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Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims? (Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ)

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By Misty Layne

Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We’re often tempted to give our dogs some of our snacks every now and then. A cube of cheese here, a potato chip there—and most of the time, it’s perfectly safe for our pets to consume our food. However, it’s still wise to know whether something is healthy for your pup before giving it to them.

When it comes to Slim Jims, they seem like the perfect treat. After all, this snack is just beef jerky, and dogs love meat. Right? Not exactly. While it certainly won’t harm your dog if it sneaks a bite of your Slim Jim, this meaty snack is incredibly unhealthy for our canine friends. Why is this treat so unhealthy?

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Why Slim Jims Are Unhealthy for Dogs

The main reason Slim Jims are unhealthy for our pups is due to the ingredients these snacks contain. Here’s a look at some of the main ingredients in a Slim Jim and how they affect your dog.1

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Photo Credit: Armin Forster, Pixabay


As a highly processed food, Slim Jims contain quite a bit of salt. And while our dogs need sodium in their diets to ensure their nervous and muscular systems are working as they should, they don’t need too much of it. This is because too much salt can lead to salt poisoning in pups, which results in diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy, and in the worst-case scenario, seizures and even death.2

Your pet would need a lot of salt to get to this point, of course, but considering a single stick of Slim Jim has approximately 460mg of sodium and a small dog breed would only need ½ tablespoon of salt to become ill, you can see how easy it is for a pup to accidentally get too much salt.3


Besides salt, Slim Jims also contain sugar, particularly, which is the sixth ingredient listed in this snack. While sugar isn’t toxic to your pet, it also isn’t healthy for your dog to eat too much of it, either.4 And your pup would need to eat a lot of Slim Jims to overdo it on the sugar; however, even eating bites of Slim Jims over time means that the extra sugar calories are adding up, which can still lead to health issues. Just a few of the health problems caused by an overabundance of sugar in your pet are obesity, diabetes, and stomach upset.5


Finally, since Slim Jims are heavily processed, it’s full of preservatives. Not all preservatives are bad for dogs—dog food contains preservatives, after all—but Slim Jims contain a preservative known as sodium nitrite that can be very bad for our canine companions.6 Again, this is something your pet would need to consume in high doses for it to be toxic, but it’s still something to watch out for.

Why is sodium nitrite a potential danger? Because too much of it can result in anemia and, in extreme cases, toxicity.7


Slim Jim Alternatives

Instead of feeding your dog a Slim Jim, why not get them a dog treat that closely resembles one? There are several options of meaty sticks in the dog treat aisle, and they’re all much safer for your pet to consume.

Probably the most popular Slim Jim alternative for dogs is the well-loved Pup-Peroni. The beef flavor will likely most closely resemble a Slim Jim, but there are several other flavors you can try if your dog doesn’t like beef flavor.

Then there are Newman’s Own Snack Sticks. These dog treats feature few ingredients and tons of protein for your pup.

You can even find some tasty meat sticks made from pork!

Essentially, any meaty dog treat should do the trick and won’t put your pet in the way of potential harm. It’s important to remember that any treats should be given to your pet sparingly, though!

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Final Thoughts

Slim Jims are quite unhealthy for our canine companions due to the amount of salt found in them, the corn syrup they contain, and preservatives such as sodium nitrite. If your dog has a bite or two very rarely, though, you shouldn’t see any health issues in your pet. The main concern is if your dog eats too many at once or has tiny bites consistently over time; that’s when you could run into problems like salt poisoning or anemia.

However, there are plenty of Slim Jim alternatives you can find in the dog treat aisle that will be much safer for your pet to consume (and will have a taste it adores!).

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Authored by

Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (the animals are, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing...Read more

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