Jerky treats are made of lean meat that has been cut into strips that underwent a process of dehydration to prevent spoilage. The drying process generally involves adding salt to prevent the growth of bacteria. According to Wikipedia, the word "jerky" derives from the Quechua word ch'arki which means "dried, salted meat".
Modern methods of manufacturing jerky treats involve treating meat in a marinade composed of seasoned spices or smoked with low heat. Sweeteners, such as brown sugar, may also have been added. These treats are ready to eat. Because of the process by which they have been made, there is no need for additional preparation and they can be stored for months even without refrigeration.
Are jerky treats safe for dogs?
While jerky treats may be good for your dog’s chewing pleasure, there have been controversies regarding the occurrence of a Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs that have been linked to the consumption of chicken jerky treats from China. However, investigations that were conducted by the USFDA failed to identify any toxins or contaminants in the products. In effect, the cause of the problem and the exact mechanism by which illness develops have not been fully established. However, The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has issued several recommendations for pet owners. These include:
- If the owner decides to give jerky treats to pet dogs, it is recommended to feed in small amounts, occasionally. This is particularly true for small-breed dogs.
- Pets that experience vomiting, lethargy, or appetite loss after eating jerky treats should be examined by a veterinarian.
- Discontinue feeding jerky treats if you and/or your veterinarian suspects that your pet’s illness may be caused by the consumption.
What are the best jerky treats for dogs?
Despite these concerns, there are quality jerky treats for dogs. The best dog jerky treats are made of natural and pure ingredients and naturally dehydrated such as those made from beef, bison, venison, or lamb. Some examples are Absolute Holistic, Vitakraft or Wanpy! Just be sure about choosing one from a reputable manufacturer and where the treat came from. You should also take into consideration the dog jerky’s quality, flavor, and salt content.
Commercial dog jerkies are not created equal. While some are wholesome treats, some contain a lot of preservatives, spices, artificial food colors and flavoring, pepper, and other additives that can upset the dog’s digestive track. One of the biggest concern with feeding commercial jerky to dogs is associated with the sodium levels, considering that salt is very hard on the system of dogs. Dogs are prone to sodium poisoning when consuming a high-salt diet. Toxicity symptoms include fluid buildup, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle spasm, increased heart rate, and even death.
Because dogs love jerky treats, many pet owners decide to make their homemade jerky treats. These treats are very easy to make and you won’t need any special equipment. The dehydration or drying process can be done in an oven. By making your dog jerky treats, you have a say in what type of ingredients to use and avoid. You can make those treats as natural as possible by doing away with preservatives, spices, or salt. Since homemade jerky treats have no preservatives, they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. There are many jerky treat recipes online that you can easily make at home.