Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

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Thanksgiving is around the corner! Which means sharing time with family, friends, and dogs, who, well, are often found begging under the table for scraps. ​If you're a sucker like most of us and give in to that drooling mouth and those sad eyes, then you'll definitely need to know what's safe for your dog to eat!


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Wondering if turkey is okay for your dog to nosh on? The answer is a bit complex. When it comes to the turkey you're probably serving up for dinner, the answer is no. ​Turkey with all the trimmings is not safe for your dog to eat.​ But if you serve turkey in a friendly way, you can definitely give your pup a bite or two.


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Why can turkey be toxic?

Turkey, itself, is not toxic for dogs.​ Turkey is rich in nutrients like protein and riboflavin. ​However, Thanksgiving turkeys can be harmful to dogs because w​​e usually coat our birds with butter, dressings, and many herbs and spices.​ While this is the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving, it could really upset your dog's stomach and worse, lead to pancreatitis.


Turkey bones are also a no-go.​ Cooked bones are small and brittle. This makes them very dangerous for dogs, according to Dr. Marty Becker DVM. ​Eating turkey bones can cause mouth injuries, blockages in the throat and intestines, choking hazards, piercing of the intestines from shards, and blockages so severe that surgery may be needed.


There are many alternatives to turkey bones, such as rubber chew toys that can even be flavored to taste like turkey. Giving your pup the real deal as a holiday treat hold too much of a risk for your beloved pet.

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How to safely feed your dog turkey.

  1. Remove all skin. Rid the meat of the fat and seasoning that can irritate your dog's stomach.
  2. Make sure it's turkey meat and nothing else.
  3. Remove all bones.
  4. Serve in small amounts.
  5. Make sure the turkey is completely cooked.


What to do if your dog eats turkey.

If your dog got a hold of some seasoned, trimmed turkey, there is a risk for pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening. ​If your dog shows any of the following symptoms (especially multiple at the same time) seek veterinary services immediately:


  • Hunched back
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Pain or distention of the abdomen (dog appears uncomfortable or bloated)
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Fever


Dogs can eat turkey, as long as you follow the recommended guidelines and watch for signs of discomfort. However, feeding your pet too many table scraps can lead to obesity.

Always consult your veterinarian if you have serious concerns about your pet's diet.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.



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