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. This is a pretty popular snack among our canine patients. A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Jerky has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the word jerky originated in the Andes region. It’s derived from the Quechua word ch’arki , which meant dried, salted meat. The process of drying meat makes it resistant to the bacteria that would otherwise cause it to decay. It also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters. It’s also enjoying a wave of popularity among people who are following low carb diets. Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
Just go into any pet store–or even the pet food aisle of a supermarket–and you’lll see that jerky is a pretty popular dog treat. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido snacks, his health and safety should always come first. Jerky, in and of itself, is both safe and nutritious. However, sometimes jerky is processed using things that aren’t good for dogs. Don’t give your pooch jerkies that contain a lot of salt or spices, or those that were marinated in things like sugar or corn syrup. Brands that were made for people are also unsuitable, as are most dried fruit jerkies.
It’s worth noting that the FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There was a serious issue back around 2012, where many pets got very ill. The products in question were imported from overseas. We do recommend erring on the side of caution. Read the labels, stick with US-made products, and 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? Instructions and cook times will vary a bit, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the gist is pretty much the same. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. You can use lean beef, salmon, boneless chicken or turkey, white fish, lamb, or mutton. You can also use game meat, though the FDA recommends freezing it first to ensure 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. Cook it for several hours. The exact time will depend on the type and thickness of the meat. You can also make jerky with a dehydrator. Check online for specific instructions.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your veterinary clinic, today!