Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Written by: Kristina Lalovic
Turkey is considered a very healthy meat for us humans. It is rich in protein and low in fat which makes it a perfect meal for fit people. But is turkey safe to share for your dog? It indeed is, but under certain conditions. Let's discover which ones!

Turkey meat is often suggested to people that want to lose weight or stay fit. This meat is lower in fat than other types of meat and is a good source of protein. It is easy to make, it’s tasty and easy to digest.

Once a year in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving and to be honest, to most of us, stuffed turkey is the first thing that comes to our minds at mention of this beautiful holiday. We all love the taste of that delicious stuffed turkey, and no matter how much we eat, we always end up having too many leftovers. So you probably thought, could I share some with my dog?

Opinions about dogs eating turkey are different, but actually, the answer is quite simple. Let’s explore if turkey meat is safe for your dog and what can you share with him from all those Thanksgiving leftovers!

Can I Give Turkey To My Dog?

Turkey is safe and healthy for dogs. In fact, it is often included in many commercial dog foods because of being so rich in protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus.

If you pay attention, you will often see that dog dry food contains turkey meat.

So YES, you can feed your dog with turkey meat, BUT it must be fed with caution. Turkey can be healthy for dogs under certain conditions that we will now tell you more about.

Can A Dog Eat Sliced Turkey?

Although the meat itself of the sliced turkey isn’t toxic per se, unlike other processed meats that are bad for dogs, you still shouldn’t feed your dog with it. Why?

The reason stands in the chemicals used to keep processed meats edible which is poorly digested by dogs. Processed meat often contains salt too which can harm your dog’s digestion too. Therefore, feeding your dog with a sliced turkey is a slightly better idea than feeding him with ham, but we still wouldn’t recommend sharing it with your four-legged friend.

How Should I Serve Turkey To My Dog?

Feeding turkey to dogs is perfectly fine when done the right way. So when you cook turkey meat for your dog, be sure to follow these rules.

First, remove the skin as it contains a lot of fat and can also affect badly your dog’s pancreas. Then, turkey bones are bad for your dog too, as they become brittle when cooked and might break in a dog’s stomach and hurt him.

How Much Turkey Can I Give My Dog?

The amount of turkey meat that you would give to your dog depends on how you plan to serve it. If you want to replace a meal with turkey then about ¾ of his regular daily intake would be enough.

If you just want to give your dog a little treat, then do not share more than you can fit on the palm of your hand.

What Benefits Does Turkey Provide Your Dog With?

Similarly to chicken meat, turkey is a great aid for building your dog’s muscles. It will preserve his muscle mass naturally.

Also, this lean, white meat is low in calories and contains easily digestible proteins. Thanks to these properties turkey is a great meat for weight loss. It also helps to balance out excessive appetite.

Riboflavin found in turkey will help in producing energy in cells and prevent bladder stone formation.

One study also showed that turkey is one of the least to be contaminated meats for dogs to consume in the United States.

Is Chicken Or Turkey Better For Your Dog?

Both chicken and turkey are considered to be lean, rich-in-protein meats that are commonly used in dog food. But is any of the two better for your dog? What compounds and nutritional values should you be looking for when deciding what to feed your dog with?

When it comes to the amount of protein found in meat, chicken breast contains slightly more protein than turkey breast. On the other hand, turkey thigh protein count is slightly higher than the chicken thigh. Other meat cuts have equal levels of protein.

Both of the protein found in these poultry meats are easily digestible for canines, unless your dog has food allergies. Speaking of allergies, it’s more likely that your dog will find turkey meat as a more acceptable alternative.

But which of these two is healthier?

Namely, chicken meat is the most widely eaten meat in the world. In order to meet the population’s need for this meat, chickens have been intensively farmed by the commercial chicken industry. Their methods in order to produce as much chicken meat as possible result in poor-quality meat because of the way these chicken are raised and housed. They are locked in cages for their entire lives, and some even don’t ever see the sunlight. For all this reasons, chicken meat is losing its nutritional values and is therefore not considered as the healthiest meat out there.

