Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat beef jerky, provided it is naturally dehydrated without any preservatives, spices, and salt. You can give beef jerky to your dog in moderation as a treat. But, remember, you should not add it to his regular diet.

What Is Beef Jerky? 

Beef jerky is nothing but dried cow meat. The procedure of drying meat was first introduced for those who did not have the privilege to refrigerate the meat. The Quechua tribe of South America was the first one to preserve the meat for their survival.  

Now, beef jerky is used as a snack, and many famous brands mass produce it to the market.  

Is Beef Jerky Safe for Dogs? 

Yes, beef jerky is safe for dogs to consume as treats in moderation. However, to keep beef jerky safe for dogs, you will have to avoid the following: 

  • Salted beef Jerky: Dogs should not consume excessive salt. A minimum amount of salt is needed in their diet, which is already present in their regular kibble. Added salt can lead to various health issues, which can even lead to death.  
  • Seasoned beef Jerky: Dogs cannot tolerate spices. Spices lead to irritation and various health issues in dogs.  

Hence, homemade beef jerky is the healthiest option for your pet.

Why Is Beef Jerky Good for Dogs? 

Homemade beef jerky in moderation is good for dogs. So let us check the benefits it provides a dog: 

  • Source of Protein: An ounce of beef jerky has nearly 9.4 grams of protein. A 12 to 33 pounds dog must consume 56 grams of protein per day. Protein helps in keeping the immune system of a dog healthy. It also keeps the skin and coat condition healthy. It also maintains and repairs the cells.  
  • Source of Iron: Iron is necessary for dogs. It carries the oxygen to the hemoglobin present in the red blood cells and keeps the dog energetic.   
  • Source of Magnesium: A dog must have 150 milligrams of magnesium daily. Magnesium helps in regenerating and relaxing the muscles in dogs’ bodies. It also helps in the proper functioning of the organs. Magnesium helps stimulate the dog mentally and keeps him healthy.  
  • Vitamin B 12: It helps in maintaining the cell system of the dog’s body, formation of the red blood cells, keeps the nervous system healthy, and aids in cell growth. It aids in carbohydrate metabolism and protein synthesis.  
  • Choline: Choline helps in the proper development of the brain and keeps the liver healthy. It keeps the dog’s body hydrated and protects the skin.  

Aids in Dental Health: Chewing beef jerky helps clean the teeth, preventing the chances of plaque and tartar. It also keeps the teeth strong.  

Why Is Beef Jerky Bad for Dogs? 

You need to be very careful while feeding beef jerky to your dog. In 2016, there have been enormous cases of dogs being sick and dying due to the consumption of beef jerky. Hence, feeding beef jerky to your dog comes with mountainous responsibility.  

The main concern of beef jerky is the spices present in it and the high amount of salt. In addition, there are added preservatives.  

Let us see how these affect your dog.  

Salt: While preparing beef jerky, a tremendous amount of salt is added, which is toxic for dogs. The high salt content can bring adverse effects in dogs. In an ounce of beef jerky, there are 590 milligrams of sodium. According to canine dieticians, a 33 pounds dog can have 100 milligrams of sodium per day. Therefore, an ounce of jerky is toxic for dogs and will result in salt poisoning.  

Salt poisoning can be deadly. The symptoms of consuming excessive salt are: 

  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Lethargy  
  • Disorientation  
  • Excessive thirst  
  • Frequent urination  
  • Tremors  
  • Seizures  
  • Coma  
  • Death 

Garlic and Onion Powder: Dogs should not consume anything which has garlic and onion powder. Both these ingredients are toxic to dogs, resulting in death. Garlic and onion are from the allium subspecies and have downsides, which are:  

  • Damages red blood cell  
  • Lack of oxygen supply  
  • Organ failure  
  • Gastrointestinal issues  
  • Vomiting  
  • Bloody diarrhea  
  • Abdominal pain  
  • Drooling  
  • Mouth irritation  
  • Seizures  
  • Tremors  
  • Disorientation  
  • Increased heart rate  
  • Respiratory issues  
  • Anemia  
  • Kidney damage  
  • Collapse  
  • Death 

Chili Powder: Spices are not recommended for dogs, as they cause irritations to dogs. The symptoms of consuming chili powder are: 

  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Throat and mouth irritation  
  • Gastrointestinal issues  
  • Pancreatitis  
  • Esophagus damage  
  • Intestinal damage 

