Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Around the holidays, everyone is busy and everyone is excited. Did your Great Uncle Tom accidentally drop a piece of turkey on the floor that your dog gobbled up before he even noticed he did it?

It’s likely now you’re concerned – can dogs eat turkey? Will it upset your poor pooch’s stomach? Are there any negative repercussions from him eating the turkey?

We all know turkey is a human favorite, and that our canine friends are always eyeing it too. Thankfully, the answer to this popular question is yes – to an extent, anyway.

Is Turkey Safe for My Dog?

The simple answer to this question is yes – it is safe for the dog to consume.

In fact, you may notice that in some commercial dog food recipes, as well as homemade dog food recipes, turkey is a primary ingredient. This is because turkey is high in protein and other important minerals in your dog’s diet like riboflavin and phosphorus. These are all essential parts of a healthy and balanced diet for a dog. So at the root of the question, the answer is yes – your dog can eat turkey!

However, there are a few issues here that can cause serious digestive issues for your furry friend. Turkey is perfectly safe for dogs, but only when it is cooked plain. Let’s face it – in most cases, you aren’t eating your turkey plain. Most of us cook turkeys coated in butter and other seasonings, which may upset our dog’s stomachs, causing digestive issues after consumption. In the worst scenarios, it can even lead to pancreatitis in your dog.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that if you are going to let your dog consume turkey, they consume only the parts that are safe for them. However, in most cases, the worst outcome for your furry friend is a bit of an upset stomach. It is important that you keep an eye out, though, and make sure that should any major medical issues arise you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

What Parts of Turkey Can The Dog Eat?

This is another perfectly valid question to ask when it comes to feeding your dog turkey – after all, as previously mentioned, certain parts of the turkey can give your dog digestive issues, or, worse, pancreatitis. Thankfully, the risk is minimal, as long as you are careful about what you feed your dog from the turkey.

You want to make sure that you skip feeding the dog the skin – often, this has a high-fat content. Furthermore, this is often the most seasoned part of the turkey. Therefore, feeding it to your dog can lead to digestive upset. Therefore, it is advised that the dog does not eat the skin of the turkey, despite the risk being relatively minimal.

The dog should also not eat the fat off of the turkey, as this is what causes pancreatitis. Dogs are not able to properly digest fat, which can lead to extreme health issues, diarrhea, and dehydration. Therefore, you want to ensure that the dog does not consume the fat from the turkey.

Furthermore, despite the popular belief that dogs can eat any sort of bone, you do not want to give your dog any turkey bones. This is due, primarily, to the fact that turkey bones, like most poultry and fowl bones, are relatively brittle and shatter very easily. The shattered bone is difficult for your dog to digest, and can lead to a plethora of different health problems, including but not limited to:

  • constipation
  • choking
  • perforated intestinal lining
  • rectal bleeding from sharp bone fragments
  • mouth injuries
  • blockages (which require emergency surgery to remove and can be life-threatening)

While some of these issues resulting from consumption of a bone may seem minimal, it is not worth the risk of feeding these bones to your dog.

With all of this in mind, you might wonder what parts of the turkey your dog actually CAN eat – and that’s a perfectly valid question. The actual meat of the turkey can safely be consumed by your dog when properly prepared.

How Should I Prepare Turkey For My Dog?

Knowing that the spices and seasonings that usually go on a turkey can cause digestive upset to your dog, you might wonder how you can prepare turkey for your dog and, furthermore, if your dog eating a few turkey scraps can be harmful.

Realistically speaking, you need to know for certain that dogs cannot consume onions or large quantities of garlic. Therefore, if your dog consumes turkey that was seasoned with either garlic or onions, it is best to seek the advice of a professional in relation to the treatment of your dog.

Other seasonings, typically, are not as life-threatening to your dog, can cause digestive issues that you want to avoid. Therefore, should you decide to prepare turkey for your dog, it is important that you make sure the turkey is plain. Include no seasonings, as they can cause digestive upset. Furthermore, it is advised that should you decide to feed your dog turkey regularly, you consult your vet first to ensure that it will not cause other digestive issues.

Ultimately, though, providing your dog with small amounts of plain turkey occasionally is safe for them.

What Are the Disadvantages of Feeding Turkey to My Dog?

Now that we have determined that plain turkey is safe for your dog to consume, the question must be asked – should you be feeding it to your dog, even if it is safe? What are the disadvantages of feeding turkey to your dog? These are great questions, as the health of your furry friend is the most important.

As previously mentioned, turkey is one of the major ingredients in most commercial dog foods and is often recommended for use in homemade dog food recipes. That being said, in most instances plain turkey is not bad for your dog and it can be eaten semi-regularly.

However, it is important to consult your vet before making any major changes to your dog’s diet. For instance, feeding your dog table scraps such as turkey too often can lead to health issues such as obesity.

Obesity in dogs can lead to a plethora of different health issues that should be avoided, such as heart problems, diabetes, and joint problems. Therefore, a veterinarian should be consulted before any major dietary changes take place to ensure that the best choice is being made for your dog.

In addition to this, it is important that you ensure that none of the turkey meat you feed your dog contains any bones. The bones can, in some cases, be relatively easy to miss. As previously stated, your dog should not consume the turkey bones as it can lead to choking hazards and, if it causes intestinal bleeding or blockage, in some cases, it can lead to the death of your pet.

Before giving your pet any turkey meat, it is important to ensure that all choking hazards have been removed. You also want to make sure that the turkey was not seasoned prior to serving to ensure that your pet’s digestive tract doesn’t suffer. While stomach upset may not seem like a serious issue, excessive stomach problems can lead to dehydration, which can lead to death if left untreated for long periods of time.

What’s The Actual Verdict?

With all of the information provided here, it may seem a little confusing – can dogs eat turkey? Or is it not a good idea? However, the answer is relatively straightforward, at the end of the day.

Ultimately, yes – your dog can eat turkey, as long as you prepare it properly for your dog. Having accidentally ingested a table scrap or two may upset your dog’s stomach to some degree, but it certainly won’t hurt them unless the turkey had onions or excessive amounts of garlic on it.

Moreover, it is important to make sure should you decide to feed your dog turkey on a regular basis that you are careful to make sure that it is unseasoned and contains no bones. It is also important to make sure that it is correctly portioned, so as to avoid obesity issues later in your dog’s life.

As long as you follow these guidelines, however, it is safe to feed your dog turkey. If your dog accidentally eats a table scrap or two, it will likely be fine – though it may upset your dog’s stomach in a little bit, in most cases there are no serious health hazards associated with the consumption of turkey occasionally.

It is best to speak with your dog’s vet prior to regularly feeding your dog turkey, however, to make sure it is the best dietary choice for your pet. Should you notice that your dog has a negative reaction to the consumption of turkey that seems severe, you should also take them to the vet to ensure their wellbeing.

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