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Can Dogs Eat Turkey? What You Need To Know!

Thanksgiving has arrived, and everyone has assembled at your house for the festive feast. After the meal, you consider sharing some of the leftovers with your closest buddy. 

The simple answer is that turkey can be healthy for your dog if it's served properly, but it's generally best to avoid it if you've cooked it with potentially harmful components.

Your dog is not always prohibited from eating turkey. It's simply that there are a few things you should be aware of before serving your dog. You may be able to feed it to your dog, but only after taking a few factors into account.

Continue reading "Can Dogs Eat Turkey?" for further information from BestForPets (bestforpets.org)!

Dietary Value of Turkey

Turkey is a popular low-fat alternative to chicken and beef. A serving of 100 grams of white turkey meat has 50 percent less fat than a serving of 100 grams of white chicken meat.

Turkey is a fantastic source of protein for adult dogs, exceeding the required daily intake. Turkey has no carbohydrates or sugars. It is abundant in magnesium, potassium, and other essential elements.

This information strongly suggests that you feed your dog this food. However, we are discussing turkey breast without any fancy rubs, seasonings, or sauces. In addition, it lacks skin.

Please be aware that a 100-gram serving of ground turkey includes more than 10 grams of fat.

According to the nutritional profile published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, this is close to the recommended 13.8 grams of fat for dogs.

A high-fat diet is a significant risk factor for obesity and pancreatitis in pets. Even a single meal is sufficient to induce an acute episode of this significant health problem. Examples of symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal discomfort

Pancreatitis might develop chronic if recurrent bouts occur in your pet. While the majority of animals recover, some do not, making this illness potentially fatal if left untreated.

The Unsavory Facet of Turkey

There may be additional components in a turkey meal. Onion and garlic are among the most significant warning signs. They may elicit pancreatitis-like symptoms and pose comparable health hazards. The takeaway lesson is that you should only feed your pet simple, skinless white meat.

Salmonella poses an additional health danger. These bacteria may cause a range of symptoms in people and their pets. This bacterial disease may be caused by undercooked turkey or leftovers left out too long at room temperature. It is a zoonotic illness, meaning your dog may transfer it to you and other household members.

This is one reason why we recommend you to retrieve your pet’s canned food within 30 minutes. The longer food remains in the danger zone of 40°F-140°F, the higher the risk of salmonella contamination. Obviously, feeding your dog raw food is just as dangerous. The CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association warn against feeding certain items to pets.

Allergies and Intolerance to Food

We must also discuss variables that might impact the safety of the food you provide your dog. Your pet is more likely to have an allergy to an airborne allergen, such as dust, than a food allergy.

Labrador Retrievers and West Highland Terriers, for example, are more prone to suffer food allergies than other breeds.

Common allergies consist of:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Wheat
  • Pork
  • Corn
  • Soy

When your dog consumes a trigger meal, their immune system reacts inappropriately. Typical symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Extreme licking
  • Otitis media
  • Anaphylactic shock in extreme situations

Turkey is not on this list since it is not the same as having an allergy to chicken. Reactions occur with certain chemicals. Despite their apparent similarity, the two species are extremely distinct.

However, allergies may occur even if a pet has consumed the same food for an extended period of time. Exposure is the foundation for their development.

Food Sensitivities

Food intolerance is one of the probable adverse reactions to turkey. This indicates that a certain meal does not agree with your dog.

Typical symptoms include gastrointestinal discomfort. Comparable human ailments include celiac disease. Frequently, allergy symptoms occur suddenly. Signs of intolerance may appear after your dog has begun to digest their food.


Turkey is an option to other meats since it is nutrient-dense and low in fat, unlike other foods.

Importantly, you should only feed your dog skinless and boneless white meat that has been cooked simply. Poaching or baking are effective procedures that will not increase the fat content of the food.

However, you should carefully consider if you want to provide this food to your dog. It might prevent your pet from receiving all the necessary nutrients.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes this article, “Can Dogs Eat Turkey?” has helped you take better care of your pet.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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