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Can Dogs Eat Turkey? | Is Turkey Bad for Dogs?

is turkey bad for dogs

There’s nothing like a juicy, delicious turkey especially during Thanksgiving!  With so much care being given to this meal and limitless options in how to prepare the leftovers, it’s only natural that pet parents will ask “can dogs eat turkey meat?”  So, is turkey bad for dogs? Here’s what you need to know about turkey to keep your dog safe around Thanksgiving and any time of the year!

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Can Dogs Eat Turkey? (The Short Answer)

Turkey is safe for dogs to enjoy, but only if it’s plain.  The problem is that with all the seasonings, butter, oils, and stuffing we add to our turkeys, it usually isn’t plain.  Below we’ll go into detail about which parts of the turkey are ok for our four-legged friends and which aren’t!

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Turkey Good For Dogs?

Turkey is a common ingredient in many dog foods and treats as it has many health benefits.  It contains nutrients such as phosphorus, protein, and riboflavin.  It’s also very lean and low in fat.  As long as it is cooked plain, turkey can be a prominent part of your dog’s diet, particularly if you enjoy cooking homemade meals for them.

Is Turkey Bad For Dogs?

So, is turkey bad for dogs? Turkey is not toxic for our four-legged friends by itself.  However, many of the ingredients we tend to cook turkey with are which is why accidents occur from turkey consumption.  There are three main areas of the turkey to avoid: the skin, the stuffing/filling, and the bones.  Especially keep in mind that onion and garlic, two ingredients commonly made with turkey, can be toxic to our pups.

Alternative Options

If your dog is allergic to turkey or you don’t have plain turkey available, there are some other alternative sources of protein to try:

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Breast?

Yes, the less-fatty white meat is the best part of the turkey for dogs to eat as long as it is served plain with no added seasonings, butter, stuffing, oils, or herbs.  Remember, this means scraping the skin off!

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

No, turkey bones are small and very brittle.  As a result, giving them to your dog can result in extremely serious injuries.  Never give your dog cooked turkey bones.  Some possible outcomes can include choking, mouth and tongue injuries, digestive system blockages.  In addition, the sharp bone pieces can pierce your pet’s stomach, intestines, or rectum which needless to say is extremely painful and dangerous.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bacon?

Yes, turkey bacon is a great treat for dogs as long as it is of the uncured and low-sodium variety.  It has fatty acids and protein to give your dog energy and a healthy coat.  However, limit the amount you give to your dog—it shouldn’t be a daily reward or an entire meal.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Sausage?

Turkey sausage almost always contains seasonings that aren’t healthy for pups.  Sometimes it’ll contain garlic or onion which are toxic.  Finally, sausage tends to be too fatty of a meat variety to feed to your dog regularly, even if there were no added seasonings.

Can Dogs Eat Ground Turkey?

The same rules apply to ground turkey as turkey breast.  It is safe for dogs as long as seasonings, butter, oils, and other additives are avoided.

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Are Turkey Burgers Safe for Your Pup?

This depends on whether the burger is made from plain ground beef formed into a patty or if it is a pre-made patty.  Pre-made patties likely have unhealthy (and sometimes dangerous) seasonings and additives making them a bad choice to feed your dog.  If it’s 100% plain meat, you’re good to go!

Are Turkey Hot Dogs Safe for Your Pup?

While turkey hot dogs aren’t the most healthy snack for your pup, as long as only a small bite or two is given they tend to be safe.  Always check your specific brand of turkey hot dogs for large amounts of sodium or toxic seasonings.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Necks?

Raw or freeze-dried turkey necks can be safe and nutritious treats for our furry friends.  However, you should still monitor closely as they can still be a choking hazard.  Remember, cooked bones are extremely dangerous for dogs and should be avoided at all costs.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Skin?

No, you should avoid giving your dog turkey skin.  Not only does the skin usually contain additives like butter, oil, garlic, herbs, and spaces but it’s also high in fat on its own.  This can potentially cause pancreatitis in dogs where the pancreas becomes swollen and inflamed.

Are Turkey Cold Cuts Safe for Your Pup?

No, you should not give your dog turkey cold cuts.  Store bought lunch meats and cold cuts in general tend to contain too much salt and nitrates to be acceptable to feed your dog.  This can lead to kidney and digestive problems.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Have Turkey?

Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein for dogs, but you have to be very careful as we humans tend to make it very dangerous the way we prepare it.  Always double check the ingredients, particularly the spices to make sure you are good to go before feeding it to your pup!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.