If you’ve ever eaten beef jerky in front of your dog, you know that it can grab their attention quickly. The smell of smoked, dried beef is just too much for them to ignore. But if you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that beef jerky can be harmful (even deadly) for dogs.
Can Pugs Eat Jerky?
No, your dog should NEVER eat commercial beef jerky, not even in moderation or as a special treat. While small amounts of plain beef will not hurt your dog, beef jerky has been known to be extremely dangerous for both cats and dogs.
The main reasons for this is that there are a wide range of unhealthy ingredients in human beef jerky that such as:
- Black Pepper
Nutrition information will vary based on the type of commercial beef jerky you consume. There’s been a huge controversy about feeding dogs beef jerky, so let’s clear things up.
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Be Very Selective When Feeding Your Pug Beef Jerky
As a pet parent, it’s important to know what you’re feeding your pup. Personally, you’ll want to avoid feeding your pooch any jerky imported from China.
In 2014 more than 1,140 dogs died after eating beef jerky treats out of 6,200 jerky related cases that were reported to the FDA.
Most of the pet-related deaths and illnesses were associated with jerky that was imported from China. However, some of the deaths and illnesses resulted from jerky treats that were labeled as US-made.
Does this mean that you can’t feed your dog jerky? Personally, I would rather feed them other treats that are safe for them.
But I know that some of you will still want to feed your dog some beef jerky, especially, when they beg with those big bulging eyes.
So let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of beef jerky and if they are safe for your pooch.
Is Jack Links Beef Jerky Bad for Dogs?
This is a very popular brand that many people love. In fact, you may even have a bag in your kitchen cabinet. It comes in many different flavors such as:
- Sweet & Spicy
- Extra Peppered Beef Steak Strips
- Hickory Smoked Bacon
- Jalapeno Beef
- Teriyaki Beef
- Sriracha Beef
- Sweet & Hot
There are literally tons of different flavors to choose from. All of the flavors contain way too much sodium for canines and should not be given to them as a treat. (source)
Just to be safe, I would avoid giving your dog any human jerky at all.
What To Do If My Dog Ate Beef Jerky?
If your dog grabbed your bag of jerky and ate some of it, then you’ll definitely want to monitor them closely for any side effects they can suffer from salt poisoning aka hypernatremia.
This can be a potentially fatal condition and you should watch them for the following signs:
- Extreme thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Stumbling or loss of coordination
- Behavioral changes
Depending on the amount of jerky your dog ate, it can also cause permanent damage to the kidneys, due to the large amount of sodium your dog consumed.
It’s best to take them to the vet’s office as soon as possible. The veterinarian will be able to begin treatment before the symptoms become irreversible.
If you really want to give your dog beef jerky as a treat, you will need to make sure that it’s specifically made for dogs and is low in sodium.
Health Benefits Of Jerky for Dogs?
Commercialized beef jerky does not have any benefits for either humans or dogs. In fact, hundreds of dogs have died from eating commercial jerky snacks more than other food-related illnesses.
The FDA has received more than 5,000 complaints pertaining to deaths and illnesses from pets who have consumed commercial jerky. Most of these complaints seem to revolve around the turkey or chicken jerky, but some also involve beef jerky.
Some dog owners believe that jerky can be a great source of protein for their pooch.
A single serving of beef jerky contains around ten grams of protein, the downside is that it contains an unhealthy amount of calories, sodium, and unhealthy saturated fat.
There are much healthier options to ensure your dog gets the right amount of protein. For instance, choosing a high-quality dog food.
Homemade Jerky Treats for Dogs
I realize that some Pug owners just want to give their furbabies beef jerky. That’s why I found a tasty homemade treat that won’t cause any side effects like commercial beef jerky.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Beef Like Flank Steak (No marbling) or you can use Chicken breast (don’t use chicken bones)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup liquid aminos (low sodium, gluten-free soy sauce)
- Pinch of powdered ginger
- A splash of fish sauce
Equipment You’ll Need
All you need is time, oven or a food dehydrator to make your own doggie beef jerky without any additives. We just made some jerky the other day in my sister in law’s NESCOSnackmaster Pro and it was so easy. Of course, you can also just use the low setting on your oven as well.
Storage, Ziplock bags or ceramic containers
Baking sheets and parchment paper (only if you’re preparing the jerky in your oven)
I found this recipe on Rover.com, where you can find the step-by-step instructions for preparation.
Cooking beef jerky does take a lot of time. I realize that not everyone has this much time to devote to making their dog-friendly jerky.
Best Jerky For Pugs
If not, then you may want to consider getting your dog this beef jerky that is specifically designed for canines. All these are specifically formulated for dogs and can be found in different types of ingredients such as; chicken, beef, turkey and etc.
As I’ve mentioned before, always make sure you read the ingredients in the food products you give your dog.
Final Word On Feeding Pugs Beef Jerky
Your Pug most likely loves eating beef jerky. But the high salt, spices, and preservatives can be extremely toxic for your pooch.
Some brands of jerky are responsible for the death and sicknesses of many canines. When feeding your dog human food or any new food, always read the label to ensure there are no harmful ingredients such as spices, additives, onions, salt, garlic, flavorings and more.
If you do decide to give your Pug some jerky, make sure that it is not a commercial product for humans. You’ll be better off making your own, as you know what ingredients are in it.
Basically, there are much healthier treats for dogs than jerky. You may want to consider giving your dog some baby carrots, blueberries or other nutritious dog treats for your pooch!
References and Further Reading
Healthy Pets – Dog Dies Less Than 24 Hours After Eating This Coveted Treat
Pet Food Industry – Tim Wall – FDA Update: Jerky Treats Sickened 6,200 Dogs, Killed 1,140