Can my dog eat turkey?

Yes and no. When cooked properly, turkey can be a very healthy part of a dog’s regular diet as a great source of protein, riboflavin, phosphorus, and other nutrients. However, it is important to know what properly means.

Traditional Thanksgiving turkey – and the vast amount of leftovers that it creates – is often cooked using a number of spices that are bad for dogs (garlic, salt, onions, onion salt, etc.). Consequently, giving your dog leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner is likely a bad idea.

However, turkey that is cooked without spices can be a very good source nutrients. In fact, most mass-produced dog foods contain turkey.


Whether you’re feeding your dog turkey, chicken, beef, pork, lamb or any other meat, removing any visible fat is important for two reasons. Natural fat can lead to pancreatitis, so reducing the amount ingested by your dog will reduce chances of developing the disease. Additionally, even lean meat contains natural fat that can lead to an upset stomach that often results in diarrhea or vomiting. It is important to remember that dogs (even large breeds that weigh more than 100 pounds) have very small digestive tracts and small amounts of fat can have big impacts (hello, lots of diarrhea!).

A dog unaccustomed to eating turkey will have similar physical effects that humans experience after eating unusual protein meats (for example: emu or venison). Even trimmed of obvious fat, turkey can upset the stomach so it’s important to fed them chicken in moderation until your dog is used to it.


Never, ever serve your dog raw turkey. Even though raw food diets have become popular in recent years, raw meat is limited only to red meat. Turkey should never be served raw as it is the meat most likely to lead to salmonella contamination.


American Kennel Club


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