Does your canine buddy like jerky treats? If so, June 12th may be a big day for him: it’s 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. Jerky is a healthy treat for dogs, and one that most of them are very enthusiastic about. A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Jerky has been around for a long time, and likely dates back before recorded history. In fact, it may very well be the oldest known method of preserving meat. The word jerky originated in the Andes region, and is derived from the Quechua word ch’arki . The process of drying meat to preserve it makes it resistant to the bacteria that cause decay. It also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is still a popular snack, and is a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters. It’s also a go-to for many people who are doing low-carb diets. Of course, Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
You only need to walk into any pet store to notice that jerky is a pretty popular product for dogs. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, his health and safety should always be the concern. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, there are some caveats here. You should never give your pup jerkies that contain a lot of salt or spices. Brands that were made for people are also unsuitable. Recalls are another thing to be aware of. The FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There were many incidents around 2012. Most of the products that caused trouble were imported products. If you want to err on the side of caution, as we always recommend, just check 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.
Jerky is pretty easy to make. The Instructions and cook times will vary, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the gist is always the same. Slice meat into thin strips. You can use lean beef, boneless chicken or turkey, white fish or salmon, lamb, or mutton. You can also use game meat, though the FDA does recommend freezing it first, just to ensure that it’s completely free of parasites and bacteria. Put your oven on a low-heat setting, and put the meat strips onto baking sheets or racks. You’ll need to cook it for several hours: the exact time will depend on the type and thickness of the meat. Another method is to use a dehydrator. Check online for specific instructions.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your veterinary clinic, today!