Can dogs eat turkey? You may be asking this if you want to share a bit of your Thanksgiving feast with your pup, or maybe you want to give them a bite of your turkey sandwich. Humans eat turkey, so is it safe for dogs?
The short answer is yes. Dogs can eat turkey, but this comes with a few caveats. Plain, white meat turkey with no bones will usually make for a safe treat for pups, but there are plenty of exceptions. And as always, you must ask your vet before sharing human foods with your dog, including turkey.
Even foods that are healthy for dogs should be given in moderation and not interfere with their regular diet. Here are a few things you should know about feeding your dog turkey.
Is Turkey Good For Dogs?
Overall, turkey is actually a very common ingredient for multiple brands of dog food, so feeding it to your dog in moderation is usually fine, so long as you get your vet’s advice first. Make sure it is plain, white meat with no bones.
Turkey is even common in treats. My dog loves the raw freezer dried turkey bites I get at a local pet store–probably a little too much. However, they’re perfect for him and bite size for almost any dog.
Turkey can also provide an alternative protein source for dogs who have allergies to other meats, like beef or chicken. If your dog has food allergies, talk to your vet. They may suggest you try adding turkey to your dog’s diet instead.
When Is Turkey Bad For Dogs?
Dogs can usually eat turkey unless they have medical conditions like allergies, and you must remove any bones from the meat beforehand.
Bones from birds such as turkey, chicken, and duck are fragile and splinter easily, especially when cooked. Feeding these to your dog can cause severe issues, as they are often known to splinter in either the throat or in the digestive tract, which can lead to serious pain and bleeding for your dog.
You also shouldn’t feed your dog seasoned turkey, as many kinds of seasoning can be toxic or harmful for dogs. So unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in seasoning meat before or during cooking, it’s probably best not to give your dog Thanksgiving turkey.
There’s also the matter of the contents of the stuffing you’ve put in your bird while cooking. Onions can be toxic for dogs, and many herbs and oils can cause various digestive issues as well.
Also, make sure you prepare the turkey, yourself, and that it is fresh. Turkey with preservatives, like most lunch meat turkey, might have chemicals that are difficult for dogs to digest. It’s best to avoid these.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Turkey?
If you’re going to give your dog turkey, make sure to forego giving them the skin, as that’s where a lot of the seasoning will be contained. The fat can also cause pancreatitis.
It should also go without saying, but if your turkey is fried, do not give it to your dog. Fried foods are not even good for us, so giving them to your dog is only going to offer a double dose of your troubles.
Your best choice would be to go with the lean meat of the turkey for your dog, or the “white meat.” Avoiding the legs is also important, as this area tends to be especially fatty for the bird.
Do you ever feed your dog turkey? What other human foods do you share with your pup? Let us know in the comments below!