Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky? Here’s The Truth…

There’s no denying that dogs are drawn to beef jerky due to the meaty scent and delicious taste…

But should your dog really be eating beef jerky?

Is it even safe for them to do so?

In this guide, you’ll find the answers.

Let’s begin.

Is Beef Jerky Dangerous for Dogs?

While lean beef meat is okay for dogs to eat… the average beef jerky treat is far more hazardous for your dog.

One of the primary reasons is the unhealthy ingredients found in store-bought jerky.

These products often contain:

  • High levels of sodium.
  • High-fat content.
  • Onion powder and/or garlic powder.
  • Spices.
  • Artificial additives.

While these ingredients are commonly found in human foods (and they’re safe for human consumption), they can be toxic to your furry friend and might upset their digestive system.

The high-fat levels can contribute to liver disease, and the high salt content is problematic, too.

For some perspective, a human should generally have less than 1500 mg of salt a day… whereas a dog shouldn’t go over 10% of this amount!

So if they eat beef jerky, they can quickly go over their allowable salt intake.

Furthermore, there have been various horror stories regarding jerky sourced from China. For example, in 2007, thousands of dogs became very sick due to harmful ingredients finding their way into jerky products.

It seems melamine was found to be the culprit in many cases, which had been added to improve the protein content.

The problem is melamine is dangerous for pets and may cause kidney failure.

Another potential problem is the high-calorie nature of beef jerky… which can contribute to weight gain for some dog breeds who are prone to obesity.

Can Beef Jerky Kill Dogs?

Generally speaking, the answer is no.

Even though beef jerky isn’t healthy for your dog, stealing a piece of beef jerky from your plate isn’t going to result in death.

It isn’t poisonous or toxic… but it does pose certain health risks… particularly if your dog is consuming too much regular beef jerky.

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Beef Jerky?

The most likely side effect of your dog eating an unhealthy amount of beef jerky will be gastrointestinal issues.

These effects could range anywhere from a mild stomach upset to something more dangerous, depending on the amount they’ve eaten and what the ingredients were.

In mild cases, you may expect your dog to have some GI upset and feel dehydrated, so make sure they have plenty of water available to drink.

If your dog consumes too much salt, it may result in salt intoxication.

This can cause problems like increased blood pressure, weakness, shaking, convulsions, fainting, coma, and even death.

Key symptoms to look out for include:

  • Dehydration.
  • Vomiting.
  • Watery diarrhea.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Seizures.

If you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t and their behavior is unusual, it’s important to contact a professional veterinarian or poison hotline.

Give them all the information you have on the ingredient label and let them know what’s happening.

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky? Here's The Truth... 3

Is Homemade Beef Jerky a Better Option for Dogs?


If you want to share beef jerky with your dog, then making your own tasty meat snacks is a much healthier, safer (and cheaper!) option.

Making your own jerky dog treats means you can leave out the hazardous ingredients found in human jerky products… and instead focus on what’s beneficial for your dog. 

What’s more, it’s not too complicated to make your own delicious treat that your dog will love, even if it’s just plain beef jerky without the elevated sodium levels and toxic ingredients.

How To Make Homemade Beef Jerky For Dogs

You can use a range of different meats when making homemade jerky for your dog.

Beef and chicken jerky are common, but you can equally use game meats or other lean meats, including turkey, lamb, duck, tuna, salmon, and more.

Here’s the easiest way to make healthier beef jerky:

  • Use a few pounds of lean beef.
  • Cut it into reasonably sized strips.
  • Oven cook (or use a dehydrator) for several hours until fully dehydrated.
  • Store these strips in an airtight container.

They should keep fresh for a few weeks, and you can use them as a rewarding, tasty treat. They’re useful for training purposes, too. 

And while plain beef jerky may sound a little boring to us, your dog will love it all the same.

Remember: Don’t add any salt, spices, preservatives, flavorings, or seasonings. These ingredients are fine for human consumption, but not so good for your dog.

Can I Feed My Dog Teriyaki Beef Jerky?

No, it’s not a good idea.

In addition to the problems and risks that store-bought jerky already poses, Teriyaki sauce is actually made from a number of ingredients that aren’t good for your dog.

Final Thoughts

It’s best to say no when to comes to giving your dog beef jerky.

There are too many harmful ingredients to be found in these products, such as salt, onions, garlic, spices, additives, flavorings, and more.

The only safe thing to do here is stick to homemade recipes, which don’t contain those things.

And remember, there are lots of healthy alternatives to give your dog – so try using real food rather than processed treats.

All in all, we hope this article helped answer your question about whether dogs should eat beef jerky treats… and a healthier way to give them what they want!