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. Jerky is one of Fido’s favorite snacks! A local vet discusses this doggy favorite below.
Jerky has been around for thousands of years. In fact, 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 and dehydrating meat makes it resist the bacteria that would otherwise cause it to go bad. It also makes it taste delicious! Jerky is a popular snack, and is a favorite among hikers, campers, hunters, and anyone who is following a low-carb diet. Of course, Man’s Best Friend is also a big fan.
You can find jerky for your canine pal in pretty much any pet store, or even just a pet food aisle of a grocery market. Of course, when it comes to giving Fido treats, your pup’s health and safety should always be the concern. Jerky is quite safe, and can actually be a great snack. However, you do need to look at the ingredients. You should never give Fido jerkies that were made with or marinated in a lot of salt or spices. This is why many brands that were made for people are unsuitable.
You may remember that the FDA has received complaints about jerky making pets sick in the past. There were several instances of this around 2012. Most of these were imported products. If you want to err on the side of caution, always read the labels, and stick with US-made products. It’s also not a bad idea to monitor pet food recalls. You can do that on the AMVA site here or the FDA site here . Ask your vet for more information.
Do you want to try your hand at making jerky? It’s a pretty simple process. 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 or turkey, white fish, salmon, lamb, or mutton. Game meat is okay, too, though the FDA recommends freezing it first to ensure that it’s free of parasites and bacteria. Put your oven on a low-heat 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. Another option is to 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!