As a dog owner, you’ve probably asked yourself questions like can dogs eat beef jerky? The safe answer is No. But this applies to store-bought human beef jerky such as Mountain America Jerky and other brands. They can be risky to feed to dogs. Instead of giving them jerky meant for human consumption, consider buying dog jerky treats or make your own. This allows you to cut the salt and other harmful ingredients which could affect your dog’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?
It’s not unusual for dog parents to share their food with their four-legged children. It’s hard not to. But I do a lot of research to learn which foods are safe for feeding to canines. I don’t want to give him something that’s not healthy for him.
Beef jerky is one treat you should be wary of providing to your pet. The meat is completely safe. It’s the seasonings that the manufacturers use to make jerky taste so good that can be a problem for your pooch. Things like salt, black pepper, onion, and garlic. These ingredients, found in store-bought jerky, can be dangerous to your dog. Are you curious about why?
Beef Jerky Has High Salt Content
Salt is a seasoning that vets recommend not feeding to your dog. Salt contains sodium, which can be harmful to pets in large doses. Even at small doses, it can still cause problems.
Studies show: dogs which were fed excess salt for periods of about 1 and 4 years, respectively, elevations in plasma cholesterol concentrations were frequent and in some cases, quite marked (jem.rupress.org/content/112/4/635.abstract).
When dogs consume sodium, they become thirsty.
To counteract this, your dog will consume large amounts of water. This, in turn, leads them to need frequent bathroom trips. This can lead your fur baby to suffer from dehydration or even sodium ion poisoning. These are some common side effects:
- Stomach ache
- High temperature
Beef Jerky Contains Other Dangerous Seasonings Too
Beef jerky is also made with harmful seasonings such as onion powder, garlic, and black pepper.
Garlic and Onions in Beef Jerky
Garlic and onions can destroy your dog’s red blood cells, which can cause your pup to become anemic. Symptoms of anemia in dogs are:
- Exercise intolerance
- Decreased appetite
- Pale gums
Anemia can be treated but it does need a trip to the veterinarian, which can hurt your pocketbook. And if you believe you’re safe by using powdered or dried seasoning rather than fresh, you’re in for a real surprise. Powdered seasonings are more potent.
You don’t have to panic if you’ve given your pet a small amount of these ingredients. It won’t hurt in low doses. But, if you notice symptoms like weakness, vomiting, or breathing problems, call a vet.
Black pepper is not as dangerous for dogs as garlic, salt, and onions. But you should still use caution about foods containing this ingredient, including prepackaged beef jerky. Too much pepper can cause your pet to get sick.
Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog All Beef Jerky?
I imagine by now you’re a bit skittish and wondering if you should keep all beef jerky from your dog. You don’t have to go to this extreme. There are some great dog jerky products, made from healthy, dog-safe ingredients available online.
Or you could make your own. It’s not that hard. Making homemade jerky is a win-win. You control what ingredients your pup will be eating. And you can clean out your refrigerator of any old food without having to throw it away. All you’ll need is an oven and some baking sheets. Or a dehydrator like this one.
Kassidy Shepperd is the editor in chief for Canine-Prime.com. She is is a dog lover/trainer, a freelance writer and a volunteer at many pet rescue and shelter centers. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.