Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims Are slim jims bad for dogs

Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims? Are slim jims bad for dogs?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

It is true that Slim Jims are not good for dogs. It is okay to give dogs Slim Jim treats now and then, but it is not a good idea to make it a habit.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims? Are slim jims bad for dogs?“.

While walking my dogs I decided to grab a quick salty snack and bought two Slim Jims. I was munching on them when my pups smelled it and wanted a bite. When I first shared my Slim Jims with them I wondered if they would be able to eat this salty snack.

Can Dogs Eat Slim Jims Are slim jims bad for dogs

Can dogs eat Slim Jims? Dogs can eat Slim Jims but that does not mean they should. While Slim Jims are not toxic to dogs that does not mean they should. It is not recommended that you provide your fur babies with Slim Jims since they are highly processed and contain artificial additives. It is fine to give your pooch a small piece of Slim Jims as an occasional snack if she is healthy and the right weight for her size.

Is Slim Jims bad for dogs?

It is true that Slim Jims are not good for dogs. It is okay to give dogs Slim Jim treats now and then but it is not a good idea to make it a habit. Heres an in-depth look at Slim Jims their composition and whether they’re good to share with your pup.

What is Slim Jims?

In drugstores gas stations grocery stores and other retail outlets Slim Jims can be found on the counters and in the aisles.

These products are processed and contain artificial additives. Even minute amounts of most of these artificial additives are detrimental to your dogs health.

There are Slim Jims all over the place. In addition to being sold in the U.S. they are also sold overseas.

Slim Jim Snacks are produced by ConAgra a company that produces over a billion of them every year. Ohio is where the factory is located.

In spite of being marketed as meat snacks Slim Jims are primarily made from corn wheat and animal parts from pigs cows chickens and sheep.

Where does Slim Jims come from?

In the agricultural sector ConAgra owns the brand “Slim Jims”. ConAgra offers more than just this brand. In spite of the fact that some brands promote healthy eating many of them sell frozen pre-prepared foods that are ready to eat. 

Slim Jims was acquired by ConAgra in 1998. It has been around since the 1940s but Slim Jims are not new.

In the early 19th century Adolf Levis and his partner Joseph Cherry developed a thin meat stick snack. In the beginning they were sold in jars of vinegar to be served in bars and taverns.

As convenient easy-to-grab snacks they are ideal for anyone looking for a savory meaty snack. There is an aroma and taste that keeps people wanting more umami.

What is Slim Jims made of?

Slim Jims come in more than twenty flavors. The meaty savory snack sticks come in three flavors: beef jerky pork rinds and turkey jerky. Slim Jims original flavor contains the following ingredients.

Slim Jim Ingredients List

  • Mechanically separated chicken.
  • Pork.
  • Beef. 
  • Water.
  • Texturized soy flour.
  • Salt.
  • Corn syrup.

There is less than 2% of each of the following ingredients in a Slim Jim Original:

  • Despite the fact that many natural flavors are actually synthetic.
  • Paprika.
  • Extraction of paprika.
  • Dextrose.
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein.
  • Lactic acid starter culture.
  • Caramel color.
  • Barley malt extract.
  • Wheat flour.
  • Sodium nitrite.
  • Maltodextrin.
  • Citric acid.
  • Soy lecithin.

How Slim Jims are made?

A factory produces Slim Jims in mass quantities. The process to get to the final product is far from glamorous as is the case with most processed foods.

There is a noticeable difference in quality between Slim Jims meat and meat from your local butchery department. As well the price of the fruit and vegetables used to make Strawberry Jams jellies and canned goods are much lower than if you bought them at the grocery store.

There is no way to guarantee the quality of the meat or the parts that are used in Slim Jims. 

Beef pork and mechanically separated chicken are clearly listed as the top three ingredients in the ingredient list. The consumer knows that all parts of the chicken are crushed and piped out but isnot sure how the pork and beef are prepared. 

Furthermore these meaty snacks are intended for human consumption. Our furry friends should stay away from Slim Jims. Additives and preservatives are plentiful in these pre-prepared snack foods.

Ingredients in Slim Jims

Lets quickly pinpoint which ingredients from the ingredient list above are harmful to your dog.

To cause adverse effects consumption levels would have to be very high in these worst-case scenarios.

1. Sugars

There are three main ingredients in Slim Jims: corn syrup maltodextrin and dextrose. Adding these three to your pups diet can significantly affect their liver especially if they already have liver problems.

In addition your dog can develop diabetes and obesity if he eats too much sugar.

