Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and of course, delicious food. While everyone enjoys different dishes on this special day, there's one question that always seems to come up: can dogs eat turkey? The answer is it depends. If you are a pet parent, read on to learn more about whether or not your pup can join in on the Thanksgiving fun.

Is Turkey Good For Dogs?

In moderation, turkey meat is a generally healthy food for dogs and is used by many brands of dog food. However, you should always consult your vet before changing your pet's diet. When feeding them turkey, be sure that it is only white meat with no bones.

Dogs love turkey just as much as people, and it can even be found in their treats. Most dogs go crazy for raw, freeze-dried turkey bites from the local pet store. Additionally, turkeys provide a protein source that is viable for dogs who have allergies to other meats such as beef or chicken. If your furry friend has food allergies, make sure to consult your veterinarian about adding Turkey to his/her diet!

Is Turkey Bad For Dogs?

 A dog eating food

There are various ways by which turkey can be prepared. Each method may or may not be good for your pup. Below, we'll go over some of the different types of turkey and whether or not they're safe for dogs.

Raw Turkey 

There are several reasons why you might want to give your pup raw turkey during Thanksgiving. Maybe you're following a raw dog's diet, or maybe you just think they'll enjoy the taste. Either way, it's important to know that feeding your dog raw turkey comes with some risks.

Raw turkeys can contain bacteria like salmonella and listeria, which can make your pup sick. If you do decide to feed your dog raw turkey, be sure to buy it from a reputable source and handle it carefully to avoid contamination.

Sliced Turkey Deli Meat 

Lunch meat often is packed with extra sodium and spices, and this can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities. So, while a few slices of turkey lunch meat as a treat probably won't hurt your pup, it's best to avoid giving them too much.

Turkey Skin 

Given that whole or partial turkeys are often highly seasoned for large meals, the skin is one of the most dangerous parts of the turkey for dogs. For pet safety, it's best not to feed your dog any skin.

Seasoned And Marinated Turkey 

Even if your dog eats a little bit of cooked turkey, it should be fine. However, once you start adding spices and other flavorings, the dish becomes poisonous to them.

Both onion and garlic are common seasonings for humans, but they can both pose a threat to dogs if consumed in large quantities. Eating small amounts might only give them an upset stomach, but eating too much could result in anemia (damage to the red blood cells).

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

Poultry bones especially cooked poultry ones are brittle and small. This combination makes them very dangerous for dogs. The following problems can result from feeding your dog any kind of bone, including poultry bones:

What To Do If Your Dog Mistakenly Eats Some Turkey 

A thanksgiving turkey

If your dog manages to snag a piece of turkey falling from the dinner table, there's probably no need to panic and rush them to the vet. With that being said, it's best to err on the side of caution - while a small amount of turkey likely won't hurt them, bones can pose a choking hazard.

And if they start licking up all the food off your plate, be aware that there are lots of other Thanksgiving staples and holiday foods that can actually be harmful for pets to eat. This includes desserts with xylitol sugar substitutes, anything with onions in it, or salads containing grapes or raisins.

Being prepared for an emergency can help save your pet's life. So before any holiday or event where food is present, add the ASPCA Poison Control Center hotline (888) 426-4425 to your phone contacts list.

How To Feed Turkey To Your Dog

A cute dog in a costume next to a pumpkin

Now that we know dogs can eat turkey under the right circumstances let's learn how to prepare and serve it safely. Here's what you need to do:

Check For Spice

When preparing turkey for your dog, it is best to use meat that contains no spices or seasonings. Additionally, make sure the turkey has not been cooked with any other ingredients. Onions and garlic should always be avoided, but you must also exercise caution with other flavorings.

Cut Food Into Bite-Sized Pieces

If your dog is going to be eating turkey, it is important to make sure the pieces are small enough for them to chew and digest easily. This will help prevent any choking hazards or digestive issues.

Fat Content

If your dog tolerates fat well, dark-meat turkey is also an excellent option. However, if your pet is prone to pancreatitis, you should avoid feeding them any turkey that contains skin or dark meat as these parts are higher in fat.

Ensure There Is No Skin Or Bone

Always remember to carefully check the turkey you give your dog for bones. While large dogs may look like they could easily chew up a Turkey bone, it's not good for them because it presents a choking hazard and can also get stuck in their intestines. In order to protect your dog's health, it is best you remove the skin from the turkey before feeding them any part of the bird. The skin contains fat that can be harmful to your pet if ingested.

Talk To Your Vet

If you want to know more about feeding your dog turkey, consult with your vet. If your canine has any allergies or aversions to food, ensure that you talk to your veterinarian beforehand before adding anything new to their diet.

Ingredients To Watch Out For

A pumpkin patch

Below, we will share some of the most common ingredients found in turkey that can pose a threat to your dog's health. By avoiding these ingredients, you can help to keep your furry friend safe and healthy.

Harmful Ingredients

The ingredients that typically cause problems for dogs are those cooked with the turkey, such as spices, seasonings, and some vegetables. Even though these might not be harmful to you, they can be poisonous to your pet. So it's best to avoid them when preparing a meal for your dog.

Garlic And Onions

As stated earlier, turkey that contains onions and garlic can pose a serious threat to your dog. Not only do these ingredients run the risk of causing stomach issues, but they can also damage red blood cells when consumed in large quantities.


When feeding your dog turkey, be mindful of the sodium levels. Dogs need only a fraction of the amount of salt that humans do and can't handle high concentrations, so plain, unsalted turkey is best.

Safe Ingredients

You can cook turkey with various ingredients that are safe for your dog to consume unseasonably. A few examples of these items include celery, apples, and carrots. Not only is this practice harm-free, but it also allows your furry friend to absorb essential nutrients! If you have any lingering concerns or questions about this topic, please don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet if necessary.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe This Thanksgiving Season

Thanksgiving dinner

Keep An Eye At Your Dogs At All Times

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving is to keep an eye on them at all times. This means not leaving them unsupervised around food or letting them roam free in the backyard where they could find something they're not supposed to eat.

Keep The Turkey Out Of Their Reach

Another way to help keep your dog safe is to make sure the turkey is out of its reach. This means keeping it in a safe place where they can't get to it, such as on the counter or in the oven.

Avoid Feeding Them Table Scraps

While it may be tempting to give your dog some of the turkey off your plate, it's best to avoid feeding them table scraps. This is because many of the things we eat on Thanksgiving, such as onions and garlic, can be harmful to dogs.

Keep Dangerous Foods Out Of Their Reach

In addition to turkey, there are also other dangerous foods that should be kept out of your dog's reach, such as chocolate and candy. These can be very harmful to dogs and should be avoided.

Know The Signs Of Emergency

It's also important to know the signs of an emergency, such as if your dog starts vomiting or has diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take them to the vet right away. By following these tips, you can help keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving season.

So Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy delicious food with family and friends, but it's also important to be aware of the dangers that certain foods can pose to your dog. By following the tips above, you can help keep your furry friend safe and healthy this holiday season.

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