Happy dog with tongue protruded

Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?

Can dogs eat beef jerky?

It’s a question that sits on many dog owners’ minds. It smells and looks just like some of your pup’s favorite treats, so it should be okay. Right?

You rip open a fresh package of beef jerky, and you can’t wait to dive in. The smell of it reminds you of camping with your family, sharing a road trip with friends, or simply kicking back at home to catch the game. But then, your furry friend looks up at you longingly, hoping for a bite. 

Many pet owners have been here before. And a few decide to give in and allow their dog a nice chunk of some yummy jerky. But this may not be the best option because the jerky you eat can negatively affect your dog’s health.

Is Beef Jerky Good for Dogs? Is Beef Jerky Bad for Dogs?

Here’s the deal. 

Plain beef jerky without any additives is just fine for your dog. Just the dried raw meat is enough of a delicious treat to share in moderation. It’s a fantastic source of protein and offers a little variety to their regular diet. 

However, beef jerky is in no way a full meal and should only be used as an occasional treat.

The “bad” that comes from beef jerky depends on the ingredients used to make it. Some of the most common beef jerky ingredients that are harmful to dogs include:

  • Too much salt
  • Gluten
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Spicy flavors
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Sugar
  • Xylitol (a type of sugar)
  • Soy
  • Vegetable oil
  • Dairy
  • Sesame
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

So while your dog is begging for a bite of your teriyaki beef jerky, any trace of sesame seeds or oil can make them sick. The same goes for any of the other ingredients listed above. 

Avoid Sodium Poisoning

Too much salt in your dog’s system can cause sodium poisoning, also known as hypernatremia. As their cells release water to make up for the levels of salt, they can fall into a coma due to excessive dehydration.

Watch Out for Toxic Ingredients

Some of the most popular spices and ingredients, like onions and garlic, can destroy red blood cells in your dog, which can result in anemia. They’re severely toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

Keep an Eye on Sugar Intake

Candy and other confections often contain xylitol, a type of sugar that’s toxic for your dog. 

If your furry friend has ingested xylitol or too much sugar, they can experience a life-threatening blood sugar drop (hypoglycemia) or rapid liver failure. If given in even small doses over time, your dog can become overweight and develop arthritis, heart and respiratory problems, and diabetes.

[Related: Is Beef Jerky Healthy?]  

Do Dogs Like Beef Jerky?

Yes! Most dogs love beef jerky, and it is okay to give them it in moderation as long as there are no harmful ingredients.

So, Can Dogs Have Beef Jerky?

Yes, but watch the ingredients. 

For example, people commonly ask us:

  • Can Dogs Eat Teriyaki Beef Jerky? 
  • Can Dogs Eat Spicy Beef Jerky?
  • Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky Sticks?

The answer to all of these questions is, unfortunately, no. No matter how much your dog may beg you for a piece of your flavored jerky, it’s not a good idea to share.

To make it even easier for you, here’s a quick reference for what your dog can and cannot have:



  • Whole pieces of muscle meat jerky with no salt or other additives
  • Teriyaki beef jerky
  • Spicy beef jerky
  • Beef jerky sticks for humans
  • Black pepper or garlic jerky
  • BBQ jerky
  • Jalapeño jerky


Beef Jerky for Dogs

Of course, you can make your own beef jerky specifically for your pup, being sure to avoid any harmful ingredients.

But even better news is that it's easy to find natural beef jerky products and even beef jerky dog treats, such as those from Beef Octane. Check out Beef Octane's Best Friends Dog Jerky to get 10% off your entire order when you use BEEFJERKYDOTCOM at checkout.


And if you have more jerky-related questions, we can help. Follow us on social and subscribe to our newsletter below to keep exploring the Jerky Universe!

Featured image via Unsplash

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