Is Jerky Safe For Dogs: National Jerky Day | PetFirst
Is Jerky Safe For Dogs: National Jerky Day
Pet Care & Health

Is Jerky Safe For Dogs: National Jerky Day

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 months ago

Happy National Jerky Day! Celebrated every year on June 12th, Jerky Day is a fun holiday recognizing a delicious snack that many — sometimes even including our dogs — enjoy. But when it comes to jerky pet treats, is jerky actually safe for your canine friend to eat?

Let’s break down what pet jerky is made of, whether your dog can eat it, and what store-bought or homemade options are best. 

Pet Jerky Treats Recall

Jerky treats for dogs have been a hot topic over the last 10-15 years. In November 2011, the FDA gave pet owners a warning that chicken jerky food products might cause Fanconi Syndrome (a rare kidney disorder) in dogs who ate the products on a regular basis6

The FDA has received thousands of complaints regarding illnesses associated with jerky pet treats with many of these complaints involving chicken jerky. Other reports also included duck and sweet potato jerky treats7

The FDA can’t be 100% certain whether these deaths were caused by eating jerky pet treats. However, the FDA does think there is an association between these reports and the treats. Expert animal health laboratories are continuing to investigate the claims and have not yet been able to pinpoint the root cause for the various reported illnesses. 

In the meantime, there might be good news for dog owners: An FDA spokesperson told Reuters that there have not been any jerky pet treat recalls since 20168.

Best Pet Jerky Treats

Consider speaking with your vet about the best products for your dog before making a purchase and sharing with your pup. Whichever product you choose, remember that jerky treats should not make up the bulk of your dog’s diet.

To keep your dog healthy, he or she needs to be fed a balanced, nutritious diet consisting of a dog food that’s appropriate for his or her size and age (again, your vet can help guide you in selecting the correct food for your pet). Jerky should be reserved as a special once-in-a-while treat. 

As always, keep an eye on your dog to make sure he or she is tolerating their food and treats. Always watch for signs and symptoms your pet may be ill. For example, symptoms of Fanconi Syndrome can include9

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms or any other abnormal or concerning behavior, hold off on any more jerky treats and speak with your vet immediately. You can also make a report with the FDA’s Safety Reporting Panel if you believe your dog has gotten sick from a jerky pet treat. 

DIY At Home Treats

In addition to purchasing jerky pet treats at the store, you might choose to make your own pet jerky treats at home. There are dozens of pet jerky treat recipes you can find online. For example, you can make jerky treats using:

  • Chicken (breast or thigh)
  • Flank steak (a lean cut)
  • White fish or salmon (remove any bones using tweezers)

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven and set it on its lowest setting10. You can also make a low-sodium marinade for the meat. Be sure to follow a recipe with a guide on how to make the marinade and how long to cook your meat to get it dried out.

Remember, before you get started at home, make sure to check with your vet before using a recipe found online so that you know it is safe for your furry friend to consume once completed. 

If done safely and with veterinarian approval, homemade pet jerky treats can be a fun activity that will result in a delicious snack both you and your dog can enjoy! 

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.


1Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”) is the insurance carrier for this product. IAIC, a Delaware insurance company, is headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC to offer and administer pet insurance policies. This entity was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an assumed name and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other assumed names or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2Provided all terms of the policy are met. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

6Bark: Detailing the dangers of chicken jerky, June 2021, Shea Cox DVM, CVPP, CHPV 

7FDA: FDA investigates animal illnesses linked to jerky pet treats

8Reuters: Fact check: No recalls of jerky pet treats in the U.S. since 2016, according to FDA

9VCA Animal Hospital: Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs, Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP

10Rover: Homemade chicken, beef, and salmon dog jerky treats couldn’t be easier to make

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