, monosodium glutamate, garlic and onion powder, sugar, flavored salts, and more.

Humans prefer jerkies that are tasteful, and now made in various ways and added with different flavors to choose from.

But can dogs eat beef jerky? Many people ask if they can feed their dog beef jerky and whether it is safe? It is safe, provided you choose a naturally flavored beef jerky without the additives and less salt, and if you have it prepared yourself. Let us discuss beef jerkies further.

What happens if a dog eats beef jerky?

Dogs can eat beef jerky, provided it is not the type of beef jerky laced with too much flavoring. Any processed food with preservatives is not a good idea for dogs. The issue with beef jerky is the high salt content, and remember the other added spices which are not good for dogs. There is onion and garlic powder in the mix as well.

Beef jerky with high sodium content may affect your dog and lead to sodium poisoning depending on how your dog will react to the treat. It is not a treat for your dog if it will cause your dog to vomit, have diarrhea, muscle spasms, increased heart rate, and other frightening symptoms.

If you are going to feed your dog beef jerky, choose the natural beef jerky being sold in the market since it is free of salt, spices, and other seasonings.

Manufacturers now make natural beef jerkies which means it is still dehydrated, but not cured using a high amount of salt. It is high quality, pure, and a good source of protein that will benefit your dog.

There are benefits of feeding natural beef jerky to your dog

Source of Nutrients

Your dog can get the nutrients from eating naturally prepared beef jerky, such as vitamin B12, magnesium, and iron. Remember, these are the benefits of feeding them natural and unsalted beef jerkies, otherwise, it is a different story.

Great way to satisfy chewing urge for dogs

It is true, particularly if you have a dog who loves to chew on things. It will be a satisfying experience for your dog to have something to chew on and taste the flavor of the jerky. While some dogs eat fast, chewing beef jerky may give them the time to enjoy their food instead of eating everything in one go.

Perfect treat when you travel with your dog

It will be a great treat that you can provide your dog so they will have something to chew on instead of getting bored while traveling. Slice jerkies is a treat for your pooch, on the road, and it does not require refrigeration as well.

It does not spoil easily

Some dog treats may not have a long shelf life compared to beef jerky, which you can place on your cupboards longer. It will not spoil or create moisture.

Helps your dog with their dental hygiene

Since beef jerkies have a sturdy, tough quality this helps your dog get rid of some plaque build-up as the jerky can scrape it away. Treating your dog to natural beef jerky can help them rid of plaque and give them a better-smelling mouth.

What jerky treats are bad for dogs?

There are reports that some naturally sourced jerky treats may have something to do with the illnesses caused by jerky pet treats. Some manufacturers may not list the origin of the product and the ingredients of the said item.

Some of the illnesses in dogs came from consuming jerky treats made from chicken strips and tenders. Some types include jerkies wrapped in various dried fruits.

Although there is no definite conclusion about these types of jerkies, there is an association between the complaints and in feeding the jerky products. Some dogs have experienced the following.

Gastro-Intestinal Illness

Dog owners reported their dogs to have stomach upset and experienced diarrhea and vomiting. Dogs also experienced the loss of appetite after episodes of feeding on some brands of jerkies.

Liver Damage

There are reports of dogs given treats of beef jerkies coming from unknown sources to have evidence of liver damage. Some smaller dogs are often the victim that suffers from it, and if it is not treated fast, it can have a fatal result.

Kidney Damage

There is a problem that dogs suffer from called Fanconi syndrome. This is where the proximal tubule of the kidney is damaged, which leads to the dog’s failure in controlling sugar and potassium as well as giving them abnormal pH levels. Dogs with this problem will show an increase in thirst and frequent urination. They will also have appetite loss that can lead to weight loss and body weakness.

Ingredients in Jerky to watch out for

When feeding jerky to your dog, make sure that it does not have any ingredients that will be fatal to them, and these ingredients that you should watch out for

Onion Powder

Anything that spells o-n-i-o-n, raw, or cooked should not be fed to your dogs. Even if it is a powder form, it will still not be good for your dogs. It contains thiosulphates and disulfides that can damage their red blood cells and cause them to burst.

Garlic Powder

It is where you should take a break when you read it on the label of the beef jerky you are going to purchase. Onion or garlic is not at all beneficial to your dog. Some dogs are even more sensitive than other dogs and may have fatal consequences once they feed on food, even with the slightest hint of garlic in it.

Some beef jerkies will have the ingredients they used listed in the packaging, and as soon as you read this word, it is a guarantee that other ingredients will not be fit for your dog to consume.


