Does your dog like jerky treats? If so, take note: June 12th is Jerky Day! It’s also National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, Red Rose Day, and World Gin Day, but we’ll stick to the one most relevant to our patients, which of course would be jerky. A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Making 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 cause it to spoil. Of course, it also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is still a popular snack, and is a particular favorite among campers, hikers, and hunters. Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
A quick look around any pet store or even just a pet food aisle of a grocery market will reveal that jerky is a pretty popular product. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, health and safety should always be the main concern. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, you should never give your pup jerky that contains a lot of salt or spices. This is why many brands that are made for people are unsuitable for dogs.
The FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. You may have seen this on the news back in 2012. Most of these were imported products. If you want to err on the side of caution, read the labels, avoid products made overseas, 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? It’s actually quite easy. Instructions and cook times will vary a bit, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the gist is always the same. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. You can use lean beef, boneless chicken breasts or thighs,lamb, white fish, salmon, or mutton. You can even use game meat, like deer, but you’ll need to freeze it first to ensure that it’s free of parasites and bacteria. Put your oven on a low setting. Usually 160 to 165F will do, but check to be sure. and put the meat strips onto baking sheets or racks. You’ll need to cook it for several hours to ensure that it’s been properly dried. You can also use a dehydrator, if you prefer.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your veterinary clinic, today!