Beef jerky is a popular human snack that provides a quick solution for cravings, and when chewing on this tasty piece, it is only normal for our dogs to want a bite as well. But is beef jerky safe for canine consumption? This article provides an answer to this and more. So, can dogs eat beef jerky?
Yes, dogs can eat beef jerky, as long as they are fed in minimal amounts and with products specially formulated for canine consumption. Human beef jerky contains ingredients that can be really harmful to a dog’s health, and hence it is best to avoid such products when feeding your pooch.
Canine beef jerky comes attached with lots of health benefits – it’s meat, after all! – and this article details what your furry companion stands to gain from being fed with beef jerky. Similarly, beef jerky can be toxic to dogs, and we’ve also explained what you need to be careful of when feeding your pooch with this product. However, before we delve into all this, let’s see why and when it is okay to feed dogs with beef jerky.
Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?
Yes, dogs can eat beef jerky, provided it is fed to them in small, minimal amounts and it doesn’t contain ingredients that will be dangerous to their health.
However, before feeding a dog with beef jerky, you have to make sure that it doesn’t contain ingredients that are harmful to a dog, such as onions, pepper, garlic, and salt.
Salt, in particular, is extremely toxic for dogs, and this is due to its significant sodium content. Feeding a pooch with too much salt can result in sodium poisoning, vomiting, excessive urination, and a host of other symptoms.
That said, the aforementioned ingredients are typically found in beef jerky made for human consumption, and to guarantee your canine buddy’s safety, it’s best that you feed the pooch with beef jerky made especially for dogs.
Canine beef jerky is typically prepared from a single source of protein, and contains no artificial additives, corn, and none of the harmful ingredients listed above.
And if you’re to feed your pooch with beef jerky, it is recommended that you do so with a homemade product, as beef jerky sold by pet stores typically does not indicate the exact ingredients used in formulating their products.
Sure, there are stores that sell beef jerky products that are specially prepared for pooches. But to guarantee your furry companion’s safety, it is best that you devote time to preparing its beef jerky by yourself.
How Much Beef Jerky Can A Dog Have?
As stated in the opening paragraph, beef jerky should only be fed to dogs in minimal amounts. And as a result, beef jerky is best served to dogs as a treat, and it isn’t intended to serve as the main source of nutrition for a dog.
As a rule of thumb, treats shouldn’t exceed 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.
That said, for small or toy dog breeds that weigh less than 10 lbs, one-half of a beef jerky treat should be enough per day. Medium or large-sized dogs can have between 2 or 3 pieces of beef jerky per day, but this is largely dependent on the sizes of the beef jerky treats in question.
What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Beef Jerky To Dogs?
Benefits of feeding your dog with beef jerky include the provision of beneficial nutrients, improved oral health, stronger muscle and bone joints.
Rich Source Of Nutrition
Beef in itself is rich in protein, and by feeding your dog with beef jerky, you’ll be providing a healthy amount of proteins needed for body-building activities such as skin and coat maintenance, as well as the production of enzymes and hormones.
Also, due to the preparation process involved, beef jerky is typically low in fat; Hence, there is little chance of your dog becoming overweight from being fed with beef jerky.
Beef jerky also contains a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals such as iron and zinc, and feeding these to a pooch comes with benefits such as:
- A stronger immune system
- Healing of wounds
- A more responsive nervous system
Helps Maintain Oral Health
The process of preparing beef jerky makes the meat considerably tough to bite and chew. And by chewing beef jerky, a dog can get rid of tartar and plaque build-up in the mouth.
And while beef jerky may be helpful in plaque and tartar reduction, you should still take time to carry out regular vet checks on your pooch’s mouth and practice other proven methods of canine dental care, such as regular brushing with a dog-friendly toothbrush.
Improved Joint Health
Another health benefit that has been attached to feeding dogs with beef jerky is an improvement in bone and joint health.
Beef jerky is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, and these are known to facilitate the growth of healthy cartilage. However, before you stuff your dog suffering from arthritis full of beef jerky, it is recommended that you visit your vet to get a proper treatment plan.
Manufacturers typically don’t list how much of these ingredients are contained in their beef jerky products. And it is highly unlikely that the amount of glucosamine and chondroitin contained in commercial or homemade beef jerky will be sufficient to provide effective treatment for dogs suffering from serious bone or joint problems.
Are There Downsides To Feeding A Dog With Beef Jerky?
If you feed your dog with beef jerky or the pooch mistakenly eats jerky made for human consumption, you should be alert for potential health complications.
Despite the health benefits attached to feeding a pooch beef jerky, there are downsides and potential health hazards you should be on the lookout for. And some of the things you should be on the lookout for if your dog eats beef jerky include:
Beef jerky is typically tough to bite and chew, mostly due to the method of preparation, and this can put a toy or small-sized dog at risk of choking. To make beef jerky easier for your pooch to chew and swallow, it is recommended that you break it into smaller pieces before feeding it to the dog.
Beef jerky, just like other raw meat products, is liable to contamination by bacteria; Hence, you should also watch out for signs of bacterial infections such as:
- Nasal discharge
Get Veterinary Help
If your dog has eaten beef jerky made for human consumption – containing onions, spices, and pepper – you should strongly monitor such a pooch for any of the signs listed above.
If the pooch has only eaten a minimal amount of this human beef jerky, such a dog may not require professional medical help, but you should be prepared to refill the dog’s water bowl more often.
However, if you notice any of the signs listed earlier, as well as symptoms of food poisoning in dogs, the next point of action is to get on the phone with your vet right away!