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A discerning dog owner might wonder if it's safe for dogs to eat turkey.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Meat?

Can dogs eat turkey? Whether you're getting ready for a winter holiday meal like Thanksgiving or just having a turkey sandwich on a typical day, you may find yourself wondering if it's safe for your dog to eat turkey meat. The answer is yes; it's okay for dogs to eat turkey prepared with no seasonings or spices and without the skin. Turkey bones, however, are another matter.

A discerning dog owner might wonder if it's safe for dogs to eat turkey.

Plain Turkey Is Safe for Your Dog

Turkey is quite nutritious for dogs. It has essential nutrients like protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus.1 But to be safe for your dog to eat, it must be cooked plainly.

Many household foods can be toxic or harmful to dogs, such as onions, leeks, garlic, raisins, dairy products, certain nuts, bacon, and even too much salt. These ingredients are often used when preparing turkey. And if it's for a holiday meal, you might find these in the stuffing too. That's why a holiday-cooked turkey usually isn't appropriate for your dog, but bites of plainly prepared turkey are okay. You also want to avoid giving your dog turkey skin, which is unhealthy for her because of the seasonings and the high-fat content. If you have any concerns, talk with your veterinarian.

Turkey Is Often an Ingredient in Dog Food

Even if you don't want to go through the trouble of preparing plain turkey, you might still want your dog to enjoy turkey while you're eating it. Consider getting dog food with turkey as a main ingredient. Then you can both enjoy turkey together.

Don't Give Your Dog Turkey Bones

Although plain turkey meat without the skin is safe, you should not give your dog turkey bones.2 Take care to make sure any turkey bites you feed your dog are small enough to ensure they don't have bones in them. Meat bones can splinter and puncture your dog's intestines, cause a blockage in his stomach, or even lead to choking. They can also cause tongue or mouth injuries. It's best to avoid meat bones altogether.

Instead, get bones that are designed especially for dogs, like a long-lasting Turkey Leg Power Chew that's durable and helps with dental health. Or try Turkey Dog Chew Treats that are long-lasting and digestible. Either can be a great alternative to turkey bones.

Even if your dog is jealous of the food you're eating, it's important to put your dog's health first rather than giving in to those cute, begging eyes. Just remember that plain turkey is okay, but turkey skin and bones are not. You can also distract your dog from your tempting food with a plush dog bed or reward him for being patient by going for a bike ride or exercising together after your meal.

1. Burke, Anna. "Can Dogs Eat Turkey?" AKC, 18 November 2016, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-turkey/.

2. Becker, Marty. "Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones? A Vet Weighs In." VetStreet, 14 November 2014, http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/can-dogs-eat-turkey-bones-a-vet-weighs-in.

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