Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

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can dogs eat beef jerky

You might have come home to find your dogs munching on a piece of beef jerky you left unattended. Our furry family members are surely intrigued by human foods and are more than likely to try everything at least once.

You’re probably worried. Can dogs eat beef jerky and be ok?

Let’s find out.

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Dogs can eat a small piece of plain, low-sodium beef jerky with no extra ingredients. However, many brands use ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

There are some benefits to dogs eating beef jerky, but there are also many serious risks. You should pay special attention to salt content, garlic and onion powder, and xylitol. These can cause toxicity and serious medical problems for dogs.

Is Beef Jerky Good for Dogs?

Beef jerky can be somewhat good for dogs if it is homemade and dog-friendly. The best one is plain beef jerky, without spices and flavor. Also, make sure it doesn’t have too much salt and sugar.

A plain and dry beef jerky is a dehydrated type of meat. It does provide proteins to your pooch, which they need to thrive.

However, plain beef jerky can also be very high in salt and fat. These lead to sodium-ion poisoning, obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis.

plain beef jerky

Is Beef Jerky Bad for Dogs?

The ingredients make or break any food and how safe it is. Certain ingredients in beef jerky, like onion and garlic, are downright toxic to dogs. Let’s look at the common ingredients and what they mean for your dog’s health.


Beef jerky typically has a lot of salt. Only 1 oz of beef jerky contains a whopping 590 mg of sodium.

This is too much for any dog! A 33-pounds dog’s daily sodium intake is six times less! Even if it was diluted by drinking water, it would still cause mild toxicity symptoms at the very least.

Too much salt ingested on a regular basis can lead to salt poisoning. This is a severe medical condition and a serious health risk. Symptoms include dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, coma and can lead to the death of a canine.

Onion and Garlic

Onion and garlic belong to the Allium family, along with chives, leeks, and shallots.

Even a tiny amount can lead to severe onion and garlic toxicity. Garlic toxicity causes breathing difficulties and problems with red blood cells. It can lead the dog into hemolytic anemia and cause the death of a pet.

The problem with processed meats is that onions and garlic are usually in the form of a powder. The powder is a highly concentrated form, up to eight times stronger than fresh ingredients. Small amounts can wreak havoc on your dog’s body.

If you notice the symptoms of garlic and onion toxicity — lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, wobbly posture, and disorientation — take your dog immediately to a vet clinic.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Some beef jerky contains sugar or artificial sweeteners as flavor enhancers.

Too much sugar causes weight gain, obesity, diabetes and can contribute to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas and a condition that could last a lifetime.

However, artificial sweeteners are much worse. Xylitol, in particular, is problematic because it is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol poisoning often results in the death of a pet because there is no known antidote.

If you think your dog ate food with xylitol, take them to a vet clinic immediately.

Spicy Ingredients

Dogs generally shouldn’t eat spicy foods. Spicy foods, such as pepper can irritate a dog’s gastrointestinal tract and cause vomiting and diarrhea. They can also cause burning sensations around the mouth and eyes. It’s best to avoid spicy ingredients.

Digestive issues typically resolve on their own after 24-48 hours. If they don’t, and if they are followed by lethargy, wobbliness, and tremors, call the vet immediately.

beef jerky

Different Types of Beef Jerky

There are many brands of beef jerky, and they typically differ in ingredients. Let’s look at the common ones and whether dogs can eat them at all.

Can Dogs Eat Regular Beef Jerky?

Dogs can eat regular beef jerky if there aren’t any harmful ingredients. Make sure that onion, garlic, and xylitol are not on the list.

Plain beef jerky with low sodium content is fine for your dog in small amounts and on rare occasions. However, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Can Dogs Eat Natural Beef Jerky?

Natural beef jerky is ok for your dog if there are no additional spices, flavors, and sugar.

A beef jerky that is lower in sodium is safer for your furry friend. However, make sure you feed your dog jerky only rarely.

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky Sticks?

Beef jerky sticks are a safer alternative to regular beef jerky. However, it’s best to feed them plain beef sticks without any extra ingredients.

If the sticks have high amounts of sugar or salt, you should avoid them.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Jerky?

Turkey jerky should be lower in fat than beef jerky, so your dog can eat it.

