Does your dog like jerky treats? If not, Fido may need to come in, as that’s a bit unusual. June 12th is Jerky Day! It’s also Red Rose Day, World Gin 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 is nothing new … it’s been around for thousands of years. In fact, making jerky may very well be the oldest known method of preserving meat. The word originated in the Andes region, and comes 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 a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters. Lately, it’s also become popular with those doing keto or low-carb diets. Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
You only need to visit any pet store or even just a pet food aisle of a grocery market to notice that jerky is a pretty popular product for dogs. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, your pup’s health and safety should always be the biggest concerns. Jerky can actually be a great snack. However, you should never give Fido jerky that was made with salt or spices. This is why many brands that are made for people are unsuitable for dogs.
You may recall that the FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There were issues with this back in 2012. Most of those jerkies were imported products. If you want to err on the side of caution, always read the labels and stick with US-made products. You can also monitor pet food recalls on the FDA site here or the AMVA site here . Ask your vet for more information.
Want to make Fido’s jerky? Instructions and cook times will vary a little bit, depending on what kind of meat you’re using, but the basic gist is always the same. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs, lean beef, white fish, salmon, lamb, or mutton. Game meat is also fine, though the FDA recommends freezing it first to ensure that it’s free of parasites and bacteria. Put the meat strips onto baking sheets or racks, and cook at about 165. You’ll need to cook it for several hours: the exact time 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 pet hospital, today!