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Does your pup like jerky treats? If so, take note: June 12th is Jerky Day! It’s also Red Rose Day, World Gin Day, and, our favorite, National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. However, we’ll stick to the one most relevant to our patients: jerky. A local vet discusses this classic doggy favorite below.
Jerky has been around for thousands of years. In fact, it’s one of the oldest known methods of preserving meat. The word ‘jerky’ actually originated in the Andes region, and is derived from the Quechua word ch’arki . Drying meat makes it resistant to the bacteria that would otherwise cause it to decay. It also makes it taste absolutely delicious! Jerky is still a very popular snack, and is a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters. Man’s Best Friend is also a huge fan.
You only need to walk into any pet store—or even just a pet food aisle of a grocery store— to notice that jerky is a pretty popular product. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, your pup’s health and safety should always be the main concerns. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, you should never give Fido jerkies that contain fillers or a lot of salt or spices. Brands that were made for people are also unsuitable.
It’s worth mentioning that the FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. Most of these were imported products, and some contained or were wrapped around things like dried fruits or rawhide. If you want to err 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 Fido’s jerky? Instructions and cook times will vary, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the basic gist is always the same. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. You can use lean beef, salmon, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, white fish, lamb, or mutton. You can also use game meat, such as deer, though the FDA recommends freezing it first to ensure that it’s free of parasites and bacteria.
As for the process itself, it’s very easy. Put your oven on the lowest 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. You can also 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!