Are Jerky Chews Safe for Dogs?

Phoebe Cooper · Nov 2, 2023 · All

Author: Natalie Szymiczek

Have you ever been munching on a piece of beef jerky and offered your dog a few bites? Maybe you’ve even googled if it’s safe for dogs to eat jerky. The short answer to this question is both “yes” and “no”. Ultimately, it depends on the type of jerky you’re feeding your furry friend. And not all jerky is created equal.

In this blog, we're going to take a closer look at jerky for dogs, including its benefits, potential concerns, and tips for choosing the perfect chew.

What is Jerky?

Jerky is meat that has been cured to extend its shelf life and create a flavorful, chewy snack. Humans typically consume seasoned beef jerky, though you can find other types of jerky made from turkey, chicken, pork, or even exotic meats like ostrich. It is often enjoyed as a high-protein, low-fat, and portable snack for various outdoor activities, road trips, or as a convenient source of energy.

It is important to note that most jerky made for human consumption is NOT safe for dogs.

Jerky for Humans vs. Jerky for Dogs

Most types of jerky made for human consumption contain salt, additives, seasonings, and very high levels of sodium. While these additives are generally safe for humans and make the jerky extra delicious, they also make these treats unsafe for dogs.

High sodium intake in dogs can lead to salt toxicity, causing excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, and even more severe health issues such as kidney damage or failure. Garlic and onion seasoning can be toxic to dogs, potentially affecting red blood cells and leading to anemia, which can be life-threatening if not promptly addressed.

However, there is a separate type of jerky that is made specifically for canine consumption, and this type of jerky IS safe (and delicious) for dogs!

Jerky chews for dogs are typically made from 100% dehydrated meat, and contain no:

  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Onion
  • Spicy Seasonings

Jerky Chews for Dogs

When it comes to the world of jerky chews for dogs, you'll find a wide range of options to choose from. These treats vary not only in terms of protein sources but also in shape, size, and texture. Some jerky chews are thin and flat, perfect for dogs of all sizes, while others are thicker and more substantial, providing a more extended chewing experience.

As long as the jerky chew you purchase for your dog is made from 100% dehydrated meat, with no additives, it is safe and healthy for your dog.

Many jerky chews are designed to be easily digestible and suitable for sensitive stomachs. Some have supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. Natural Farm’s Beef Jerky Chews are made from 100% beef esophagus that naturally contains glusoamine and chondroitin, and they’re carefully crafted to offer dogs a tasty and wholesome high-quality protein snack, free from harmful additives.

It's all about finding the perfect jerky chew that suits your furry friend's taste buds and dietary needs.

Benefits of Jerky Chews for Dogs

Jerky chews for dogs offer a range of benefits that make them a popular choice for pet owners. First and foremost, they provide a high protein content, which is essential for a dog's diet, supporting muscle development and overall health. Additionally, jerky chews offer a long-lasting chewing experience, helping to alleviate boredom and reduce destructive chewing behaviors.

Their texture can contribute to improved dental health, as chewing increases saliva production, strengthens jaw muscles, and gently scrapes away plaque and tartar buildup. Jerky treats come in a delightful array of flavors, making them not only tasty but also a versatile tool for training and positive reinforcement.

How to Choose the Right Jerky Chews

It’s important to choose the right kind of jerky chews for your dog. Stay away from jerky produced for human consumption. As we discussed earlier, it typically has additives that are unsafe for your dog.

To begin with, carefully read the ingredient labels to ensure the jerky is free from any harmful additives and suitable for your dog's dietary requirements. Take into account your dog's specific needs and taste preferences.

Seeking recommendations from your veterinarian is always a good idea. They can provide guidance based on your dog's health, age, and any potential dietary restrictions.

By combining these strategies, you can make an informed choice that promotes both your dog's well-being and their enjoyment of these delectable snacks.

Natural Farm carries two jerky-style chews for dogs that are made from 100% premium, all-natural beef esophagus:

For dogs with sensitive stomachs or for a softer, quicker chew, Gullet Sticks are are designed to be both easily chewable and digestible, making them a great option for senior dogs and puppies. They naturally contain a boost of chondroitin and glucosamine, which supports joint health and increased mobility, and they promote better overall dental health as dogs chew on them. They are available in 6” and 10” lengths.

Similarly, Natural Farm’s Beef Jerky Treats are also great for lighter chewers, dogs with sensitive stomachs, and senior dogs and puppies. They offer all the same great health benefits and provide pups with loads of entertainment and rich beef flavor. This option is mildly more robust than the Gullet Sticks due to their flattened shape and texture, and they are available in a 6” length.

Other High-Protein Treats for Dogs

If you are looking to supplement your dog’s jerky treats with other high-protein options, or jerky is simply not a good fit for your dog, there are plenty of other great choices that provide similar benefits.

Natural Farm’s Bully Sticks are made from 100% all-natural beef and are longer-lasting than jerky chews. Crafted from premium, all-natural beef cheek muscle and beef pizzle sheath, these protein-rich, digestible treats are perfect for medium or vigorous chewers.

Collagen Sticks come in a variety of different flavors and textures, and last 20% longer than similar-sized bully sticks. Collagen supports flexibility, mobility, dental health, a bright coat, and digestive health.

Beef Cheek Sticks offer all the benefits of jerky and traditional bully sticks, and then some! Crafted from premium beef cheek muscle sourced from grass-fed cattle, these exciting new treats closely resemble traditional bully sticks. They're long-lasting, protein-rich, and bursting with savory beef taste. What sets them apart is their cost-effectiveness, thanks to a more readily available raw material. Perfect for medium chewers, they promise a satisfying, safe, and budget-friendly chew for your beloved pets.

Make sure to check out Natural Farm’s online store to learn more about our premium selection of all-natural jerky and other delicious chews and treats!