Added Preservatives: Preservatives can severely harm your dog. Store-bought beef jerky has added preservatives that are toxic for dogs. Consuming these can lead to:  

  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Kidney issues  
  • Disorientations  
  • Weight gain or weight loss  
  • Diabetes  
  • Obesity  
  • Pancreatitis  
  • Seizures  
  • Tremors  
  • Organ failure 

Silica Gel Packets: Most beef jerky packets contain a Silica gel packet inside to keep the jerky fresh. It also helps the jerky to be moist. The silica gel packet has a caution written – Do Not Consume. The silica gel is toxic for dogs. The consequences of consuming one of those packets are: 

  • Gastrointestinal issues 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

How Much Beef Jerky to Feed Your Dog? 

As beef jerky is safe for dogs in moderation and must be given as treats, you should limit 3 to 4 bite-sized pieces of beef jerky once in two weeks.   

What If My Dog Ate Beef Jerky?  

If your dog accidentally consumed beef jerky, you must wait for the symptoms. Your dog will be facing the following consequences: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dehydration 
  • Nausea 
  • Lethargy 

The immediate task is to provide enough water to ease his stomach and keep him hydrated. Next, visit the veterinarian and diagnose your pet. The vet will perform a few tests and then move towards the treatments to resolve the issues.   

Keep beef jerky out of your dog’s reach to avoid unavoidable circumstances.  

Alternatives to Beef Jerky  

There are other alternatives to beef jerky, which are naturally dried without any added spices and preservatives. They are: 

  • Skipper’s dry fish skin jerky cubes 
  • K9 Gourmet treats 

You can also prepare homemade beef jerky for your dog. The procedure is: 

  • Take a few pounds of beef, wash it properly.  
  • Filet it into thin slices.  
  • Remember to trim the fat off from the beef.  
  • Place the slices in the cookie sheets and put the sheet in the oven at 200 degrees.  
  • Rotate the racks in the oven every half an hour.  
  • Examine if the moisture is gone and the slices are completely dehydrated. If the pieces seem a little bit moist, microwave them for some more time.  
  • The redness and the stiffness are indications that it is completely dehydrated.  
  • Put it in the refrigerator.  
  • Store the strips in an airtight container and let your dog enjoy it as a treat.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can dogs eat Pacific Gold beef jerky? 

No, dogs cannot eat Pacific Gold beef jerky, as it has 640 mg of sodium. It also has garlic and onion powder, both of which are toxic for dogs. 

Can dogs eat Jack Link’s beef jerky? 

This specific brand uses excessive salt, garlic, and onion powder to prepare beef jerky. Hence it is best not to provide Jack Link’s beef jerky to your dog.  

Can dogs eat natural beef jerky? 

Yes, dogs can eat natural beef jerky, provided it has no salt, sugar, or preservatives. However, remember to read the ingredient list before offering it to your dog.  

Can dogs eat regular beef jerky? 

Yes, dogs can eat regular beef jerky, provided no onion and garlic powder is added to the jerky. Moderation is the key.  

Can dogs eat beef jerky sticks? 

In moderation, you can give your dog a beef jerky stick. Remember to cut it into small bite-sized pieces. Ensure there are no spices added. Spices are harmful to dogs and can result in death.  

Can dogs eat peppered beef jerky? 

No, dogs cannot eat peppered beef jerky. This can affect the eyes of your dog and also may irritate his throat.  

Can dogs eat spicy beef jerky? 

No, dogs cannot eat any amount of spicy beef jerky, as spices are not meant for dogs. Spices can irritate the eyes, throat of your dog. It can also lead to gastrointestinal issues.  

Can dogs eat teriyaki beef jerky? 

No, dogs cannot eat teriyaki beef jerky as it has corn syrup and sugar, which is harmful. In addition, it results in heart issues, dental issues, obesity, and diabetes.  

Can dogs eat turkey jerky? 

Yes, dogs can eat turkey jerky in moderation. However, ensure that it does not contain any added preservatives and spices.  


Concluding whether dogs can eat beef jerky, we can very well comprehend that handmade beef jerky is the safest option. This is because it won’t contain any added spices or preservatives. Whereas feeding store-bought beef jerky may lead to death in worse cases. If you feed beef jerky to your dog, remember that moderation is the key. 

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