Turkey has always been present in our diet —  it’s tasty, healthy, and nutritious. But can dogs eat turkey? Do they get the same benefits as us? And would it be wrong if you share some of this meat with your dog over the holidays?

The answers are a bit more complicated than you’d think. But we’ll tell you everything you need to know below. Here are the essential bits we’ll discuss:

Is Turkey Good for Dogs?

You may have seen this meat in your dog’s food ingredients and assumed it’s good. In most cases, turkey makes a fine meal for your furry pal. 

It’s a perfect way to meet your dog’s protein needs, which are vital for regular metabolism, growth, and repair. According to AAFCO, the best large breed dog food must contain a minimum of 18% of protein, while a growing dog needs 22%. Besides giving your dog a strong body, turkey can also supply riboflavin and other nutrients for health maintenance.

But dogs and turkey bones aren’t always a good combination. Once cooked, the bones become fragile and brittle. Feeding them to your dog can cause many problems, as they can often get stuck in the throat or gastrointestinal tract, which can cause severe pain and bleeding.

Some dogs can also have a turkey allergy, but we more on that later.

What Parts of Turkey Can Dogs Eat?

So can dogs have turkey? Yes, but you must watch out for a few rules. Not all pieces of the turkey are beneficial for a dog. Let’s see what turkey parts your dog can eat and which ones you should be careful with.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

Fairy tales, cartoons, and books have all established the stereotype that a dog should eat bones and a cat should drink milk. But is it true?

Cooked turkey bones can break into tiny and sharp pieces, which can cut your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, causing much internal damage. Also, they’re not healthy. 

High temperature affects the vitamins and breaks down the minerals, so the bones lose their nutritional value. Instead, consider making a bone broth with added turmeric for dogs that can support your dog’s bone and joint health.

But can dogs eat turkey bones that are raw? Yes, they can be an excellent meal for your furball. They can even provide mental stimulation for dogs that love chewing. Plus, raw bones are a fantastic source of minerals and nutrients.

If you have an elderly dog, consult with your vet before feeding it raw bones. Though they’re softer than cooked ones, raw bones are more likely to cause broken teeth. Puppies should also avoid hard turkey bones. Their teeth are more vulnerable and sensitive, so they’re at a higher risk of damage. But you can still get them the best dog dental chews to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy. 

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Necks?

Turkeys are pretty big birds and can weigh around 30.5 pounds. So we recommend running the necks through the meat grinder before feeding them to your dog.

It’s a good meal that comes with advantages. Turkey neck bones are quite soft and safe to feed, even to a three-month-old puppy.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Turkey?

Raw meat has become very popular among dog owners. After all, in the wild, dogs don’t eat cooked meat. So is it ok for dogs to eat turkey? The answer is somewhat complicated.  

According to many veterinarians, feeding your dog turkey has potential risks. It may contain salmonella, which can make your dog sick. Stay on the safe side by choosing other meat options or a bone broth. But if you’ve decided to switch your dog to raw food, you should ensure your pet’s safety.

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Turkey

You can find turkey on every table during the holiday season. It’s tradition and one of the healthiest Thanksgiving foods. So, if it’s good for humans, can dogs eat turkey too? Yes, but you should consider the following safety tips:

  • Before giving your dog raw turkey, make sure it’s in secure packaging and never leave it out at room temperature. Also, it’s a good idea to wash and sanitize your dog’s food bowl.
  • It’s crucial to remove the skin. Dogs should never eat turkey skin, no matter if it’s cooked or raw.  
  • Turkey for dogs should have no seasoning. Avoid giving onions and garlic to your dog, especially the former, as it’s toxic to our furry pals. 
  • Ensure that the meat contains no bones to avoid a choking hazard.
  • Give your dog only small portions of turkey, and consult with a veterinarian about food scraps in your dog’s diet, especially if your pet has health issues like diabetes. Dogs with this condition should eat high-quality diabetic dog food.
  • Provide only fresh turkey meat to your dog. If it’s not good for a human, it’s not good for your pet, either.

