Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky? How Safe Is It Really?

Dogs love jerky. It’s a favorite treat for them and they will happily munch on it for hours. If you’re wondering whether or not your dog should be eating beef jerky, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to answer the question “can dogs eat beef jerky?”.

Beef jerky contains high levels of protein and fat, making it an excellent source of nutrition for your dog. However, there are certain types of jerky that contain ingredients that could cause serious health problems for your pet.

If you are thinking about giving your dog beef jerky, here are some facts you should know before you do so.

can dogs eat beef jerky

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Yes, you can feed your dog jerky if you observe the label carefully. Most jerky that is made specifically for humans contains ingredients that are harmful to animals. The best and safest thing to do is to either make your own jerky or give your dog jerky treats that are specifically made for dogs.

Basically, dogs can eat any kind of meat, if it is plain and not salted excessively. Their bodies need a lot of protein, so they do well on a diet that includes a lot of meat. However, beef jerky is a treat that should be limited to moderate amounts.

Avoid feeding your dog with beef jerky that is too salty, spicy, or garlic-flavored. The safest option is homemade jerky. Any flavoring will be problematic for your dog.

Most dogs will likely eat beef jerky as if it’s the best food on earth. But you have to be cautious with what is in the beef jerky. Let’s take a close at the pros and cons if you decide to feed your dog beef jerky.

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Benefits of Beef Jerky for Dogs

Beef jerky is made by dehydrating meat at a low temperature which retains vitamins and other nutrients better than baking, frying or boiling. Jerky is therefore a very dense source of proteins. Beef jerky contains about 30 percent high-quality protein.

Due to the low water content, beef jerky is relatively tough and chewy. When dogs are chewing on dehydrated meat, this process helps to remove plaque and tartar. This contributes to the overall dental hygiene of dogs. A premium beef jerky that consists entirely of meat is, therefore, a great snack for dogs on a raw diet.

Is Beef Jerky Bad For Dogs?

Despite the benefits, you should not feed all kinds of beef jerky to your dog. There are many things that can be added to beef jerky that could harm your dog. Consider the salt, garlic, onion powder, black pepper, preservatives and other additives that may go into a beef jerky that are intended for humans.

For most of us humans, managing our salt intake is a long-term concern. We want to avoid high blood pressure so that we don’t get heart attacks and strokes. But for your dog, the problem can be more immediate. No doubt salt is important for them to function properly. But remember that dogs are poor regulators of what they eat, and they may eat something because it tastes good and salty, having no awareness of the consequences that follow.

Dogs who eat a little human beef jerky may not have any problem, but there are some things to consider before giving them more:

  • Dogs that eat too much beef jerky may have fluid in the gut, which could be caused by the high salt content in beef jerky. Humans can handle the amount of salt in beef jerky, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to feed them to dogs. Beef jerky can put dogs at risk for gut twists, which is a legitimate health problem.
  • Too much beef jerky can also be hard on a small dog’s digestive system. But this doesn’t mean that bigger dogs don’t get stomach distress if they eat too much beef jerky. Giving a dog too much food after eating beef jerky can cause further digestion problems.
  • Salt issues aside, you should never give your dog any spices that they cannot handle. It does not matter if the meat is good for dogs, like beef jerky. Certain spices, like pepper, onion powder and garlic can be harmful to dogs. This is one of the reasons why homemade beef jerky, which allows you to control salt concentrations and other additives, is often recommended for dogs.
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Consult a vet if you believe your dog may be experiencing health problems after eating a large amount of human beef jerky. While it is possible for you to make your own beef jerky dog treats, you should be aware of any ingredients that could potentially harm your dog. You should also be aware of any ingredients your dog cannot tolerate.

What Beef Jerky Can Dogs Eat?

Most beef jerky that is meant for humans is made with ingredients that are unsafe for pets. The best and safest thing to do is to either make your own beef jerky or buy dog jerky treats that are safe for dogs.

Unfortunately, not every dog treat called “jerky” for dogs is actually made from real jerky. Often the so-called ‘jerky for dogs’ contains additives, fillers, and preservatives. These substances are often added to enable the profit-margin-optimized production of dog treats made from substandard ingredients. Premium jerky is characterized by two main features: single ingredient (no preservatives, additives or fillers) and pure muscle meat (not processed by-product).

Homemade beef jerky treats are healthier than store-bought ones because they allow you to control the ingredients. You can also avoid using ingredients like garlic and onion powder that could cause problems for your dog.

Using a dehydrator to make your own jerky is a good thing. Also, reducing the salt content of the meat is important. Remember that even for large dogs, they are still much smaller than you. Thus, you should feed them at a level that is appropriate for a much smaller creature.

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How Much Beef Jerky Can a Dog Have?

Jerky treats are not meant to be a complete or partial replacement for the diet of your dog. Therefore, they should not make up more than 10% of the total daily calories consumed by your dog.

Like all other treats and chew toys, jerky can be dangerous if given to dogs without supervision. Jerky does not contain enough water to make sure your dog stays hydrated. When given large amounts of jerky especially, ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh drinking water.


What should I do if my dog ate beef jerky?

Human beef jerky contains ingredients that are unsafe for pets. These include high salt content, garlic and onion powder, preservatives and other ingredients. The most common side effects of eating this type of food are going to be an upset tummy and vomiting.

You can help prevent this by making sure your dog drinks lots of water and watches for signs of dehydration like being weak or lethargic. If you think your dog ate beef jerky that has unsafe ingredients on them, the best thing to do is to call your vet immediately.

What happens if a dog eats too much beef jerky?

Eating too much beef jerky can be dangerous to your pet. Some side effects include digestive problems, severe dehydration, loss of muscle coordination, vomiting, diarrhea and other strange behaviors. There are also reports of seizures and elevated body temperatures.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

You should also be aware of the type of jerky your dog ate because some jerky can contain harmful ingredients that are bad for your dog’s health.