For many families, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey. But can the whole family enjoy it? In other words…can dogs eat turkey? And if so, is it good for them? What risks should you be aware of? Breaking it all down here in this guide to turkey for dogs.
Picture this: you’re cutting yourself a juicy slice of turkey when your pup gives you that adorable look you know all too well. You hesitate for a split second, but you cave in and give him a slice.
In the back of your mind, as you’re giving your pooch some turkey, you’re wondering, can dogs eat turkey? Is turkey safe dogs? Do I give it with or without the bones?
The quick answer is yes, dogs can eat turkey, but only the portions with white meat, as they’re safe and highly nutritious. Other parts, however, can cause severe health issues.
Turkey For Dogs: Overview
- Is Turkey Meat Safe for Dogs?
- What Is the Best Way to Feed Dogs Turkey Meat?
- Benefits of Turkey Meat for Dogs
- Which Part of the Turkey Can Dogs Eat?
- In Summary
Is Turkey Meat Safe for Dogs?
In general, turkey meat is safe for dogs and is a great addition to your dog’s daily diet. It’s rich in minerals and nutrients. Plus, it can be a nice alternative source of protein for dogs with allergies to other types of meat.
What Is the Best Way to Feed Dogs Turkey Meat?
There are a few things you should keep in mind when you offer your dog turkey meat, such as the following:
- Offer well-cooked, unseasoned, plain, white turkey meat
- Cut it up into easy-to-manage cubes
- Avoid lunch meat turkey as it contains preservatives that can cause digestive problems
- Remove the skin, which is high in fat and can be bad for a dog’s pancreas
- Avoid fried turkey meat because of its high-fat content, which can cause pancreatitis
- Don’t offer turkey legs because they’re high in fat and are often full of hazardous bones
- Remove all bones from the meat as they can be a choking hazard and hard to digest
- Avoid seasonings as they can be toxic
- Remove onions and garlic as they can make your dog anemic (more on garlic for dogs here)
Benefits of Turkey Meat for Dogs
Turkey meat is one of the healthiest protein sources you can offer your pooch. It’s easy to digest and is even considered to be an anti-inflammatory, unlike poultry or red meat. This means that if your dog is suffering from an inflammatory disease, turkey meat won’t exacerbate the symptoms.
Which Part of the Turkey Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs Can Eat White Meat
While canines can eat both white and dark meat, the white meat on the turkey is leaner. It contains more protein and less fat. So when looking for the best part of the turkey to serve your dog, turkey breast is best.
Another benefit is it’s loaded with essential minerals and nutrients, including:
Dogs Can Eat Turkey Giblets
The turkey giblets are the extras that come with the store-bought turkey. The giblets consist of the liver, heart, kidneys, and gizzards. Dogs can safely eat the turkey giblets.
To feed your dog turkey giblets, remove it all from the turkey and boil for five to ten minutes. Another option is to sear them in a pan on the stovetop without any oil or butter. You can feed your dog raw turkey giblets, although it raises their risk of contracting a food borne illness.
Once they cool down, give your pooch a few pieces at a time. Monitoring the portions can help prevent gastrointestinal flare-ups, diarrhea, or vomiting.
The turkey neck is also part of the giblets, and can be consumed by your dog if fed correctly (more on how to feed turkey necks to dogs here!)
Dogs Can Eat Turkey Necks
That gross looking turkey neck that came with out Thanksgiving turkey? Your dog can eat it! Not only is the turkey neck packed with protein, but the bones make it great for cleaning tartar off your dogs teeth. Keep in mind, never feed your dog cooked bones, which can splinter and cause gastrointestinal damage. Turkey necks should be fed raw to your dog. If you dog is very young or suffers from weakened immunity, do not feed them raw meats.
Dogs Should Not Eat Turkey Skin
Turkey skin is high in fat, which is not great for your dog. Avoid feeding it intentionally (although if they sneak a bite, no need for concern).
Dogs Cannot Eat Turkey Legs
Dogs eat turkey legs because of the bones, which are often cooked and therefore dangerous to your dog. Feed them a bit of bone-free breast meat instead.
Dogs Cannot Eat Turkey Bones
While raw bones are generally safe for dogs, dogs should never eat cooked poultry bones, which are brittle and could splinter, causing injury when ingested.
Frequent Questions About Feeding Dogs Turkey
Dogs can eat ground turkey. Ground meat usually has a high risk of bacterial contamination, so we recommend cooking ground turkey before feeding to your dog.
Healthy dogs can typically eat raw turkey without issue. As with any raw food, the risk of bacterial infection is always there, so puppies and dogs with weakened immune system should not eat raw turkey.
Avoid feeding your dog turkey sausage, which often has added salt, seasonings, and fat – all of which are bad for your dog.
Dogs should not eat deli turkey lunch meat, which is often full of added salt and preservatives (although one slice should not hurt them). Whether they’re labeled turkey slices or turkey cold cuts, check the ingredients list to ensure you’re not feeding your dog way too much salt.
The turkey liver is a part of the giblets, which are safe for dogs to eat. More on the health benefits of liver for dogs here!
Whether or not your dog can eat Thanksgiving turkey depends on how you made it! Dogs should never eat onion, garlic, or excess salt or fat. They should also never eat cooked bones. If you’re dying to give them a taste of your Thanksgiving feast, let them have a piece of skinless turkey breast!
Turkey bacon is typically safe for dogs, as long as there is no garlic or onion flavor added.
Avoid feeding your dog turkey hotdogs, which often has added salt, seasonings, and fat – all of which are bad for your dog.
Turkey burgers are generally safe for dogs, as long as there is no added garlic or onion flavor.
Turkey pepperoni, like turkey sausage and hot dogs, often has added ingredients that are not great for your dog’s health. Avoid intentionally feeding it to your pup.
Can dogs eat turkey? Yes, they can. Incorporating it as a protein source into your dog’s daily diet will help them stay fit and in good health. Remember to offer only plain, well-cooked turkey meat. Also, remove any extras that can harm your pooch.