Is Turkey Safe for Dogs?

It’s tempting to give your dog a bite or two of turkey. After all, it’s an important part of their diet, and it’s hard to resist when they give you the “puppy eyes.” At Heart + Paw, we know how much you love your pet. And we also know how important it is to exercise caution when it comes to feeding them foods outside their regular diet. Turkey meat absolutely can be safe to give to your dog, but there are some things to consider before handing it out. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the health benefits of turkey for dogs, the risks, and how to safely prepare turkey meat for your pet’s consumption. 

If you want to know more about feeding your pet or would like to schedule an appointment, find your nearest Heart + Paw hospital and get in touch!

dog eating turkey

What Nutritional Value Does Turkey Have for Dogs?

Turkey is not just a holiday favorite for humans; it can also be a highly nutritious addition to your dog’s diet. Turkey is rich in protein, which helps with muscle development and gives your pet energy. It’s also a good source of riboflavin and phosphorus, which are essential for your dog’s health. But it’s important to know the right way to include turkey in your dog’s meals.

The Potential Risks of Turkey

While turkey offers many benefits, there are also risks to consider. Cooked bones and skin can be hazardous to dogs. Bones may cause damage to the teeth, choking, or harm your dog’s digestive tract, and turkey skin is often rich in fats that can lead to pancreatitis. Also, be mindful of any seasonings used on the turkey, as some spices and ingredients like onion and garlic are very toxic to dogs.

Safe Ways to Include Turkey in Your Dog’s Diet

To safely include turkey in your dog’s diet, always opt for plain, cooked turkey meat. Make sure it hasn’t been made with any added spices, onions, or garlic. It’s best to serve the turkey as just a small portion of your dog’s meal or as an occasional treat. Also, remember to remove all the bones before serving.

Portion Control and Frequency

Moderation is always key when adding turkey to your dog’s diet. It should not replace their regular dog food, but it can still be a healthy supplement. Keep turkey portions small and infrequent to avoid digestive issues and maintain a balanced diet.

When to Avoid Turkey for Your Dog

While turkey can be a great treat for many dogs, some pups may not be able to enjoy it safely and should stick to their veterinarian-recommended diet. 

Dogs with Dietary Restrictions

Some dogs might be allergic to turkey or have specific dietary needs. If your dog has a history of food allergies or sensitivities, it’s best to consult your veterinarian before introducing turkey into their diet. If you’re unsure, do not feed the turkey to your pet and stick to their regular food and treats. 

Signs of a Food Allergy or Intolerance

If you notice any signs of allergic reactions or digestive issues after feeding turkey to your dog, such as itching, swelling, or an upset stomach (vomiting/diarrhea), contact your vet immediately. These could be signs of a food intolerance or allergy.

Learn More About Turkey and Your Dog’s Diet

We hope this brief guide has helped you better understand the role of turkey in your dog’s diet. Turkey can be a healthy, tasty treat for your dog when it’s prepared and served correctly. Remember to use plain, cooked turkey and introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet. Watch out for any signs of allergies or digestive troubles. 

For more tailored advice and to address any concerns about your dog’s diet, the team at Heart + Paw is here to help! Feel free to make an appointment or contact your preferred Heart + Paw hospital for more information about your dog’s nutritional needs. 

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About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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