When Is Turkey Bad for Your Dog?

So, is turkey good for dogs? What about seasoned turkey and fat content in the skin? 

Turkey is an excellent protein source, and dogs require a lot of protein to stay healthy. But there are a few safety factors to keep in mind. 

Turkey Allergy

Some dogs can get turkey allergy through exposure, meaning the more dogs eat turkey, the more likely they are to develop an allergy to it. While it happens quite rarely, the main signs of your dog having a turkey allergy include severe itching and scratching, skin rashes, vomiting, hair loss, and paw biting.

The best way to keep your dog safe if it has such an allergy is to feed it entirely turkey-free food. You can ask your vet for advice or cook your dog’s meals. 

pug watching someone eat turkey meat

Seasoned Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. With so much tasty food, it’s tempting to give your dog a bite. But can dogs eat turkey prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday? 

The seasoning and injections we often use to dress the Thanksgiving turkey make it dangerous for dogs. For example, onions can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia.  

Other seasonings, such as salt, can also lead to health issues. Too much salt in a dog’s food can cause sodium ion poisoning. The best option is to serve unsalted turkey that’s free from any salt, garlic, or onions. Plain-cooked, boneless turkey is a perfect Thanksgiving meal to share with your furry pal. 

Fat Content in the Skin

Can dogs eat turkey skin? While all the lean meat in a roasted turkey is safe for your dog, there’s much fat in the skin with almost no nutritional value. You may trim the turkey meat before eating it, but don’t give the skin to your dog. 

The fat content in turkey skin can cause digestive upsets, diarrhea, potential weight gain, and pancreatitis in the long term.

Other Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat During the Holidays

Holidays bring a lot of joy and tasty food for your family and pets. But some of our favorite festive snacks aren’t safe for dogs. 

Besides seasonings and spices, here are a few more foods dogs can’t eat:

  • Ham and Bacon: Can dogs eat turkey bacon? It’s not a good idea. Bacon contains a lot of salt and fat, which is bad for dogs (and for us).  The same goes for ham, which can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Chocolate: We can’t imagine the holidays without it. But compared to humans, dogs don’t have an enzyme that breaks down cocoa beans. The dangerous component in them is called theobromine. It can speed the heart rate and stimulate the canine nervous system. 
  • Desserts: Most desserts, like cakes and pies, come with too much sugar for your dog. Some also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to dogs. So, keep all desserts away from your furball. 
  • Lunch Meat: Can dogs eat turkey lunch meat? A dog shouldn’t eat any lunch meat. All types contain too much salt and nitrates, leading to digestive and kidney problems. 
  • Casseroles: While casseroles are one of the healthiest foods for us, dogs shouldn’t eat them. Dogs and turkey might get along, but Thanksgiving casseroles are full of heavy creams, butter, oils, and salt that are toxic for dogs. 
  • Alcohol: All alcoholic drinks are hazardous for pets. Even a tiny amount can seriously damage your fluffy friend’s health. It can cause drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. 
  • Nuts: They’re too high in fat, which can be dangerous for dogs and cause diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Grapes and Raisins: They’re toxic for dogs, and even a small amount may lead to rapid kidney failure.

Conclusion

Turkey meat can be an excellent meal for your dog. It’s tasty and provides protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

If you keep the meat lean and don’t feed your dog any bones, skin, or raw meat, turkey can be a good addition to your dog’s diet.So, can dogs eat turkey? In the right conditions, dogs can enjoy this nutritional food and get all its benefits.

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Shushan is a writer with a passion for beauty, health, nature, and animals. She dreams of living in a pleasant countryside cottage with animals running around, a library with endless rows of books, and a twisting staircase. She combines her love of writing and animals to create exciting and valuable content about pet care. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and visiting new places.