Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is a popular type of cured meat snack that is made from beef. It is a high-protein, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate snack that is enjoyed by many people. While beef jerky may seem like a tasty treat for dogs, there are some things pet owners should consider before giving it to their furry friends.

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Some beef jerky products can be safe for dogs to consume, as they are made with simple ingredients and do not contain any harmful additives. However, it is important to keep in mind that beef jerky is not a necessary part of a dog’s diet, and it should only be given as an occasional treat.

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

It is not recommended to feed beef jerky to dogs. While small amounts of lean, unseasoned beef jerky may be okay for some dogs, it is not a nutritionally balanced treat and can be high in sodium and preservatives. It is also important to note that some types of beef jerky may contain onions, garlic, or other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. If you do choose to give your dog beef jerky as a treat, it should be given in moderation and only as an occasional treat. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any new food or treat. 

What Kind Of Beef Jerky Is Bad For Dogs?

Beef jerky that contains a high amount of salt, spices, flavorings, and preservatives can be harmful to dogs. This includes jerky with added onion or garlic powder, which can be toxic to dogs. It is also important to avoid any beef jerky that is made with artificial sweeteners, as they can be toxic to dogs as well.

Additionally, jerky that is overly processed and made with low-quality meats can also be bad for dogs. These products may contain unhealthy additives and fillers that can be harmful to a dog’s digestive system. Stick to high-quality, natural beef jerky specifically made for dogs.

Finally, jerky that is moldy, expired, or has not been properly stored can also be bad for dogs. Always check the expiration date and storage recommendations before giving beef jerky to your dog.

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What Happens If My Dog Eats Beef Jerky?

If your dog eats beef jerky, there are a few things that could happen. Some possible scenarios include:

  • Your Dog Could Develop Indigestion: Beef jerky is rich in protein and fat, which can be difficult for dogs to digest. If your dog eats too much beef jerky, they may experience gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Your Dog Could Choke: If the beef jerky is too large or too tough, it could cause your dog to choke. This is more likely to happen in smaller dogs or dogs that tend to swallow food without chewing it properly.
  • Your Dog Could Develop Pancreatitis: The high-fat content in beef jerky can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. This is a serious health condition that causes inflammation of the pancreas and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Your Dog Could Experience Salt Toxicity: Most store-bought beef jerky contains a lot of sodium, which can be harmful to dogs. If your dog eats too much beef jerky, they may experience salt toxicity, which can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and increased heart rate.

Beef Jerky for Dogs Recipe


  • 1 lb beef cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl, mix the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce.
  3. Add the beef strips to the bowl and mix until they are evenly coated with the marinade.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Place the marinated beef strips on the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure they are not touching each other.
  7. Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the beef strips are dry and crispy.
  8. Let the beef jerky cool down and then cut it into small pieces.
  9. Store the beef jerky in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  10. Give them to your dog as a tasty and healthy treat!

Harmful Beef Jerky Ingredients

  • Sodium Nitrites and Nitrates: These compounds are commonly used as preservatives in beef jerky to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum. These substances have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer, and have been banned in some countries.
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is a flavor-enhancing additive commonly found in processed foods, including beef jerky. It has been linked to adverse reactions such as headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations in some individuals. MSG has also been associated with long-term health effects such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • High Amounts of Sodium: Beef jerky is often high in sodium due to the added salt during the curing process. High sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Artificial Flavors and Colors: Beef jerky may contain artificial flavors and colors, such as caramel color and artificial smoke flavor, to enhance its taste and appearance. These additives have been linked to various health concerns, including allergic reactions, hyperactivity in children, and an increased risk of cancer.
  • Hydrogenated Oils: Hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, are often added to beef jerky to improve its texture and shelf life. These fats can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health issues.
  • Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup: Many beef jerky brands add sugar or high fructose corn syrup to their products to enhance the flavor. However, these sweeteners can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Preservatives: Aside from sodium nitrites and nitrates, beef jerky may also contain other preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and TBHQ. These additives help prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of the product but have been linked to potential health risks, including allergic reactions and cancer.

How to Feed Beef Jerky to Dogs

  1. Choose a high-quality beef jerky: When selecting beef jerky to feed to your dog, be sure to choose a high-quality brand that uses natural ingredients and minimal preservatives. Avoid jerky that contains artificial flavors, colors, and additives that can be harmful to your dog’s health.
  2. Check for allergens: Before feeding your dog beef jerky, make sure to check the label for any potential allergens. Some beef jerky products may contain common allergens such as wheat, corn, or soy, which can cause digestive issues in certain dogs.
  3. Cut the jerky into small pieces: Beef jerky can be tough for your dog to chew and digest, especially for smaller breeds. To make it easier for your dog to eat, cut the jerky into smaller pieces or shred it into smaller bits.
  4. Limit the amount: While beef jerky can be a tasty treat for your dog, it should not be given in excessive amounts. Too much jerky can upset your dog’s stomach and lead to obesity, so it’s important to monitor the amount of jerky your dog is consuming.
  5. Serve as a treat, not a meal replacement: Beef jerky should only be given to your dog as a treat and should not be used as a replacement for a balanced and nutritious diet. It should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
  6. Be cautious with homemade beef jerky: Homemade beef jerky may seem like a healthier option, but it can be risky for dogs. Without proper curing and cooking methods, homemade jerky can contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick. It’s best to stick to commercially produced beef jerky for your dog.
  7. Watch for choking hazards: Dogs tend to gulp their food, and this can be dangerous with tough and chewy treats like beef jerky. Always supervise your dog when they are eating jerky and make sure to cut it into small pieces to avoid choking.

