Chicken jerky sounds like it would be a tasty treat for your pooch. A jerky treat can be a great way to supplement your dog's diet with extra protein. However, not all chicken jerky is safe for your canine companion.
Dogs need a lot of protein to be healthy, and meat protein is the best kind. Some of the essential amino acids that dogs need comes only from meat sources. Without these protein building blocks from meat sources, your pup can develop a variety of health issues, including loss of appetite, stunted growth, weight loss, a dull coat, flaky skin and immune system compromise. Chicken jerky fed as a treat or supplement can help your dog get the protein he needs to thrive.
The healthiest chicken jerky is the kind you make at home. Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up a package of organic chicken breasts. Freeze them slightly to make them easier to cut, then slice them in thin strips, removing as much fat as your can. Cut with the grain for chewier strips. Place the strips on a baking sheet and bake in a 200 degree oven for two to three hours. Once the strips are crunchy, let them cool before giving any to your pup. Feed the jerky as a treat or supplement for your pooch's regular dry or canned food.
If you choose to purchase jerky, keep a few things in mind to help you pick out a quality jerky. For starters, don't use jerky made for human consumption. Many jerkies marketed to people contain flavorings including salt, pepper, cayenne, chipotle and other spices that can make your pup's stomach upset. Second, be sure that all of the ingredients, especially the chicken, is sourced in the United States and that the product is made by a reputable company. Handling chicken improperly can cause salmonella poisoning, dangerous for you and your dog. Safe-handling and processing rules in the United States can't guarantee that store-bought jerky will never contain salmonella, but it cuts down the risks.
The FDA cautions consumers about chicken jerky products made in China. In 2007, dog owners began to report illnesses and deaths linked to chicken jerky made in China. Reports and investigations have continued since then. In August 2012, the FDA issued updated warnings about chicken jerky products made in China. If you choose to give your pup a chicken jerky treat, be absolutely certain the chicken is not sourced from or processed in China.
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images