Does your dog like jerky treats? If so, take note: June 12th is Jerky Day! It’s also Red Rose Day and National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, but we’ll stick to the one most relevant to our patients: jerky. A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Jerky has been around for thousands of years. In fact, dehydrating meat to make jerky may very well be the oldest known method of preserving meat. The word actually originated in the Andes region, and is derived from the Quechua word ch’arki . The process of drying meat makes it resistant to the bacteria that would otherwise make it go bad. It also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is still a popular snack, and is a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters. It’s also popular with athletes and anyone following a low-carb diet. Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
You only need to walk into any pet store or even just a pet food aisle of a supermarket to notice that jerky is a pretty popular product. Of course, when it comes to giving your pet treats, health and safety should always be the concern. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, not all jerkies are created equal. You should never give Fido jerkies that contain a lot of salt or spices. Some may contain things like corn syrup, which also isn’t safe. Brands that were made for people are also unsuitable.
The FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There were problems with this around 2012. Most of the brands that caused the issues were imported products. We always recommend erring on the side of caution. Read the labels, and stick with US-made products. You may also want to monitor pet food recalls. You can do that on the FDA site here or the AMVA site here . Ask your vet for more information.
Are you interested in making jerky for yourself and your canine friend? It’s actually quite easy. Instructions and cook times will vary a bit, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the general process is always the same. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. You can use lean beef, boneless chicken or turkey, fish, lamb, or mutton. Game meat will also work, though the FDA recommends freezing it first to be sure that it’s free of parasites and bacteria. Put your oven on the lowest setting, and put the meat strips onto baking sheets or racks. You’ll need to cook it for several hours to dehydrate it. Another option is to use a dehydrator. The exact time needed will depend on the type and thickness of the meat. Check online for specific instructions.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your veterinary clinic, today!