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. Many of our canine buddies love jerky treats. A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Making jerky may very well be the oldest known method of preserving meat. The word jerky actually originated in the Andes region. It’s derived from the Quechua word ch’arki. Drying meat makes it resistant to the bacteria that would otherwise cause it to decay and spoil, so it can last much longer. It also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is still a popular snack, and is a favorite among hikers, campers, and hunters, not to mention anyone who’s doing a low-carb diet. Man’s Best Friend is also a fan.
You only need to walk into any pet store or even just a pet food aisle of a grocery market, to notice that jerky is a pretty popular product. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, health and safety should always be the concern. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, you should never give Fido jerkies that contain a lot of salt or spices. Brands that were made for people are also unsuitable.
The FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There were several serious issues in 2012. However, you don’t need to worry: most of the problematic products were imported from overseas. We recommend that you err on the side of caution. Read the labels and stick with US-made products. It’s also a good idea to monitor pet food recalls. You can do that on the FDA site here or the AMVA site here. Email alerts will also work. Ask your vet for more information.
Want to make Fido’s jerky? It’s very easy! Exact instructions and cook times will vary a bit, depending on what type of meat you’re using, but the gist is always the same. You can use lean beef, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, white fish, salmon, 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. Start by slicing meat into thin strips. Then, put your oven on a low-heat setting. Arrange the meat strips onto baking sheets or racks, and cook it for several hours. The exact time will depend on the type and thickness of the meat. Check online for specific instructions.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your animal hospital, today!