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Can Dogs Eat Jerky?

Humans love jerky!  And dogs do too!  But have you wondered if your dog can have it too?  Well, it depends – Jerky made for humans are often spiced and should not be given to dogs.  Jerky made for canine consumption, however, if made from quality meats, can be a good and nutritious dog treat.

What is Jerky?

Jerky is dried meat (meat, poultry, or fish) that is cut into strips and dried for consumption at a later time.  Removing the water from meat makes it lightweight to where a pound of meat weighs only 3-4 ounces after being dried.  Since most of the moisture is removed, jerky will not spoil for a period of time and can be stored without refrigeration.  By removing moisture, enzymes cannot react with the food and prevents it from turning bad.

What is the History of Jerky?

Drying meat is one of the oldest forms of food preservation known to mankind.  It allowed our ancestors to both store food for long periods of time, and to have an easy-to-carry, nutritional food source to take with them on long journeys.  30,000 years ago, Neanderthals made jerky from the mammoths that they hunted, suggesting that they knew that dried meat lasted much longer than fresh meat.

The term jerky dates back to a South American Quechua Inca tribe in the 1500s, who called their dried and salted llama and alpaca meats “ch’arki”.  The Cree Indians or North America made Pemmican, a jerky variety consisting of dried meat, berries, and fat.  Jerky reached the height of its popularity during European settlement into North America, where traders and explorers utilized it as an essential source of nutrition as they traveled West with limited access to fresh food and supplies.

Jerky for Humans

After the invention of refrigeration, dried meat lost its importance as a food source, however jerky remained to be a popular snack in many countries around the world.  Jerky in the modern world is available in a variety of meats and flavors. You can now find hand-crafted jerky in the form of exotic meats, to the mass-produced jerky we often see near at the check-out counter at the grocery.  It is common to find jerky made for human consumption containing a lot of salt and spice.  In these cases, where sodium levels are high, jerky is not recommended as a dog treat.

Jerky for Dogs

Dog jerky treats have become increasingly popular for many years now, and if made from quality meats, jerky can be a very healthy and highly recommendable snack for dogs.

Benefits of Jerky as a Dog Treat

When jerky is made for dogs, dehydration is more gentle and dried at low temperatures, which preserves vitamins and other temperature-sensitive nutrients.  This preparation makes it rich in vitamins and nutrients.

Dehydrated meat is a very dense and an excellent source of protein.  Good jerky may consist of over 85% high-quality protein.

When jerky is made from chicken or turkey breast, it results in being extremely lean, making this kind of jerky a great treat for dogs on a diet.

Low water content makes jerky is tough and chewy.  The chewiness for dogs supports the removal of plaque and tartar build-up, contributing to the overall dental hygiene of canines.

How Does One Know if Jerky is Good Quality?

Unfortunately, not all dog treats labeled as jerky, are actually real jerky.  So-called jerky for dogs often contain additives, fillers, and preservatives, and many times are made for mass-production from low-quality, feed-grade ingredients.

Good jerky for dogs is characterized by two attributes, which are that they are single-ingredient, meaning only meat, poultry, or fish without additives, fillers, or preservatives, and that they are pure muscle meat, and not pressed meat by-products.

It is recommended to avoid jerky treats made in China. Between August 2007, through December 2015, more than 6,200 dogs, 26 cats, and three people became severely ill in what is now known as the melamine scandal.

More than 1,140 of those dogs died. Even though the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never been able to fully identify the exact cause of the illnesses, but the correlation was associated with the consumption of pet jerky treats imported from China.

How Much Jerky can I Give to my Dog?

Jerky treats are not intended to replace the diet of your dog.  One rule of thumb is that treats should not account for more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake.

Like all other treats and food, it is recommended to supervise your dog when giving anything for consumption.

As jerky contains little to no water, your dog may get thirsty, so always ensure that your dog has plenty of fresh water.


Jerky made for humans may taste good to us and seem good for dogs, but it is not necessarily the case and often contains a lot of salt and spice, therefore should not be given to a dog.  Jerky treats made for canine consumption are made just for them, free of additives, fillers, and preservatives, and made of just one single ingredient (poultry, meat, or fish).  When prepared at lower temperatures, jerky is nutritious, high in protein, and low in fat.  Always choose premium jerky when feeding your dog to keep them healthy and living longer.

Originally posted 2020-11-13 01:41:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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