Can Dogs Eat Turkey? How safe is it?

Can Dogs Eat Turkey - Anydoggie

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This question usually comes up around Thanksgiving. We enjoy time with families and savor a great dinner of roasted turkey with all the mouth-watering sides. My favorite is the turkey, which I find so delicious. I love it. However, how is it with our dogs? Can dogs eat turkey? Is it safe for my Jo? Let’s find out:

Dogs can’t eat Thanksgiving turkey because it’s full of salt, spices, and other ingredients that may be harmful to your dog. Dogs can eat turkey only if it’s cooked without salt, spices, and other ingredients. The best is if you give your dog turkey breast without skin because it has the least amount of fats, and there are no bones. The dogs can’t eat turkey bones, because they can seriously harm them, so avoid giving your dog turkey legs and other parts with bones. 

To learn if the turkey is good for dogs, why some dogs are allergic to turkey and how you should feed turkey to your dog, keep reading:


Is Turkey Good For Dogs?

In short, yes, turkey is great for dogs. Many dog food companies use turkey as the meat ingredient in their products. 

Turkey meat is highly nutritious and a great source of protein for both humans and dogs. It packs a lot of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B3, B6, B12, selenium, zinc, phosphorous, and magnesium. If possible, you should always buy meat from free-range turkeys. You and your dog will then have the full benefit of the nutrients mentioned above. 

From the health perspective, the best meat comes from turkey breasts, followed by turkey legs and turkey skin, which you and your dog shouldn’t eat at all. 

Turkey breast is the best meat cut, because it’s lean, with a small amount of fat and the highest portion of protein. You will be able to get skinless turkey breasts in your local grocery store.

How Should You Feed Turkey to Your Dog?

You should feed your dog with a well-cooked skinless turkey breast without the addition of salt, spices, and other ingredients:

Turkey breasts are much bigger than chicken breast. That’s why we recommend that you cut them into smaller pieces. You can then cook them with a little bit of water in a closed pan or a pot. Depending on quantity, they will be ready in approximately 10 – 20 minutes.

Then you should cut the breast into small pieces that you can give your dog as a main meal or as treats and rewards during the training. This is particularly important if you have a small dog so she can chew the meat properly. 

What is more, if stored well in the fridge or freezer, the cooked turkey breast can last for quite some time. To save yourself time, you can cook turkey breast in one big batch. 

Turkey PartsIs it Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Turkey Breast✓ Yes – turkey breast is the best meat for dogs to eat
Turkey Bones✖ No – the bones can damage your dog’s digestive tract
Turkey Giblets✓ Yes – dogs can eat turkey giblets except for the necks (because of the bones)
Turkey Lunch Meat✖ No – turkey lunch meat contains too many artificial additives and salt
Turkey Cold Cuts✖ No – turkey cold cuts contain too many artificial additives and salt
Turkey Ham✖ No – turkey ham contains too many artificial additives and salt

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Breast?

Yes, dogs can eat skinless turkey breast:

When compared to turkey legs, skin and giblets, turkey breast is the best meat for dogs to eat. It’s lean, contains the most protein and the least amount of fat.

Compared to turkey breast, turkey legs have much more fat and are quite hard to chew, even after cooking.

When it comes to turkey skin, you and your dog should avoid it at all. It’s full of fat and empty calories. If unchecked, your dog can develop pancreatitis from too much fat in food.  

Can Dogs Eat Bones of Turkey?

No, dogs can’t eat turkey bones:

While cooking, the bones become hard and splintery. Dogs can easily chew through turkey bones that shatter into small and sharp parts that are extremely dangerous to your dog. They can harm not only the dog’s mouth and tongue but also the digestive tract. 

Don’t give your dog any turkey legs, necks, spine, and ribs. 

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Giblets?

Yes, dogs can eat turkey giblets, such as the heart, kidneys, liver, and gizzard. However, they shouldn’t eat turkey necks. They are full of tiny bones that can harm your dog’s mouth and digestive tract. 

Make sure to cook the giblets before giving them to your dog. The best way is to cook them in water, without salt, spices and other ingredients. They are usually done in 10 – 15 minutes. You can also store them in the fridge as treats and training rewards. 

Can Dogs Eat Lunchmeat made from Turkey?

Can Dogs Eat Lunch Meat - Anydoggie

No, dogs can’t eat turkey lunchmeat. And that’s even though the lunchmeat is usually made from turkey breasts, which are otherwise great for your dog:

The problem is that the lunchmeat is highly processed meat, and it has too many nitrates, nitrites, and salt

Salt, in large amounts, can be toxic to dogs and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and obesity. Nitrite is a preservative that makes the lunchmeat and hams look pink and fresh. Too much nitrite and salt can harm you and also your dog, and that’s why your pup shouldn’t eat turkey lunchmeat. 

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Cold Cuts?

No, dogs can’t eat turkey cold cuts. Cold cuts, also known as lunch meat, luncheon meat, sliced meat, deli meat, are not good for your dog. 

Although they are made from turkey breast, which is otherwise the best turkey meat for dogs, they are highly processed and have too many nitrates, nitrites, and salt. They all can harm your pup, and that’s why your dog shouldn’t eat turkey cold cuts.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Ham?

No, dogs can’t eat turkey ham: 

Same as with turkey lunch meat and cold cuts, it’s full of salt, nitrates, and nitrites, which can harm your dog. What is more, processed meats like hams have a higher amount of fats, which is also harmful to your dog. 

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Turkey?

When it comes to allergies, our pets may suffer from; you should have your pup tested. Allergies can be inherited from parents or developed if your dog overeats of the same food.

There have been some cases of dogs being allergic to turkey, but those are very rare. Did you know that when we think our pets have a food allergy, it may be a food sensitivity? Regardless, it can manifest itself in different ways such as scratching, hair loss, skin rashes, and if untreated, with more severe symptoms, too. It can be quite irritating and painful for your pup.

When you introduce turkey meat to your pup’s diet, do it in small quantities and check if your pup doesn’t develop any side effects. If everything is all right, and your pup loves turkey, by all means, let her have it. If, however, you notice anything unusual, consult your veterinarian about the next steps.


When I was doing this research, Jo, my fluffy-puff Welsh Corgi mix, was happily assisting. I think she could somehow recognize the turkey on the screen, because she was all excited, wagging her tail.

I will remember the next time, when she assists us during Thanksgiving, that I shouldn’t give her any turkey. I will only cook skinless turkey breast without any salt and ingredients. Jo, you will be one heckuva healthy dog!

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