2. Salt

It is essential for our four-legged friends to consume sodium. Maintains the proper functioning of the muscular and nervous systems.

As a result of a large amount of salt in Slim Jims (or any processed food) these snacks are not healthy for dogs.

The sodium content of one serving (4 sticks) is 120mg. Sodium intake for a dog weighing 33 pounds (15kg) is limited to 100mg per day. Larger dog breeds cannot consume more than 200mg of sodium per day. They can also suffer from kidney problems if they consume too much sodium. 

3. Sodium nitrite

Dogs can develop blood disorders and toxicity as a result of high doses of sodium nitrite which is a preservative.

Nitrosamines are formed when sodium nitrite comes into contact with proteins. As sodium nitrite is one of the most abundant ingredients in processed meat products nitrosamines are carcinogenic.

This preservative is also present in many wet dog foods (cans and pouches). Manufacturers of reputable dog food are now replacing harmful ingredients with safer ones as awareness grows.

Potassium nitrite another type of preservative is now often used instead of sodium nitrite because of its carcinogenic potential. Potassium nitrite has no carcinogenic effects according to research.

4. Hydrolyzed soy protein

The consumption of hydrolyzed soy protein by dogs is generally safe. There is a chemical similarity between this flavor enhancer and monosodium glutamate but without toxicity.

Hydrolyzed soy protein can be used if your dog has problems digesting other proteins.

Soy protein hydrolyzed with water adds savory flavor to foods and snacks similar to MSG.

There is evidence that a large amount of MSG is toxic and can cause the following health problems:

  • Neurological disorders.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • Obesity.
  • Reproductive disorders.

Processed food manufacturers must remove MSG from their food and snack products as a result. Hydrolyzed soy protein has been used to achieve this. Savory snacks benefit from this flavor enhancer in the same way as MSG.

5. Beef and pork in Slim Jim

Slim Jims contain only these two ingredients which are the least harmful to pets.

The dog owners however do not know how many hormones their animals were given or what kind of food they were fed.

Therefore the quality of beef and pork is questionable and eating substandard meat cannot be beneficial for our dogs in the long run.

6. Corn soy and wheat

In addition to soy corn and wheat products Slim Jims contain other ingredients. Wheat and gluten allergies in dogs are very rare. Slim Jims should not be given as snacks to children with these types of allergies since they may cause itchy skin.

When shouldn’t you feed Slim Jims to your dog? 

When you should not give your pets Slim Jims these are the times when you should refrain from doing so. Here are some of them:

  • Senior dogs may suffer from kidney and heart problems as a result of the high sodium content.
  • Pneumoedema (fluid in the lungs).
  • Dogs with fluid retention.
  • Overweight dogs.
  • Diabetic dogs.
  • Dogs with wheat or gluten allergies.

Does Slim Jims provide nutritional benefits for your dog?

Its not true that Slim Jims are nutritionally beneficial for your four-legged companions.

Four Slim Jims make up one serving. (By average-sized dogs) 8g of protein does not significantly contribute to the recommended dietary allowance of 25g of crude protein.

In addition 14g of fat corresponds to their entire recommended dietary allowance. If your dog eats anything else he will go over his daily fat allowance. 

It is unlikely that the high sodium content the number of additives or the quality of the meat used will provide any nutritional benefits. Additionally your dog would not benefit from added vitamins or essential minerals.

What if my dog accidentally ate a lot of Slim Jims?

Slim Jims are high in sodium so if your dog accidentally eats a lot of them the problem will be sodium overload.

The worst thing that can happen to your pup is oversalting depending on his or her size and general health. There are a variety of symptoms that could be present:

  • Restlessness.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Muscle tremors.
  • Seizures.
  • Gastric irritation.
  • Coma.
  • Fluid accumulation.
  • Possibly death (in severe cases)

You should take your furry friends to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect sodium poisoning! Please refer to the section below on treatments.

If my dog ate one or two Slim Jims will he be fine?

Slim Jims are fine for dogs if they eat one or two. He will be fine but make sure you keep any remaining Slim Jims out of reach of your dog. Their cute little paws will devour as many Slim Jims as they can get their hands on once they taste them.

Keep them hydrated by providing a bowl of cool fresh water since Slim Jims contain a high salt content.

Symptoms to watch for

According to the section above if your dog eats too many Slim Jims the symptoms will vary depending on his or her current health and size. It is possible for some dogs to experience no symptoms at all.