What Are the Benefits of Beef Jerky for Dogs?beef jeark 1

  1. High in protein: Beef jerky is a great source of protein for dogs. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, as well as maintaining a healthy immune system. Dogs require a high amount of protein in their diets to stay healthy.
  2. Good for digestion: Many brands of beef jerky for dogs are made with all-natural ingredients, making them an easily digestible protein source. This is especially beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
  3. Great source of nutrients: Beef jerky for dogs is often made with high-quality, whole ingredients such as lean beef, which is a good source of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are important for maintaining a dog’s overall health and well-being.
  4. Helps with dental health: Dogs have an instinct to chew, and beef jerky provides a satisfying and tasty outlet for this behavior. Chewing on jerky helps to remove plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth, promoting better oral health.
  5. Low fat and low calorie: Beef jerky for dogs is a lean protein source, which means it is low in fat and calories compared to other treats. This makes it a great option for overweight dogs or dogs on a weight management plan.
  6. Promotes strong muscles: The high protein content in beef jerky helps to support muscle growth and maintenance. This is especially beneficial for active dogs or those who participate in agility or sports.
  7. Convenient and portable: Beef jerky for dogs is a great on-the-go snack option for busy pet owners. It is lightweight, easy to pack, and does not need to be refrigerated, making it a great choice for outings or travel.
  8. Can be used for training: Many dog owners use beef jerky as a high-value treat for training their dogs. Its strong smell and chewy texture make it a desirable reward for good behavior.
  9. Variety of flavors: Beef jerky for dogs comes in a wide range of flavors, such as beef, chicken, and turkey, making it easy to find one that your dog loves. This variety helps to keep your dog interested and engaged in their treats.

What Are the Risks of Feeding Beef Jerky to Dogs?

  • Choking Hazard: Beef jerky can be tough for some dogs to chew and swallow, increasing the risk of choking.
  • Digestive Issues: Beef jerky is high in protein and fat, which can be difficult for some dogs to digest. This can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.
  • High Salt Content: Most commercial beef jerky contains a high amount of salt, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities. Excessive salt intake can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other health problems.
  • Contamination: Homemade or low-quality beef jerky may contain bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning in dogs.
  • Additives and Preservatives: Many commercial beef jerky products contain additives and preservatives, such as nitrates and MSG, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities.
  • Tooth Damage: The tough, chewy texture of beef jerky can be damaging to dogs’ teeth, especially if they have pre-existing dental issues.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to beef, making beef jerky a potential trigger for allergic reactions.

Alternatives to Jerky for Your Dog

  • Dehydrated Meat Treats: Instead of traditional beef jerky, try giving your dog dehydrated meat treats made from chicken, turkey, or fish. These treats are a healthier and more natural alternative to traditional jerky and can be easily found at pet stores.
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables make great snacks for dogs, and they’re a much healthier option than processed jerky. Try giving your dog slices of apple, carrot sticks, or chunks of watermelon as a tasty and nutritious treat.
  • Homemade Dog Treats: If you have the time and ingredients, try making your homemade dog treats. This way you can control exactly what goes into them and ensure they are healthy for your pup. Recipes for homemade dog treats can easily be found online.
  • Freeze-Dried Treats: Similar to dehydrated meat treats, freeze-dried treats are made from real meat that has been freeze-dried to lock in the natural nutrients and flavors. They come in a variety of proteins such as chicken, beef, and fish, and are a healthy alternative to traditional jerky snacks.
  • Cheese: Many dogs love cheese, and it can make for a tasty and protein-rich snack.


Q. Is human beef jerky safe for dogs?

A. While human beef jerky may be tempting to share with your dog, it is not a safe food for them to eat.

Q. Can dogs eat Jack Link’s beef jerky?

A. It is not recommended for dogs to eat Jack Link’s beef jerky. Jack Link’s beef jerky is intended for human consumption and is not formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs.

Q. Can I use beef jerky as a dog treat?

A. While it is possible to use beef jerky as a dog treat, it is not always the best option.

Q. Can beef jerky kill dogs?

A. Ingesting large amounts of beef jerky can potentially be fatal for dogs. This is because beef jerky typically contains a high amount of salt. Dogs are more sensitive to salt than humans and can become dehydrated when they consume too much of it.

Q. Can dogs eat pork jerky?

A. In general, it is not recommended for dogs to eat pork jerky. Like beef jerky, pork jerky is typically high in salt, which can cause dehydration and other health problems in dogs.

Q. Can dogs eat turkey jerky?

A. While turkey jerky is a popular treat for humans, it is not always a safe option for dogs.

SEE ALSO: Can Cats Eat Bread?


In conclusion, beef jerky can be a tasty and protein-rich treat for dogs in moderation. However, it is important to make sure that the beef jerky is made specifically for dogs and does not contain any harmful ingredients such as onions or garlic. It is also important to limit the amount of beef jerky given to dogs as it can be high in salt and fat, which can cause health issues if consumed in excess. Overall, it is best to consult with a veterinarian before giving any new treats to your dog and to always read the ingredients list to ensure they are safe for your furry friend.

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