Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by Becky Roberts

I know what you’re thinking.

How can a harmless piece of meat cause such a fuss? What’s with all the ruckus?

When I first heard the concept of dogs having a sensitive reaction to jerky, I was floored. I had no idea that an all-time favorite snack can be lethal to our four-legged friends.

The news spread like wildfire back in 2016, when jerky treats was associated to a high number of dog deaths. Since then, the vast majority of dog moms and dads were taking little to no chances in serving their pet beef jerky. It got a lot of people looking for alternatives, or even a healthy snack, to offer their dogs.

But what is it that caused all the commotion? Could there be an explanation for such an unsure approach to our beloved beef jerky? Read on to find out.

The Jerky: Friend or Foe?

We’ve all been there.

We opened a bag, savored its scent, and dug in to our favorite jerky. If you have a four-legged friend, chances are you see them hurrying around looking for that tasty treat. He must have even smelled it from a few feet away.

Before reaching out to give your dog the last piece of beef, it’s important to understand that the edible components of beef jerky for humans is fairly different from jerky treats made for dogs.

The common beef jerky made with 100% lean meat found in your go-to grocery store usually has high salt content, and should not be made as an alternative for dog food. Although made for human consumption, it doesn’t mean that it will do no damage to your pooch. Even bite sized pieces could potentially harm your pooch.

Understand Your Dog

Just like you and me, our dogs each have their own characteristics and reactions, particularly with their food intake.

Our furry friends have tendencies for an upset stomach. They don’t usually adjust naturally to sudden changes, and a quick change in their food routine could potentially lead to all sorts of trouble for them.

It helps to aim for a slow transition whenever introducing new treats or potential dog food alternatives to your pet. Now, this doesn’t mean that you will be handing your pooch a small helping of chicken jerky each day. That may lead to even bigger potential problems.

dog waiting

The Silent Killer

Know that any sort of food that is highly processed is never good news to anyone.

Now while as a small cut of beef seems harmless, it helps to know that certain jerky products have a lot of preservatives and spices present. This is what causes a high potential risk to your pooch and to you as well.

There have also been cases of salt poisoning and kidney damage to humans due to excessive jerky intake.

Imagine the damage it can do to your dog.

What you can do is look for jerky that is made from 100% meat, with zero preservatives added. There are usually some healthy options and alternatives readily available at a pet store near you. Domestic jerky dog treats also work best for a safe food reward for your pooch. If there is none available, you can always opt to make homemade jerky.

The Verdict

When served in moderation, certain jerky meats can be a wonderful treat for man’s best friend. Unfortunately, certain dogs have already suffered the consequences of not taking the harmful ingredients and preservatives present in the food into consideration.

The bottom line is that there are certain beef jerky treats made for dogs, and they have a significant difference over jerkies made for human consumption. You just have to take in the time into reading the labels, knowing your dog, and understanding what food works for them.


Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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