On the other hand, turkey meat is becoming more and more popular because of its similar properties to chicken (lean meat, high in protein, even lower levels of fat). But, it’s the way turkeys are farmed that makes all the difference and makes turkey a healthier meat than chicken.

So, if you don’t have a wild grown chicken that has been raised in more natural conditions, then turkey is definitely a healthier option either for you or for your dog.

What Can You Share With Your Dog From Your Thanksgiving’s Menu?

Thanksgiving dinner is an occasion everybody’s looking forward to, your dog included. While we wine and dine with our close ones, our puppies whine for some food that we’re eating. While those puppy eyes might get you too easily into sharing just anything you find in your plate with him, it would be better if you know what is safe to share.

So, check out this infographic and discover what your dog can eat from your Thanksgiving’s menu!

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1. Turkey

Can you share turkey with your dog? YES!

Turkey is a great source of protein for your pet too. It is safe to share it with your dog, as long as you remove the skin and fat. Also, make sure the meat is completely unseasoned and always choose white meat. Have turkey leftover? Your dog will be surely happy about it!

2. Turkey Bones

Can you share turkey bones with your dog? NO!

While white turkey meat is a real treat for your pup, turkey bones are a definite no-no. Cooked bones can crack easily which can lead to irritating your dog’s digestive tract. Sorry to say it, but turkey bones will have to go to trash!

3. Pumpkin Pie

Can you share pumpkin pie with your dog? NO!

Pumpkins are considered a superfood in dog’s nutrition. But, feeding pumpkin pie to your dog is not advisable. All pies, in general, contain too much sugar in order to be added to a dog’s diet. So, do not feed your dog with pumpkin pie leftovers. Cook some plain pumpkin for him instead!

4. Mashed Potatoes

Can you share mashed potatoes with your dog? MAYBE!

Potatoes are safe for dogs to eat, but if you make mashed potatoes with butter and milk, feeding your dog with this dish might not be a good idea. It could lead to diarrhea and an upset tummy. Got plain, cooked potatoes? Feel free to share them with your dog.

5. Stuffing

Can you share stuffing with your dog? NO!

Stuffing is made with onions and garlic are considered very toxic for dogs. They contain an ingredient called thiosulphate that is toxic to canines. So, even if it might seem super delicious to your dog while you’re eating that delicious stuffing, do not ever feed it to your dog!

6. Cranberry Sauce

Can you share cranberry sauce with your dog? MAYBE!

Cranberries are very healthy for all dogs. So everything made from these powerful berries that doesn’t contain sugar is considered safe to share with your dog. Depending on the amount of sugar found in the cranberry sauce your dog can taste it or not. No sugar? Let your dog taste the yummy sauce!

7. Sweet Potatoes

Can you share sweet potatoes with your dog? YES!

Sweet potatoes alone are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and beta-carotene. Your dog can benefit from them in multiple ways if they are served without seasoning or sugar. Have a healthily cooked sweet potato for Thanksgiving? You’re about to make your dog really happy!

8. Gravy

Can you share gravy with your dog? NO!

Gravy might contain a variety of harmful ingredients for dogs. It is usually made of onions and various spices that your dog should avoid as they might upset their stomachs. So, unfortunately, it is not wise to share the Thanksgiving famous gravy with your dog.

9. Green Beans

Can you share green beans with your dog? MAYBE!

Serving plain green beans to your dog is completely safe and even healthy! Adding fresh, green veggies to your dog’s diet is always a great idea. But, if you included them in the green bean casserole that might have not-so-suitable ingredients for dogs, your dog’s tummy won’t enjoy it.

10. Grapes

Can you share grapes with your dog? NO!

No, no, no. When it comes to grapes, better skip it! Grapes and raisins are toxic to your dog. They lead to poisoning and can cause kidney issues. Ouch! You don’t want your dog vomiting, right? Say bye-bye to grapes, our lovely dogs!