Can My Dog Eat Turkey & Is it Safe?

dog with chicken leg in mouth

Meat is actually part of a dog’s natural diet, but there are a lot of things you need to know before giving your dog some of this food. 

Turkey, in particular, can be beneficial to dogs, and most of them absolutely love the taste of it.

Is Turkey Dangerous for Dogs?

Turkey is not considered to be toxic or inherently dangerous for dogs to ingest. In fact, it is one of the better meats to give you do because it is so lean. This meat doesn’t have a lot of fat, so you can give it to your pooch more often than other kinds.

Nutritional Benefits of Turkey for Dogs

This meat contains a lot of protein, which your dog needs plenty of to stay truly healthy. It also contains a good amount of phosphorus and riboflavin, which are both beneficial to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.

1. Dental Benefits

There are also significant dental benefits associated with giving your dog the occasional turkey neck. A lot of dogs develop dental disease, which can have a hugely negative impact on their health over the long term. This meat can help with removing tartar and plaque, which is always a good thing.

cute dog eats chicken

2. Healthy Joints

The glucosamine, as well as chondroitin in turkey, promote healthy joints, which can be especially beneficial to your dog if it has arthritis. Giving your dog this food could increase your dog’s mobility a little bit. This is especially true with a turkey neck, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. If you are looking for other healthy food for your dog, check out our review: The Best Dog Food.

Turkey can help your dog retain as much of its muscle mass as possible as it gets older. This will keep them strong and mobile, even in the face of arthritis and other conditions.

3. Improved Mental and Physical Health

The Selenium in turkey is great for your dog’s mental and physical health. It can even potentially reduce their chances of getting certain types of cancer. This essential mineral has also been shown to strengthen the immune system. The stronger your dog’s immune system is, the less likely they are to get sick.

Tips for Giving Your Dog Turkey

You’ll need to be aware of some things prior to giving your dog any turkey. These tips will help you satisfy your dog’s meat lust while keeping them healthy and safe.

1. Cook it Plain

If you are going to give your dog any turkey, it should be cooked plain. You don’t want to use any herbs or spices that could irritate your dog or cause them to have a negative reaction of some kind.

2. Monitor Your Dog’s Condition

It is a good idea to watch your dog carefully for the next few hours after you give them some turkey, especially if it is their first time having it. 

This will allow you to find out if they have any sort of negative reaction to the food. If you notice that your dog has diarrhea or persistent vomiting, you shouldn’t wait to take them to the vet.

bulldog sleeps in between foog 1

3. Make it a Special Treat

You should only give your dog turkey as a special treat instead of making it an every single day sort of thing. Stick with normal dog treats most of the time.

4. Take the Skin Off

If you get a turkey from the store that still has the skin on, you’ll want to take it off before giving it to your dog. The fact is that turkey skin contains a lot of fat, which is not good for them in even moderate quantities. If you are going to give them a treat like this, you should avoid foods with a lot of fat.

There are a lot of dangers to dogs that are on a high-fat diet, including pancreatitis and diabetes. Both of these conditions can significantly shorten your pet’s lifespan. It is always good to limit the amount of fat you give your dog, whether it is treats or their regular everyday food.

5. Never Give Your Dog Any Bones

Cooked turkey bones pose a significant threat to your dog’s wellbeing. These bones can fracture and splinter off in your dog’s mouth, causing serious injuries. Shards of bone can even cut up your dog’s stomach and intestines, which may lead to internal bleeding. 

It is, therefore, better to just not give your dog any of these bones at all. There is also a chance that your dog will choke on the bones.

6. Start Off With a Small Amount

There is always a small chance that your dog could have some sort of negative reaction to turkey, so you shouldn’t give them a lot the first time. Just put a small piece of turkey in your dog’s bowl with their normal food.

You should also keep a close eye on your dog after it eats the turkey. This way you will be able to see if they have some sort of negative reaction to this food. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and itching. If you notice these symptoms, you should them to an emergency vet clinic right away.


  • Turkey is not inherently toxic or dangerous food for dogs, but not all of these animals react to it the same way.
  • This meat offers lots of protein and is very lean, so there is not a lot of fat.
  • The amino acids and various essential minerals in turkey can help to boost your dog’s mental and physical health.
  • If you are going to give your dog any turkey, you should not give them any bones whatsoever.
  • Make sure that you take the skin off the turkey before feeding this meat to your dog.
  • This food should be as a special treat as opposed to an everyday thing.
  • If your dog has never had turkey before, just give them a small piece to start.
  • Keep a close watch on your dog and look for signs of a negative reaction, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • If you notice any signs of illness after your dog eats the turkey, you should get them to the vet right away.
Was this article helpful?