You may be wondering if it’s okay to feed your dog some of the turkey from your sandwich or Thanksgiving dinner. What about some turkey on a sandwich?
In general, turkey is safe and nutritious for dogs, but there are some restrictions.
Read on to learn about the potential benefits and dangers of feeding your dog turkey, whether in the form of a turkey leg, turkey breast meat, turkey jerky, or ground turkey.
Is Turkey Bad for Dogs?
When cooked and served properly, turkey is fine for canines. Treat your dog to this lean and healthy animal protein, which is a common component of dog food recipes.
On the other hand, we commonly add things like seasonings, preservatives, and other additives to turkey that aren’t good for them and can even be harmful.
These are the steps to take if you want to give your dog some turkey:
- Do not eat the fatty parts.
- Don’t forget to fully cook the meat!
- Be careful not to overcomplicate things by including unnecessary ingredients.
- Constantly take out the skeletons
Avoid the Fatty Parts of Turkey
Dogs’ high fat content makes it dangerous to feed them pieces of fat or skin. Stomach distress and other digestive problems may result from this. Puppy digestive systems are much more delicate than those of an adult dog.
In addition, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, and heart disease are all conditions that can develop in a dog who is fed fatty foods on a regular basis.
Serve Fully Cooked Turkey
Raw turkey can contain harmful bacteria, despite the fact that some people may think it’s fine to feed a turkey neck to a dog. Furthermore, it poses a choking risk. The turkey your dog eats must be thoroughly cooked before being given to him.
Skip the Seasonings and Added Ingredients
When it comes to dog treats, only fully cooked and unseasoned turkey is acceptable. Ingredients and seasonings added to dog food, such as garlic and onion, can be toxic and harmful to their health. Butter and salt both have their downsides.
Remove All Bones
There’s a risk of choking on any bones that are left inside. There would be a risk of suffocation or intestinal obstruction if this happened. When bones are cooked, they become even more brittle and dangerous than when they are raw.
In the event that your dog has swallowed a bone fragment, it is imperative that you seek veterinary attention without delay.
Does Turkey Make Dogs Sleepy?
The common belief that eating turkey will put anyone to sleep (including their canine companions) is a common urban legend. However, this is not the situation.
Although turkey contains a small amount of the nutrient tryptophan, which helps with sleep and mood, you couldn’t possibly eat enough turkey in a single sitting, let alone in a day, for it to affect your energy level. And your dog is no exception.
Is Turkey Good for Dogs?
Turkey is a good option for a dog’s occasional treat if it is properly cooked and prepared, and only a small amount is given.
Ensure it is thoroughly cooked, without any uncooked bits such as skin, bones, or fat. To name just a few of the nutrients found in turkey:
- Deficiency of Vitamin B6
- B12 Vitamin
Dark Meat vs. White Meat
Dark meat is more nutritious than white meat, but not by much. Turkey thighs and legs, known as the dark meat, contain a disproportionately high amount of fat and calories. Turkey breast white meat contains slightly more protein than dark meat.
Any part of the turkey that still has the skin on it is significantly less nutritious.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Lunch Meat or Smoked Turkey?
Two words: no. The sodium and other seasonings in turkey lunch meat are a known gastrointestinal irritant.
Smoked turkey is the same way. In general, smoked meats have a high sodium content and may also be seasoned with chemicals that are harmful to dogs.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Turkey?
Dogs, like people, can develop food allergies. But it usually takes time for an intolerance to develop after a person repeatedly consumes the offending food.
Most dogs won’t have any reactions to eating turkey because turkey allergies in canines are extremely uncommon. Turkey allergy symptoms to watch out for include:
- A skin itch
- Chewing on paws
- A skin rash
- Irritability and/or nausea and vomiting
If your pet has food allergies, you should talk to your vet about what to do next.
Can Dogs Have Turkey Bacon or Turkey Sausage?
Turkey sausage and bacon are not appropriate for canines to eat. Most of these dog foods have ingredients that could be harmful to your dog, such as high levels of sodium, preservatives, and other additives. Garlic and onion are among the many human foods that can be harmful to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Burgers?
Indeed, turkey burgers are the same. Sodium, preservatives, and other unhealthy and possibly toxic ingredients are added to these, so you shouldn’t give them to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Jerky?
