Is Slim Jims Healthy for Dogs?

Slim Jims are the thin stick-like snacks you find everywhere in American stores. Supposedly, it is made of (dry) meat. It is also known as meat jerky or jerked meat. You’d often crave a salty snack, and Slim Jims are the only ones that come to your mind.

While you love to munch on a Slim Jims stick, can you feed it that easily to your dog? Can dogs eat Slim Jims?

Can dogs eat Slim Jims?

No, your dog should not eat Slim Jims. Not that Slim Jims are toxic for your dog, but the presence of salt and preservatives makes it an unhealthy snack. Moreover, the ingredients used in making Slim Jims can make your dog sick.

How are Slim Jims made?

Slim Jims is produced by the company ConAgra. They make over a billion Slim Jims globally. A snack of this popularity must mean that it’s a good thing to consume, right?

WRONG!

Slim Jims are unhealthy even for humans and should be treated as a once-in-a-while snack.

Surprisingly, Slim Jims are not made with one type of meat. Its made with pork, chicken, beef, and even sheep’s flesh. But is that all? No, among binders like wheat and starch, Slim Jims have a plethora of preservatives. Some of the other ingredients in Slim Jims are:

  • Natural flavors
  • Extraction of paprika.
  • Dextrose.
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein.
  • Lactic acid starter culture.
  • Barley malt extract.
  • Sodium nitrite.
  • Maltodextrin.
  • Citric acid.
  • Soy lecithin.
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It is a known fact that the meat from chicken is separated mechanically. But we can be sure that they are not the best parts of the bird. Similarly, ConAgra has not made clear how they obtain beef and pork. Either way, the process of creating Slim Jims is anything but decent.

Slim Jims are human snacks. And when we say that they are not healthy even for humans, you should most definitely avoid feeding any of them to your precious dogs. Your dog can eat a stick or two, and it’ll probably be fine. But making this a habit is like inviting health problems for your dog.

Hazards of Slim Jims for dogs

Excessive consumption of Slim Jims can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Gastric problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coma
  • Racing heartbeat

But what happens after these generic symptoms, and what are the real culprits behind this chaos? Let’s take a deeper look at the harmful ingredients of Slim Jims:

Salt

Dogs need salt in a specific amount to function properly. Sodium is necessary to maintain a dog’s body’s muscular and nervous systems. A dog weighing 15kg must have 100mg of salt every day, with 200mg as the upper limit. Anything more than this amount can adversely affect dogs in the long run.

Processed foods have humongous amounts of sodium. One serving (4 sticks) of Slim Jims contains 120mg of sodium. This amount is too high for a snack, considering your dog will get some from its regular meals. Sodium poisoning can cause damage to the kidneys as well as other severe diseases.

Sugar

Though a salty snack, Slim Jims contain three types of sugars – corn syrup, dextrose, and maltodextrin. Dogs only require natural sugars from fruits and vegetables. Artificial sugars are bad even for humans. For dogs, they cause liver problems, obesity, weak bones and teeth, and other health issues.

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Sodium nitrite

Canned and processed foods always contain some preservatives. As unhealthy as they are, these preservatives are necessary to increase the shelf-life of food items. Sodium nitrite is one such preservative that is used in the manufacturing of Slim Jims.

Sodium nitrite alone is toxic for dogs if consumed in large quantities. In Slim Jims, it can be deadly because it changes into nitrosamines when it comes in contact with proteins. Nitrosamines are carcinogens, i.e., they induce cancer in living beings. Unfortunately, all canned meat has sodium nitrite, which is more reason to avoid feeding it to dogs.

Homemade healthy alternative

Slim Jims has no nutritional value for dogs. There are a thousand healthier options that can be used as dog treats. If you want your dog to eat delicious yet healthy snacks, consider making some at home.

You can make meat jerky at home, and you can be sure that your dog will love it. Here’s an easy recipe for homemade, dog-friendly beef jerky:

Ingredients

  • Lean beef – 1 lb.
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – a pinch
  • Ginger – 2-inch piece

Method

  1. Cut the beef into thin slices. The thinner the slices are, the better they would turn out.
  2. Marinade beef slices with cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger paste. If your dog does not like the taste of ginger, you can skip adding it.
  3. After a couple of hours of marination, place the slices of beef on a wire rack. Make sure to keep enough distance between slices.
  4. Bake the beef jerky at 275°F for two hours.
  5. Let the jerky cool down before serving it to your dog. Store in a Ziploc bag for up to a week.
  6. You can try this recipe with chicken, and it’ll turn out just as good.

Related FAQs to Slim Jims and dogs!

Can dogs eat beef jerky sticks?

Dogs can have beef jerky sticks in small quantities. As long as you know the ingredients and method of cooking are safe for dogs, beef jerky can be used as dog treats.

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Can dogs eat bacon?

Bacon is not healthy for dogs as it contains a lot of salt and fats. Salty and fatty food causes health problems like pancreatitis and diarrhea in dogs.

Is Slim Jims toxic for dogs?

Slim Jims are not directly toxic for dogs, but overconsumption can be really bad for a dog’s health. The ingredients used in Slim Jims have no nutritional value, and some are even extremely unhealthy for dogs.

Concluding our thoughts on dogs eating Slim Jims!

It is not easy to be a dog owner. You have to constantly make decisions around your furry friend’s health. No matter how lazy or tired you are, you must provide your dog with healthy food. Slim Jims are not what you’d want your dog to consume. You may be relieved for the time being, but you will ruin your dog’s health if you make this a habit.

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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