However, make sure there are no added flavors or spices, especially garlic or onion powder. A store-bought turkey jerky can also contain sugar and spicy ingredients.

Homemade beef jerky is still the best. Even then, feed it to your dog only in small amounts.

Can Dogs Eat Peppered Beef Jerky?

No, peppered beef jerky is not good for dogs.

Pepper is the main ingredient, and it can cause digestive upset in your dog. Spicy foods can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Furthermore, the dog can also experience burning sensations around the mouth, tongue, and eyes.

Your furry companion should always have access to fresh water.

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Beef Jerky?

Similar to the peppered beef jerky — no, dogs should not eat spicy beef jerky.

Spicy foods aren’t necessarily toxic, but they will cause digestive problems. 

Even worse, they could contribute to pancreatitis — a potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas.

If you must, feed your dog only a small amount extremely rarely. It’s best to avoid spicy foods, though.

Can Dogs Eat Teriyaki Beef Jerky?

No, it is a bad idea to let dogs eat teriyaki beef jerky.

Teriyaki beef jerky contains sugar or corn syrup. If your dog consumes these regularly, it can lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart problems.

Additionally, always check the ingredients for xylitol, onion, and garlic. If the jerky has any of those, do not feed it to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Pacific Gold Beef Jerky?

Pacific Gold beef jerky is undoubtedly delicious, but dogs should not eat it.

Why? Only one serving of this jerky has an unbelievable 640 mg of sodium. For a middle-sized dog, this is six times the recommended daily sodium intake. F

or smaller breeds, it can be multiple times more and quickly cause salt poisoning. Salt poisoning is followed by severe dehydration, organ failure, coma, and the death of the pet.

It also contains garlic and onion powder. The members of the Allium family (onions, garlic, leeks, etc.) are extremely toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Jack Link’s Beef Jerky?

No, Jack Link’s beef jerky is not suitable for dogs.

This commercial jerky is also very high in salt and spices, which can cause digestive upset and sodium-ion poisoning.

Similar to Pacific Gold beef jerky, it also contains garlic powder. Garlic powder is a highly concentrated form of garlic, which is highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of it can have severe consequences.

If you suspect your dog ate a jerky with garlic powder, take them to a vet immediately.

Is Dog Beef Jerky Better for Dogs?

Beef jerky dog treats are generally a healthier option than human foods.

Beef jerky treats usually have fewer ingredients, less sodium, and not many spices.

Always check the ingredients. A single-ingredient, plain beef jerky treat is usually the best option for your dog.

Which Dog Beef Jerky Should You Choose?

When choosing any dog treat, make sure to check the ingredients first. As for the dog beef jerky, it might be a good idea to look at well-known brands and ask in pet shops for recommendations.

Generally speaking, plain beef jerky with fewer ingredients is better and more easily digestible than other options. Even then, you should always check the ingredients to make sure there aren’t any that could potentially harm your pet.

Here is a list of my favorite beef jerky treats for dogs:

Your pooch will surely love one of these treats. Before introducing any new food to your dog, consult your veterinarian.

What to Do if My Dog Ate Beef Jerky?

Should your dog eat beef jerky, don’t panic! The symptoms and problems depend on the quantity the dog ate and the ingredients in jerky.

The most important thing is to assess the situation properly. Start by looking at the ingredients and collect the sample of the beef jerky.

Depending on ingredients, your dog could be at risk of salt poisoning, garlic or onion poisoning, or xylitol poisoning. They could also experience digestive issues, which usually pass within a day or two.

The symptoms to look out for are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Lethargy

Lethargy and thirst are often the signs that your dog consumed some of the harmful ingredients. In case they ingested any of the toxic substances (onion, garlic, xylitol) or too much salt, take your furry companion to a vet clinic immediately.

The Steaks Are High

Beef jerky is common in households, but it shouldn’t be a common treat for dogs. Many brands use onion or garlic powder, xylitol, and too much salt — all of which can be toxic to our four-legged friends. Small amounts of toxic substances can have serious health consequences.

Dog owners can occasionally offer a small piece of plain, low-sodium beef jerky to dogs. However, always read the ingredients and make sure there are no toxic substances. You can also look up beef jerky dog treats.

Beef jerky is one of those human foods we should keep to ourselves and let dogs have better and healthier alternatives.

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As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

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