Turkey jerky is not safe for canines for the same reasons that humans shouldn’t feed it to them. The high sodium content of jerky, along with the other preservatives and ingredients it probably contains, makes it unfit for canine consumption. There is also the risk of suffocation.
How Much Turkey Can Dogs Eat?
If your dog already has health issues, like obesity, diabetes, or another condition, consult your vet before giving them any new foods or treats.
Refer to the following as a general rule of thumb for giving your dog small amounts of fully cooked, white turkey meat, sans skin and bones.
Treats, even healthy ones, shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of a dog’s daily calorie intake; the rest should come from a high-quality dog food.
To clarify, each “piece” below is a cube of turkey measuring 1 inch on a side.
- Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, and Shih Tzus fall into the category of “extra-small dog,” which means they get half a piece of turkey.
- Basenjis, Beagles, and Miniature Australian Shepherds are examples of small dogs that weigh between 21 and 30 pounds, so they would benefit from eating two to four turkey pieces per day.
- A medium-sized dog (between 31 and 50 pounds) merits three to four turkey breasts (e.g., a Basset Hound, Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, or Siberian Husky).
- Dogs of the Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, Saint Bernard, and Great Pyrenees sizes require five to six turkey pieces per day.
- Dogs that weigh more than 91 pounds typically get a handful of turkey pieces as a reward. This includes breeds like the Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, St. Bernard, and Great Pyrenees.
Talk to your vet if you think your dog has eaten too much turkey. When consumed in excess, turkey can lead to serious health issues like pancreatitis. Keep an eye out for these pancreatitis warning signs:
- Disturbance of eating habits
- Stomach ache
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Turkey
Small, frequent meals are the best way to introduce turkey to your dog. It’s great as a reward for your dog or as a tasty addition to their regular meal. Observe the following rules of thumb, though:
- Stick to the white meat only diet
- No skin
- No bones
- Finished cooking
- There are no additives of any kind.
- In other words, no turkey-based products such as lunch meat, jerky, smoked turkey, turkey burgers, turkey sausage, or turkey bacon.
4 ways to make sure your dog is enjoying turkey safely
1. Only feed plain turkey
A healthy and tasty option for your dog’s snack is plain turkey. When preparing turkey for the holidays or other special occasions, it is rarely prepared in its natural, unseasoned state.
Your dog’s sensitive stomach won’t thank you for adding butter, oil, sauces, or seasonings. Your dog may be poisoned by onions, shallots, and other allium vegetables.
If you want to feed your dog some turkey, make sure it’s plain or set aside a plain piece from the rest.
2. Avoid gravy and stuffing
While this may seem unnecessary given that we instructed you to feed only plain turkey, it is important to stress.
Don’t feed your dog any part of the turkey, including the skin. And not just as a holiday bonus. To put it simply, gravy is a fat and butter slurping mess. As a result, the turkey tastes better to us, but it may make your dog sick.
Pancreatitis is brought on by excessive fat consumption and can be fatal for your dog. You should also keep the stuffing to yourself. Dogs shouldn’t eat things like bread, sausage, garlic, or onions. Don’t give in to your dog’s begging at the dinner table.
You can prevent your dog from feeling left out by feeding it some plain turkey, a wet or fresh dog food that includes turkey, or stuffing a kong with some dog-friendly snacks.
Vegetables like mashed potato (plain potatoes, not the kind you eat that are loaded with sour cream and butter) or sweet potato are fine for dogs to eat if you want to add some flavor to plain turkey.
Mix plain turkey with unsweetened dried cranberries and roasted or mashed sweet potato or butternut squash for a special holiday meal for your pup. A few plain green beans could be added as well if your dog enjoys eating them.
Note that these are NOT cooked turkey bones despite the fact that dogs are often seen chewing or burying bones. Do not ever give your dog a bone from a cooked turkey.
Broken teeth, internal injuries, and blockages are all possible outcomes of your pet gnawing on one of these bones. You don’t want your dog to need emergency surgery right after a party.
Keep an eye on your dogs and make sure you take out the trash after you’re done with the bones. Bone broth can be made from leftover turkey carcasses if you so choose.
4. Don’t feed turkey skin
One last thing to avoid giving your dog is the skin from a turkey. Overfeeding your dog turkey skin can lead to gastrointestinal distress and even pancreatitis.
Keep the skin away from your dog, just as you would the bones, and dispose of them properly to prevent your dog from being tempted to trash pick or counter surf.