Can Dogs Eat Turkey? Is Turkey Good Or Bad For Dogs?

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can dogs eat turkey

Today’s question: can dogs eat turkey? Is turkey good for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.

Thanksgiving dinner is on its way and we are all looking forward to enjoying the star of this event, the delicious and tasty turkey. We look forward to spend the holiday dinner with our families, families which often include our pets as well. Many households cook a large turkey which leaves plenty of leftovers. Thanksgiving is a holiday devoted to over eating and indulging in our favorite foods.  Dogs are not usually left out of this equation, and are usually the first to enjoy a bowl full of holiday food.

Since dogs are meat eaters, and notorious scavengers, one may think to offer turkey in the bowl of their dog not only as a treat, but also to differ the dog from begging at the table.  Giving your dog turkey may fill him/her up and satisfy his/her curiosity and leave the family alone while they eat.  This may be the goal of offering the dog turkey, but something also unlikely to occur.   When a dog is offered any type of food, the dog will most likely take more than offered and continue begging until all of the food is gone.   The dog may even make him/herself sick gorging on the human food and forgoing his/her dog food.  In this event, avoiding the offering of turkey to your dog may be a good thing.  If you dog is the type to take a piece and be happy, than offering a piece of turkey may be safe in this regard.

Dogs do not need added meat in their diet.  The food premade for them by the dog food organization prepares foods that will meet all of the dietary requirements dogs need.  Adding meat to their diet may seem like a good idea-the added nutrients and vitamins from the turkey should add to the health of the dog.  While this may be a thoughtful prospect, the truth is, dogs do not need the extra nutrients.  Humans may benefit from extra vitamins, but their pets do not require them.  Unless directed to serve meat by a vet, your dog should not have table scraps or full meals prepared for him/her.  The extra calories put on weight, may cause diabetes, and may also cause added health problems.

With the seemingly positive benefits of dogs eating turkey, but also a bit of a negative consequence that can arise, should we share the leftover turkey with our furry family members too? Can dogs eat turkey?

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Meat and the Bones?

can dogs eat turkey

Yes, dogs can eat turkey. Turkey is actually a wonderful lean protein that is a healthy option to share it with the pup. Just make sure to take the skin and bones off and avoid giving the excess turkey fat to your dog. Turkey bones that are cooked have the tendency to splinter, which may puncture the digestive tract or cause a blockage. They are also a choking hazard to your pup.

It’s recommended to give some small slices of turkey straight from the bird. However, make sure there are no bones shards or bones before feeding it to your pooch.

Whether dogs may eat turkey, as well as the turkey bone, is a common question many dog owners wonder about. Dogs are known to eat bones on occasion, and doggie bags are often brought home from restaurants with rib bones inside.   You are probably going to host the Thanksgiving dinner for your family and want to treat your dog as well, and you may have guests inclined to offer your dog their leftover bones.  Dogs should not have cooked bones, despite the reputation stating otherwise.  Bones from other animals pose a high risk to your dog, and the offering of a bone just is not worth the risk.  The meat is safe and nutritious to offer, but discard of the bones another way.

Be sure to research how turkey and turkey bones may affect your particular dog on the basis of its breed and size, and also have your vet advise you on how to feed this particular food.

Other Caution Measures

Like we mentioned earlier, avoid giving your dog too much turkey skin. You can give him/her some of that occasionally as a treat, but it’s all about moderation. Turkey skin is oily and fatty, and not as nutritious as the meat.  As an owner you should only offer your dog food that will be nutritious, not food that is fat and oily and could cause health problems.

Turkey fat is another part of the turkey to avoid giving your dog.  Turkey fat is too rich for dogs and may potentially cause upset stomach or in severe cases lead to pancreatitis.

The symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and severe diarrhea. As a result, your dog will get dehydrated in almost no time. Other symptoms will include severe pain, crying, inability to eat, weakness and a general state of irritability.

Pancreatitis is a condition that could be potentially lethal for your dog. So it would be better to avoid feeding him turkey skin. There truly is no reason to offer the skin, therefore avoid this step if at all possible.   IF your dog eats turkey skin on his/her own, be sure to watch for symptoms and call the vet immediately if you notice anything awry.

Moreover, stuffing, spices and seasonings create the turkey even more desirable to us, but quite harmful to dogs. Garlic and onions that you may have in your turkey’s seasonings are toxic to dogs and should be completely avoided. Also, many herbs are not suited for dogs to consume. Sage herb may cause an upset stomach. Additionally, dark turkey meat is also difficult to process and should be given in moderation.

