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Some dogs, especially the very smart ones, can get bored of something relatively fast. This applies to their toys, their food or even their treats. What dog owners fail to realise when complaining about this is that dogs are guided more by their noses than by their eyes.
Any edible or inedible object that immediately gains a dog’s attention is the smell of the object, especially if the said object is new to the dog’s realm of experience. Perhaps that is why kangaroo meat is gaining more popularity in the market.
Kangaroo dog food has become quite easy to obtain in Singapore. However, there are only two types of kangaroo treats available in the market – dehydrated and cookie format.
Kangaroo meat for dogs is full of benefits. Kangaroo is higher in protein content and lower in fat content compared to other types of meat.
Since kangaroos have naturally lean red meat, it is one of the best choices for dogs suffering from conditions that require low-fat diets. For example, dogs with gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis, as well as overweight or inactive dogs.
A report called the Nutritional Composition of Kangaroo Meat was published in 2008 by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation of the Australian Government. Studies were made on the meat of two species commonly culled for collection of kangaroo meat. They were the grey kangaroo and red kangaroo – the largest population of all the kangaroo species – obtained from 2 states.
The report confirmed that “kangaroo meat was very low in fat and the fat present was rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids”. Although total fat content is very low, the “ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is approximately 2.5:1 which is considered good compared with standard Western diets of about 15:1”.
Kangaroo meat is also rich in iron, zinc and B vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. Read more about kangaroo meat benefits in our article.
The two forms of dog treats available in Singapore are: (1) cookie format, (2) dehydrated,
The crunchy biscuit type of treat contains kangaroo meat as one of its ingredients. These are usually baked and contain some amount of carbohydrate as well as other ingredients.
At the moment, there are meat strips, tendons and ribs. All of these are made from raw meat or parts of the kangaroo, which have been dehydrated. Dehydrated meat is also called ‘jerky’.
Jerky is basically dried lean meat. According to madehow.com, the predecessor of jerky was smoked meat. Smoking red meat was believed to be invented by a Quechua tribe in South America.
They used meat from game such as deer, buffalo and elk. Being such large animals, they had a lot of flesh. To prevent uneaten meat from going to waste, the Quechua added salt to strips of muscle tissue and dried them in the sun or over fires for extended periods of time.
The Spanish adopted this method of meat preservation and brought it to the rest of the world. Over time, spices and other ingredients were added to make the jerky more palatable.
In order for raw meat to have a long shelf life, the jerky-making process has to dehydrate the meat as well as kill any live organisms inside or on it.
The typical curing method involves any of the following additives: salt, sodium nitrite, sodium ascorbate, phosphates, spices, soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper, monosodium glutamate (MSG), garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, sugar, hickory salt, onion salt and so on.
After the meat is soaked in a curing solution, it is cooked at very high temperatures until it is dried. All these steps are to ensure it is safe for human consumption and can be commercialised.
Of course, but not jerky made for humans. As mentioned in the earlier section, jerky production involves the use of additives to cure the meat.
Certain ingredients in the curing process of human-grade jerky are unsafe or bad for dogs. For instance, salt in all its different forms, garlic and onion. Even a well-known beef jerky producer in the USA has advised dog owners not to give beef jerky made for human consumption to their pets.
More hard-working puppy moms and dads might then say, “I might as well make the jerky myself.” Yes, it is possible to do that. You’ll need a good dehydrator and a good oven.
You need to bear in mind, though. Traditional jerky preparation methods of drying meat at about 140 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit will not kill pathogens present in the meat. The Oregon State University, USA, did some research on this matter and published a book about it.
According to the book, jerky is considered safe for consumption (whether it is for dog or man) only when it has been heated sufficiently to destroy any pathogens and it is shelf-stable. The term ‘shelf-stable’ means the jerky can be stored at room temperature without supporting microbial growth. This means no mould should grow on it either.
The University also published a paper on an alternative way of preserving meat for jerky. Instead of using sodium nitrate – a very common ingredient – raisins could be used as a substitute. The natural chemical properties of raisins can function the same way.
However, raisins are a dehydrated form of grapes – the fruit that dogs should not be eating. Grape has been listed as one of the foods that are harmful for dogs. Once again, the jerky-making method is for human consumption.
What about store bought jerky for dogs then? The onus is on the owners to do their homework.
Whether it is homemade or store bought, the safest process of making jerky should be followed.
Undoubtedly, the best would be as natural as possible, safe for your dog and healthy. Natural means devoid of any preservative or additive. Safe means the jerky has been pasteurised.
Healthy means the meat is not overly processed. Over-processing removes any goodness from the meat. In this case, dehydrated kangaroo meat would be healthiest.
Pet Cubes has two types of jerky that are natural, safe and healthy. Kangaroo Steak is in the form of 10cm strips which are great for longer periods of chewing, and cleaning dogs’ teeth. Kangaroo chips come in small pieces which can be used as dog training treats.
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