Dog looking wide-eyed at a turkey on the counter

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

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Turkey is one of the most divinely delectable meats around, dotting dinner tables across the United States during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the rest of the culinary year. That means that it’s only natural to want to include your favorite furry friend in the turkey bacchanal. But there is a question you should ask before you set them on a plate at the dinner table: can dogs eat turkey?

Don’t feel bad if it makes you feel anxious or uncertain when gazing back and forth between your favorite pooch and a succulent turkey leg. It is a fair question that needs answering—and in this article, that’s what we’re going to do.

Is It Safe for My Dog to Eat Turkey?

As far as turkey and dogs go, things get a little complicated. The simple answer is that dogs can eat turkey, but not in the way that humans are most familiar with.

Unlike foods like chocolate, turkey is not toxic to dogs. It is a healthy addition to many dogs’ diets and is a key ingredient in many dog foods.

However, it would be best if you did not start carving off a slice of your Thanksgiving fowl for your furry friend. Dogs can experience severe digestive distress and even conditions like pancreatitis if they eat foods like garlic, butter, and onions, which we use to make turkey so delicious. The Shakespearean tragedy of dogs and turkey is that what makes turkey delicious on Thanksgiving tables makes it an unsafe option when it goes in a kibble bowl.

In addition, you should avoid giving your dog turkey bones. Unlike pig bones and cow bones, which are thick, turkey bones (like the bones of other poultry) aren’t very strong. When dogs chew on them, the bones can splinter into sharp fragments, which can lacerate their mouths and internal organs or pose a considerable choking hazard.

Are There Any Safety Concerns Feeding Turkey to My Dog?

As the issues above suggest, there are some concerns about giving your dog some turkey. First, a dog can get serious health issues from eating seasoned turkey, spices, fats, and other ingredients that disagree with a dog’s system. These problems might be as mild as an upset stomach or as severe as pancreatitis, gastrointestinal irritation, and red blood cell damage.

How Much Turkey Can I Give My Dog?

If you feel the irresistible impulse to give your dog some turkey, there are a few ways to do so safely. First, give your dog a minimal amount of turkey, and even less if your dog has preexisting dietary health conditions. Trim off all the skin and fat before providing them with a delicious slice of this holiday-favorite fowl.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, while turkey meat is a scrumptious meal that makes a good name for poultry everywhere, that doesn’t mean you should send some along to your dog. Seasoned turkey is very dangerous for dogs and should be given only in moderation, if at all.

Wondering whether other common foods are safe for your dog to eat? Check out the following articles to learn more:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.