Watch out for these symptoms if your dog has an existing medical condition and is particularly sensitive to one or more ingredients in Slim Jim meat sticks:

  • Excessive thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Restlessness.
  • Heavy panting.
  • Vomiting.


As soon as you suspect your pooch has food poisoning take him or her to the vet. Keep them away from home if you want to treat them. Activated charcoal tablets (even with sorbitol added) should not be given to them. In addition to binding toxins activated charcoal also depletes the body of fluids. 

Emetic medications or warm water enemas may be administered by your veterinarian. Dexamethasone or mannitol may also be used to treat the dog. Your vet may prescribe an IV treatment plan that gradually reduces salt levels and balances electrolytes in your dog. Severe cerebral edema may occur if the levels are reduced too quickly. There may be a two- to the three-day waiting period for this treatment.

In a dogs brain cerebral edema occurs when there is a great deal of water accumulated either extracellularly or intracellularly. The pressure within the skull may increase in canines with cerebral edema causing damage to their nerves. The result can be the compression of blood vessels and tissues in the brain.

It is important to give fresh water in small doses only. It is for this reason that going to the vet is a better idea. When your four-legged friends have too much salt in their system they can become very thirsty. Water however can also cause complications if consumed in excess.

Furthermore the body has to work harder to process and eliminate excess salt as a result of cerebral edema.

Canine-friendly and safe alternatives to Slim Jim

If you want to stop giving Slim Jims to your pets here are some healthier alternatives.

  • Alternatively you can substitute fresh vegetables and fruits such as green beans butternut squash apples and carrots. When cooking for your dogs substitute cooked barley for rice. Adding parsley is also a good idea.
  • Grapes chocolate and certain nuts such as macadamias should be avoided. Your dogs kidneys are put under strain by these foods.
  • Keeping your pups happy with air-popped corn is a fun treat and low in calories. If you’re feeding your pets this snack make sure they do not have an allergy to corn.
  • Healthy and tasty treats can be made with chopped liver and dried slowly in the oven.
  • Chicken breasts that have been cooked and chopped into small pieces can also be given.

Dog treats are available from many brands of pet foods but make sure to check the fat and sodium content. There is nothing better than homemade healthy snacks.

Beef jerky treats for dogs you can make at home

Theres no shame in feeding your dog beef jerky because he loves beef! In spite of this Slim Jims beef jerky is not healthy for dogs since it is highly processed. 

It does not mean however that your pooch would not be able to enjoy it. It is possible to make beef jerky treats at home for your furry friends. No preservatives or additives are used in the beef jerky so you can eat it with confidence. Instead it will be made with love and natural ingredients!

Heres what you’ll need: A pound of lean beef. Thats exactly what it is! 

You can make homemade beef jerky treats for your dog by following these directions: 

  1. You do not need a food dehydrator if you do not have one. A temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit should be set in the oven.
  2. The 1-pound lean beef should be cut into 14-inch thick strips. 
  3. Make sure the beef strips are placed on the baking rack or the food dehydrator racks if you have one.
  4. Once the beef strips are fully dehydrated bake them for about five hours.
  5. Two to three weeks should be enough time to store the beef strips in an airtight container.

Open the container after about two to three weeks and let your dog enjoy them! 

So can dogs eat Slim Jims?

Hopefully this article has helped you understand how dangerous and unhealthy it can be to feed your dog human snacks such as Slim Jims. Go the extra mile and prepare some healthy snacks for your pooch if you care as much about them as you do for your children.

If you are munching on your Slim Jims and you are tempted to give in to those puppy eyes saying “Come on buddy!” remember to be strong. Let me know what Slim Jim you have!” 

How many Slim Jims can a dog eat?

Dogs do not seem to be poisoned by Slim Jims but that does not mean you should give them to them. You should avoid giving Slim Jims to your furry friends as treats.

When giving them more than a quarter serving do not go over that. You should only give them it once every few months as a treat. One stick equals a quarter of a serving.

Can Slim Jims kill dogs?

It is true that if your dog consumes too many Slim Jim sticks it can cause harm to their health. You should keep Slim Jims on a higher surface and out of reach of your dog in order to avoid an expensive vet bill.

Can dogs eat beef jerky sticks?

The dog can consume one beef jerky stick depending on its ingredients. However please be aware of the high sodium content and any other additives that your dog may be allergic to.


Information on this website including text graphics images and other material is provided for informational purposes only. This site is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice diagnosis or treatment. Any questions you may have regarding dietary needs should be directed to your veterinarian or a qualified health care provider.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

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Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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