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7 Facts About Feeding Jerky treats to Your Dog

It’s natural to want to share your favorite snack with your furry friend. However, we have to remember that not all human food is safe for our pets to consume. So what about beef jerky? It’s just meat, so it should be fine for our four-legged friends to enjoy, right? The answer isn’t as simple as you may assume. Several factors determine whether or not beef jerky is a safe snack for your pup.

Feeding Jerky treats to Your Dog

Before we dive in, remember that any major changes to your dog’s diet should involve a discussion with your veterinarian. Keep any dietary restrictions in mind and consult with the vet if you have any concerns. Now, without further ado, here are seven things to consider before giving your pup a taste of your favorite jerky.

1. Beware of Jerky Made for Human Consumption

You may think, “if it’s safe for humans, it’s safe for my pup!” However, this isn’t entirely true. Yes, jerky made specifically for human consumption is likely made with more natural ingredients and fewer fillers, however, there are several ingredients that humans love that can actually irritate your pup. So just because it's safe for you, doesn't automatically mean it's safe for your canine companion.

2. Refuse the Fillers

When it comes to dog jerky treats, steer clear of any ingredients you can’t pronounce, which are usually fillers, cures or powders. These nasty additives are no friend to your pup, so keep them out of their diet. Instead, look for single-source protein jerky, where the ingredient list is just one single ingredient. This will ensure that your pup is consuming pure beef jerky without the addition of soy, corn, artificial flavors or other pesky additives.

3. Avoid Sodium

Most beef jerky made for humans contains a lot of salt, as jerky is traditionally a savory snack. While this is okay for humans, a dog’s system is more sensitive, and too much sodium can be detrimental. If they sneak a piece accidentally, they may just end up with an upset stomach, so make sure they have plenty of water and be prepared to clean up after a little vomiting. On the other hand, eating sodium-filled jerky regularly could result in some serious health issues. Too much salt can result in sodium poisoning, which is accompanied by heart issues, muscle spasms, organ stress and other health issues. Make a safe choice and avoid snacks with added salt.

4. Skip the Spice

Many beef jerkys out there are flavored with black pepper and other ingredients to give it a spicy kick. While these ingredients are tasty, they’re not great for your furry friend. Beef jerky for dogs is often unflavored, and it’s for good reason. Too much spice can be toxic to dogs, whether from pepper, spice blends or hot sauces. Spiciness can cause digestive problems that lead to stomach pain, gas and diarrhea. Furthermore, when pups consume something spicy, they often experience excessive thirst. This can lead to vomiting, which just leads to more dehydration. Don’t subject your pup to this stress, and instead, opt for plain beef jerky with no added flavors.

5. Exercise Moderation

Like any special snack, it’s important to indulge in moderation. For your pup, beef jerky may be a treat for special occasions, or it may be something they have daily. Either way, it’s important to exercise restraint and give them a sensible amount. Using small pieces of beef jerky as a training tool can work even better than other store-bought treats. Using beef jerky as a reward for a good walk or “just because” is a nice way to shower your pup with appreciation. Just be sure to use a small, sensible piece.

6. Consider The Source

When deciding on jerky for your dog, you now know the ingredients to avoid, so start by taking a look at the label. Then take a closer look at the company itself. How are the rest of their products? Are they made with quality ingredients? Does the company value health and nutrition, regardless of whether the product is for humans or furry friends? This should help give you some indication of whether or not this snack is right for your pup.

7. Round Out Their Diet

While pure, additive-free beef jerky is a tasty and healthy addition to your pup’s menu, remember that they still need to be eating a well-rounded diet. Dogs need high-quality food with the vital proteins and minerals needed for a healthy lifestyle. You can use beef jerky as a reward for being the good boy or girl they are, but be sure to also feed them a well-balanced diet of food made specifically for dogs.

Beef jerky is a special treat to give your pup, but before you do, take some time to find the right one. A naturally dehydrated, single-source protein with no added flavors will soon become their favorite snack!

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