The beef jerky manufacturer will have the percentage of the sodium they used during the manufacturing process. You must remember that your dog is only allowed access to 100mg of their salt requirement from their food. Since human beef jerky has over 500mg in the ingredients, it is too salty for your pets.


There are varieties of beef jerky from spicy, teriyaki, garlic, pepper, among others. Pepper is an additive that may also have a consequential effect on your dogs. It may also cause throat irritation to your pets. Always choose the natural beef jerky, so it is safe for your dogs as a treat.

Added Spices

Some manufacturers may or may not list every ingredient they use to produce their products. They may just list a few on the label which may not be harmful to humans but to pets, it is a different case. Some spices can cause gastrointestinal upset, which again will create an issue with your pet later on.

Xylitol content

There are brands of beef jerky that have xylitol content, and we must remember that Xylitol is toxic to dogs. There is no safe amount for them cause even the slightest amount can lead to low blood sugar, liver failure, and seizure. It is more particular in the smaller breed.

Check other additives

If it is a natural derivative, then it is safe even for dogs, but if it is chemical additives that may cause more harm than good then it must never be considered.

Is Slim Jims safe for dogs?

It may smell good to your dogs, and you see your pet begging to have some of your Slim Jims but do not give in and give them some. Slim Jims, besides having additives that may not be beneficial to your dog, also have high sodium content. This jerky is too salty for your pet, and if you give them even just the smallest piece, they will ask for more.

Some ingredients that Slim Jim’s has are salt, soy flour, water, corn syrup, dextrose, caramel color, sodium nitrite, paprika, hydrolyzed soy protein, barley malt extra, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, other flavors, pork or beef, and mechanically separated chicken.

One ingredient called hydrolyzed soy protein is compared to MSG.

MSG on the other hand, in large amounts, can lead to the following issues such as obesity, reproductive disorder, neurological disorders, and metabolic disorders.

Since this is the issue with MSG, hydrolyzed soy protein is used as a substitute as it can also give distinct flavor and enhance the product taste.

Slim Jims also does not have any nutritional benefits to your pet cause of the ingredients, particularly the additives and sodium.

What to do if your dog accidentally ate sticks of Slim Jims?

If your dog ate the whole pack of Slim Jims by accident, you should watch out for adverse effects that may include restlessness, vomiting, excessive thirst, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and even death. Since Slim Jims have high sodium content, dogs, particularly the smaller breed, have sodium poisoning. If your dog also has any existing medical condition, it may have more effects on them.

Bring your dog to the vet immediately so the vet can provide the necessary first aid for such food poisoning and one that can save your dog’s life fast.

Can dogs eat jalapeno beef jerky?

Spices can irritate your dog’s stomach and not be fed with food containing spices, such as pepper, chilis, or even jalapeno.

Most of these spices can give them gas and even diarrhea. Your dog should not be fed foods that may have a bad result later on.

What to offer your dog instead?

You may like to try making your beef jerky for your pets. It will ensure that you are not including any harmful ingredients that can be harmful to them. The steps are easy and something that you can whip up in just a few minutes, and even the meat is also available in your fridge.

Get some lean beef

Cut it thinly or slice it into medium lengths. You can choose the meat with lesser fat if you like it healthier, although a bit of fat will help to give it more flavor and not dry up the meat.

Place the sliced beef on a wire rack.

Use some baking sheets to layer the baking sheet before placing the wire rack on top. Leave the pieces with some spaces and do not cluster them together.

Bake for 2 hours

It can be beyond 2 hours, depending on the slices of beef you prepared. The meat must be well dehydrated to imitate the beef jerky in the market and ensure longer shelf life.

Keep it in a tight container or even in a ziplock bag

To enjoy the jerkies longer, make sure you also store them correctly. The longest you can keep it stored is up to 7 to 10 days.

Can you give beef jerky to your dogs often?

You can give it to them as a treat or for good behavior. This is what you can also give them while training them, provided you have it sliced thinly and in a smaller piece for smaller dogs.

What spices can I add when making my beef jerky for my pets?

Some spices considered safe for dogs include cinnamon because of its high antioxidant property. It helps with diabetes and provides your dogs with better-smelling breath.


It is also another ingredient that can benefit your dog, particularly those who are a bit overweight. It helps with weight loss and helps with brain health as well.


For dogs who have a sensitive stomach, ginger powder is useful for beef jerky, and you don’t have to worry about it being toxic for your pets.

Can dogs eat beef jerky?
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