Beef Jerky for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

As a dog owner, you want your dog to live a long, happy, energetic life by your side. Obviously, a lot of that is only possible if you implement plenty of exercise, proper medical care, and of course, a solid diet into their daily routine. 

However, while exercise and medical care are fairly easy to handle for dogs, ensuring that they’re eating a property diet is a bit more complex. 

While researching various food brands can help you find a product that both satisfies the dog and provides plenty of safe nutrition, treats can often be more difficult to discover on your own.

Some are labeled as healthy snacks but contain low-quality ingredients, others simply don’t have any nutritional value, and others are recalled left and right. When you do find something healthy that your dog likes, it’s not uncommon for the dog to get burnt out on it after getting the treat so often. 

There’s a simple solution to this that is sure to make your dog happy: Beef jerky. 

Beef jerky might seem like an odd thing to supplement your dog’s diet with, but it’s actually quite healthy, and it’s something no dog is going to get burned out on if you use it as a common treat. 

Here’s everything you need to know about beef jerky with dogs. 

Why is Beef Jerky a Good Option for Supplementing a Dog’s Diet? 

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Obviously, you don’t want to make your dog’s entire diet based on beef jerky. That would be insanely expensive to maintain, and while beef jerky is healthy for dogs in most cases, it doesn’t have everything that a dog needs to maintain good health. Dogs are omnivores, and they do require a wide range of nutrients to live healthy lives. 

However, beef jerky makes a wonderful supplement to a dog’s diet in the form of treats, occasional snacks, and meal accompaniments. 

This is because beef jerky is extremely high in protein, and as long as the right beef and ingredients are used to make it, there aren’t any substances that can cause adverse health effects. 

Beyond that, beef is something dogs are naturally going to love, and beef jerky is both a cost-effective way to give them that natural craving as well as a safe way to do it without worrying about literally buying your dog steaks for their meals. 

The Benefits of Beef Jerky for Dogs

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There are several benefits to giving your dog beef jerky. We’ve touched on some of them in the previous section, but here’s a more in-depth look. 

1: High-Protein Supplement

Protein is crucial for a dog’s diet, and while many dog food brands make it a priority to add protein or use meats, much of the nutrients are lost due to the harsh cooking process used to make most dog foods. 

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Beef jerky maintains its high protein content, because the meat is gently dried over time, and it’s a more substantial protein boost for your dogs. 

2: Natural Food

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Beef jerky isn’t a very complex food. It’s just dried beef strips. This means that you can confidently give your dog beef jerky without worrying about tons of additives and oddball ingredients that aren’t good for dogs. At least, as long as you make or choose a type of beef jerky that isn’t mass-produced with the cheapest methods possible. Some of the things on our store shelves are packed with the garbage that is the worst food you can buy and it is bad for dogs and us. 

3: Cost-Effective

Whether you make your dog’s beef jerky on your own, or you buy a high-quality beef jerky product made specifically for dogs, it’s incredibly cost-effective. 

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When making it on your own, the beef might seem expensive, but you have to consider that it’ll make a substantial number of jerky strips that will keep your dog happy for a week or more. Packaged dog beef jerky products typically cost about the same as a good steak from the grocery store and last as long as homemade versions, as well. 

4: A Healthier Dog

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These all come together to make a healthier dog overall. That not only ensures your furry family member is happy and by your side for a long time, but it also means you’ll spend less later on dealing with health problems that occur thanks to many of the unhealthy products on the market. 

What Type of Beef Jerky is Best for Dogs? 

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By now, you probably want to start perking your dog’s ears up with a delicious beef jerky treat already, but it’s important to know that not all beef jerky is equal. 

Here are some things to consider. 

1: Don’t Use Human Products

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It’s tempting to buy your dog your favorite brand of human-targeted beef jerky and share a bit, but you shouldn’t. The commercial beef jerky aimed at humans is often heavily seasoned, and that can hurt your dog’s stomach. Some spices can even be unhealthy for your dog. Even if the jerky is relatively bland, it still likely has a lot of preservatives and additives that humans love to put in their processed food products. 

Make or buy a product specifically made for dogs. 

2: Use Grass-Fed, Organic Beef

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If you decide to make your own beef jerky by slowly drying thin strips of beef, use the highest quality beef (better avoid corned beef) you can get. Some cheaper beef products contain hormones and various other things that your dog doesn’t need to consume. You don’t even need to buy the finest cut. You can easily use a chuck or skirt of beef to make the jerky. Just make sure the source was natural. 

3: Vet Pre-Made Products

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A lot of brands make beef jerky for dogs, but you want to make sure you’re purchasing your dog’s beef jerky from a brand that cares about your dog’s health. Check reviews, look at the ingredient list, and choose a brand that provides the best beef jerky product for dogs possible. It might cost a little more, but it’s way better for your dog’s health. 

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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