Are you enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey and wondering if you can share some with your best friend? If that friend happens to be a four-legged furry companion, you may wish to think twice before you feed your dog turkey. The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat turkey?” is sometimes and under certain circumstances.
Raw turkey and completely plainly cooked turkey are the best kind of turkey meat to feed your dog. This is because raw turkey is not filled up with additives and preservatives, such as oils, salts, and other common cooking additions. These extra ingredients in our turkey meat may be harmless to us but could be toxic to dogs. Feeding your dog this type of fowl could lead to many unpleasant health issues.
A dog’s stomach is simply different than a human being’s. It’s better to give your dog their normal course of the best dog food than to risk giving them issues that could impair their vitality. As noted above, if you feel the urge to give them a special treat of this type, it’s better to make it raw or plainly cooked, rather than cooked as we would normally enjoy it as humans.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Breast?
Dogs can eat turkey under certain circumstances. These will usually involve raw turkey that has not been treated with preservatives for human consumption. If you do decide to feed turkey breast to your dog, make sure it’s boneless. This is because the breast you give them will most likely be bought from a store and will contain cooked bones.
As a result, if bones are included with the breast, they are bound to be much more brittle and likely to splinter than raw bones. Your best bet is to take the bones out of the breast, throw them away, and then grind up the breast itself. This way, you can give your dog a yummy turkey treat with no worries about any issues with their health.
There is also the fact that a cooked turkey breast may be filled with preservatives that can give your dog serious problems. For this reason, it’s probably best to avoid giving them any kind of cooked and processed turkey meat. Raw turkey, such as the neck, liver, kidney, heart, and other “gizzards” is your best bet for a dog treat, and of course you can always cook them plainly (for example, by boiling)—and it’s best if you remove the skin (1).
What Parts of a Turkey Can a Dog Eat?
If you want to add the occasional bit of turkey to your dog’s diet, it should normally be raw or plainly cooked. Under these circumstances, the ground turkey should be fine. Cooked turkey prepared as humans would eat it should not be offered to them. But your dog will enjoy devouring a bit of turkey skin. In fact, dogs love giblets, such as the liver, gizzard, kidneys, and heart.
Raw turkey bones are a treat that dogs love. The rawer the better. However, it’s important to make sure that you do not wait too long to give them this treat. If the bones or other parts of the turkey are left out too long, they could give your dog salmonella. This is an infection that dogs can, unfortunately, pass on to humans.
It’s always best to give them raw turkey bones as opposed to cooked bones. This is because raw bones will last much longer. They are tougher and more satisfying for your dog to chew. Cooked bones may contain preservatives that are harmful to a dog’s digestive system. They are also prone to splinter more easily, leading to cuts.
Cooked turkey bought from a store is usually full of many preservatives, additives, and fillers that could cause problems with your dog’s digestion. It can also cause pancreatitis and other issues. If you are unsure whether your dog is healthy enough to handle the turkey, your best bet will probably be to simply give them another kind of treat.
Is It Better To Feed Your Dog Chicken or Turkey?
Some pet health experts believe that chicken is much better for dogs than turkey. They base this belief on a number of pillars. First and foremost is the fact that turkey seems to contain a lesser number of known allergens than chicken. However, it should be kept in mind that this is based on raw turkey as opposed to chicken, cooked or raw.
You should also note that, as your dog gets on in years, they will need higher levels of protein and fat in their diets. Turkey is richer in these materials than chicken. On the other hand, younger dogs need to watch their intake of protein and fat so as not to become overweight. For puppies, chicken meat is most likely preferable.
It should also be kept in mind that chicken bones, whether raw or cooked, tend to be thinner and more brittle than turkey bones. This means that your dog can probably chew through them much faster. This may lead to splintering that can cause cuts and tears in your dog’s mouth. Raw turkey bones are much less likely to cause these issues.
Why Does Some Dog Food Contain Turkey?
You may have noticed that some of the best dog foods do contain turkey meat in some of the recipes. This is due to the fact that the turkey these mixes use is not processed in the same way that food for humans tends to be. The turkey that is contained in dog food mixes comes with additives, fillers, or preservatives.
It should also be noted that the turkey bits that are found in some dog food mixes will be from very different parts of the bird than humans are used to devouring. You won’t find much of the breast, leg, or wing here. You will find other, less desirable – from a human standpoint – ingredients such as kidneys, hearts, gizzards, and necks.
Turkey that has been cooked once, such as your holiday meal, is also much more likely to go bad than turkey that is raw. This could lead to your dog developing issues such as salmonella. Besides the fact that this could lead to a very sick pet, there is also the fact that such a condition in a dog can also be passed to the humans around them.
Is Turkey Better for Younger or Older Dogs?
In most cases, a turkey will be better for older than younger dogs. This is not to say that you can’t add little bits of ground-up turkey to puppy food for young dogs. But, in general, turkey is much higher in protein, fat, and calories than comparable meats such as chicken or beef. Younger dogs need less of these things than an older dog.
This is due to the fact that, with a puppy or younger dog, you want to watch how many calories they take in. You don’t want them to develop health issues from becoming obese. Older dogs tend to need a few more calories in the shape of proteins and fats. As a result, they are much more likely to benefit from a bit of raw ground turkey. The best senior dog foods are tailored to meet these nutritional requirements.
This doesn’t mean that you should not monitor the weight of an older dog. No dog should be fed too much fat or protein. It just means that an older dog needs more of these nutrients to keep their energy level close to when they were a young pup.
Why Would Cooked Turkey Be Unsafe for Dogs?
In general, raw turkey is best for your dog. This is because the turkey that you buy from a store will be meant for a much different physique—the human. People can withstand higher levels of additives and preservatives than dogs can. A dog’s stomach is much more suited to raw, unprocessed food and may reject anything that is too synthetic.
This means that being a carnivore by nature, your dog will much rather prefer to be fed raw, unprocessed turkey. They will happily devour bits of ground-up turkey neck, heart, liver, and other “gizzard” parts that humans will normally tend to pass on. Giving them raw turkey prevents digestive issues and problems like pancreatitis.
Cooked turkey that is filled with preservatives can also be a source of health issues such as pancreatitis. It can also lead to food poisoning that can be fatal to their system.
Are Chicken or Turkey Bones Better for Dogs?
You may be wondering if you can safely give your dog the bones from your chicken or turkey dinner. In most cases, it’s better to avoid giving in to this temptation. If your dog looks like it is craving a bone, it’s better to buy them one of the best dog bones online or from your local pet store. These bones are raw and not treated with chemical preservatives.
It’s also important to note that chicken bones are smaller, much more brittle, and likely to splinter than turkey bones. This means that your dog could more easily choke on a chicken than a turkey bone. They are also much more likely to splinter, causing damage to your dog’s mouth as well as their teeth and gums.