Also, avoid coating your dog’s turkey serving with any fatty gravy or mashed potatoes that were made with cream and butter. These can cause stomach problems and diarrhea for your pup. Unseasoned white turkey meat is the best choice for dogs

Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are several great tips to keep your dog away from Thanksgiving food dangers:

  • The uncooked turkey should not be left unattended on the kitchen counter – No dog will be able to resist the turkey smell. However, when the meat is uncooked, it could contain potentially harmful bacteria, not to mention the bones that could deeply hurt the pet.
  • Take away all the wrappings – You should do this as soon as you have finished cooking the turkey or just before sitting down to eat. Because of the smell, any tin foil, meat skewers or other packages could make your dog want to eat them. This could be a complete disaster for your canine friend.
  • Pay attention where you put the wrappings – As usual, they will go into the garbage can. However, your dog could be quite persistent to get in there and chow it down while you are not paying attention. Just make sure that the lid will be set on firmly and that the bin will be secured.
  • Clean off the dinner plates– Remove the leftovers promptly and put them in the refrigerator. This will prevent your pooch to steal meat with bones off the table. Clean off the plates of the turkey carcass and little bones, putting them in the trash can that is not accessible to your dog.
  • Give your dog turkey treats – To take your dog’s mind off the turkey that is cooking, you can simply give him a Kong that has been stuffed with white turkey meat. It will keep him busy while you cook or as long as you are eating your meal.
  • Take your dog for a very long walk – One thing every dog owner should know is the fact that a tired dog is an obedient one too. Give your buddy a long walk and play with him. Make him tired enough so when it’s time to eat the turkey, he might want to rest instead than beg for the food.

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Can Dogs Eat Ground Turkey?

Yes, dogs can eat ground turkey that is cooked and does not contain seasonings. You can add ground turkey to your pet’s regular kibble. Just add less kibble and more turkey so your pooch can eat the same amount of food as usual.   You may even puree the turkey and mix the puree with the kibble in the likelihood your dog does not chew well, or does not like to eat chunks of meat.   Pureed turkey mixed with kibble with give your dog the benefits of eating turkey, the variety of a new meal, and the texture to keep your dog happy.

Ground turkey is a healthy meal for your pet dog.  Ground turkey is used for making meat loaves, hamburgers, taco meat, etc., is a good alternative to the turkey that is associated with Thanksgiving.  One does not need a turkey bird to offer their dog turkey in the diet.   It contains niacin, selenium and potassium. Generally, the store bought meat is pretty lean. However, some meats may contain fatty skin, which is not the best option for your pal. It is always best to read the labels, even if you are confident in the choice cut of meat. Also, do not cook the ground turkey meat with onions when cooking for your dog. Like stated before, onions are toxic to dogs.

Cooking turkey meals for yourself with onions means cooking a separate dish for your pet.  Even a small amount of onions or garlic will cause a reaction in your dog. If you plan on making a meal of ground turkey and adding seasoning, always cook a small amount free of seasoning in a separate pan for your dog.  In the event your dog has eaten the food with possible onion and garlic, be mindful of watching for reactions and notify your vet.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Turkey?

Many dog owners are switching to raw food for dogs. Raw food diets have become trendy for not only humans but also for animals.  After all, in the wild, dogs do not have access to stoves and cooking implements to cook their meat before eating.  Why should we cook meat for them when their tastes prefer the meat raw?  Should we allow dogs to eat turkey raw?  No, raw turkey may contain salmonella bacteria and needs to be cooked to remove harmful bacteria from entering your dogs system and creating sickness and disease. To be on the safe side, it is best to cook the turkey before feeding it to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Hot Dogs or Deli Meat?

The answer is no. Turkey hot dogs and deli meats are processed forms of meat that contain chemicals which are hard for dogs to digest.  Dogs are able to digest whole food meats such as chicken turkey and beef, but the processed meats contain too many ingredients that are unable or difficult to be digested by dogs.

Can Dogs be Allergic to Turkey?

It’s rare but it is possible. If you see any of the symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, stomach gurgles or loss of appetite, your pooch may be allergic to turkey.  Be watchful for signs of allergic reaction or poisoning, and be sure to call you vet right away in the event of an emergency.


Coming back to the initial question, yes dogs can eat turkey. Just don’t overdo it if you already feed your dog with meat filled kibble or wet food. You don’t want your dog to become overweight, do you? Couple turkey slices here and there is fine for dogs and wound’t harm them.

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