Can Dogs Eat Turkey: Pros And Cons

can dogs eat turkey

Frequently Asked Question About Dog Food:

Can dogs eat turkey?

Can dogs eat turkey bones?

Can dogs eat turkey bacon?

You are preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving, and suddenly the thought of your pooch comes to your mind, and you start wondering can dogs eat turkey or not? If something like that has happened to you, then this article is just for your as we will be answering the age-old questions of Can dogs eat turkey and can dogs eat turkey bones, to count a few. 

Weigh the pros and cons

Weigh the pros and cons

In order to decide whether something is good for your dog or not, you got to weigh the pros and cons of that particular thing. The same approach must be followed when we discuss feeding turkey meat to dogs as even turkey has lots of pros and cons associated with it. No need to worry as you don’t have to search the whole internet for the pros and cons of feeding turkey to dogs. We are here to provide you with all that information. Therefore, we think that this article will help you a lot in answering questions like Can dogs eat turkey?

Benefits of turkey for dogs 

Benefits of turkey for dogs 

First of all, we need to tackle something very important. Regardless of what you might have read somewhere on the internet, turkey meat is not toxic for dogs at all. In fact, turkey meat is a core ingredient of many dog foods out there, which shows that turkey is completely safe for dogs. Turkey is considered an excellent protein source for dogs and comes loaded with many other essential nutrients. Another major plus point of turkey meat is its low-fat content. Compared to other prominent meat sources, turkey tends to be remarkably low on fat, making it an ideal food for your four-legged best friend. Dogs require protein to maintain their bodies and health every day, added with the fact that dogs are carnivorous animals meaning that they can only get protein from meat sources, greatly increasing the importance of turkey meat for the well-being of dogs.

Are you not sold on the idea of feeding turkey to your dog yet? No worries, as we go a lot to talk about the health benefits of turkey meat. 

Excellent source of protein

As mentioned earlier, turkey meat is an exceptional source of protein for our canine friends. Protein is required by animal bodies to maintain bones, cartilage, tissues, skin, and blood. Protein is also classified as a macronutrient, meaning that dogs need to consume large amounts of protein daily for their well-being. Animal bodies are also unable to store protein which further increases the importance of consuming protein every day. 

Loaded with Nutrients

Turkey meat is also full of nutrients, most of which are essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are classified as nutrients that animal bodies cannot synthesize. This makes feeding your dog food containing those essential nutrients all the more important as, without such food products, dogs can start suffering from nutrient deficiency. Some of the essential nutrients found in turkey meat are as follows, along with their role in keeping our dogs healthy.

Niacin or Vitamin B3

As clear from its name, Vitamin B3 is a part of the Vitamin B complex and is considered among the essential vitamins present in the Vitamin B complex. Just like all the other members of the Vitamin B complex, Vitamin B3 is also a water-soluble vitamin which translates to the fact that it can’t be stored in the body for long periods and is used up immediately. This, added with the fact that Vitamin B3 is an essential vitamin, shows how important it is for dog owners to make sure that their canine’s diet is rich in Vitamin B3 as dogs can’t produce this vitamin on their own. Vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to several severe medical complications as Vitamin B3 is involved in many vital functions essential for the well-being of our lovely furry friends.

Vitamin B3 is directly required for the normal functioning of around 50 different enzymes. These enzymes are required in almost all the biochemical reactions taking place in your dog’s body, and therefore it’s crucial to have these enzymes working at their optimal level. Niacin is an essential part of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate. These two enzymes are utilized to transfer hydrogen ions to cytochromes to provide energy throughout the body. 


Magnesium falls in the category of Essential Macro-mineral when it comes to canines—being a macro-mineral means that dogs require Magnesium in relatively large quantities to ensure their well-being and to continue all the essential metabolic processes taking place in their bodies. The term essential refers to the fact that dogs cannot synthesize this mineral independently. Therefore, it’s up to the owners to make sure that their dogs receive the required amounts of this critical mineral through their food, and what better way to ensure that than adding some potatoes in your dog’s meal? 

Magnesium is essential in more than 300 different biochemical reactions, which shows the importance of this mineral. Dogs require Magnesium as it can act as an alternative to Potassium to generate nerve impulses. Magnesium is important for having a well-performing immune system and ensuring perfect muscle contractions. The fact that Magnesium helps with muscle contraction also applies to the heart as the heart is a tough cardiac muscle. Direct links of high magnesium intake with a healthy heart have been observed during various researches. Magnesium also acts to increase bone density, and thus it serves to make bones stronger. In addition to all the functions mentioned, Magnesium is also required to regulate blood glucose levels and boost the energy production process in the body. 

This vital information about the benefits of Magnesium, along with the role played by this vital mineral, will help our dear readers analyze the pros and cons of feeding turkey to their four-legged best friends. And this will also help them in answering the question of “Can my dog eat turkey?”

Prevention from Cancer

Turkey meat is also a major source of selenium for dogs, and it has been proven through various studies that a higher intake of selenium is directly related to reduced cancer risks in dogs. That’s why feeding your pooch food rich in selenium can help prevent your four-legged best friend from all kinds of cancer. Fortunately, the turkey is full of selenium. Feeding turkey-based dog food to your dog can help in preventing him from 

  • Lung Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer

Prevention from Cognitive disorders

Just like all the other poultry diets, turkey is also a part of the MIND diet. As it should be clear by their name, the MIND diet is a combination of food that is good for the well-being of cognitive functions of our dogs and therefore feeding turkey to your canoe friend can prevent him from a wide range of cognitive functions, and therefore we recommend dog owners to feed their dogs turkey from time to time. This also answers the question, “Can dogs eat turkey?” 

Cons of feeding Turkey to dogs

Cons of feeding Turkey to dogs

Now that we have told you about all the pros of turkey meat, it’s time that we start discussing its cons. 

As mentioned earlier, turkey in itself is not toxic to dogs or anything like that. But that is true only when turkey meat is served to dogs without seasoning. Unfortunately, most dog owners resort to feeding thanksgiving leftovers to their dogs, and those leftovers are anything but free from seasonings. Following is a short description of all the harmful seasoning that can be found in turkey.


We love to cover our turkey completely with butter while preparing it. The reason being that butter naturally enhances the taste factor of anything. But this is not good news for dogs as butter is not exactly a safe food product for dogs. For starters, most dogs are lactose intolerant, and therefore they cannot digest the butter content of thanksgiving turkey. This can result in dogs having severe stomach pain and other stomach-related problems like diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn. 

We know what you are thinking “Hey, my dog is completely okay with lactose-based products. Does it mean that he can have thanksgiving turkey?”

We are sorry, but the answer is still no, as lactose is not the only problematic content of butter when it comes to dogs. Butter is full of fats, making it unfit for dogs to feat on. Dogs that are fed fat-rich products such as fats are at great risk of being obese. Obesity can drastically affect your dog’s well-being by exposing him to several medical complications such as heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney-related issues, and so on. That’s why dog owners should try to keep their dogs far away from obesity, and avoiding to feed fat-rich products to them is the first step in ensuring that. 

Salt and spices

Salt is an important ingredient used in the preparation of thanksgiving turkey. That’s why turkey meat is often high in sodium content. And yes, we agree that these are some benefits of sodium, but the harms of feeding your dog excess amounts of sodium far outweigh the benefits. This is the reason why we, along with vets all across the globe, advise dog owners against feeding sodium-rich products to dogs, including meals like thanksgiving leftovers. 

Sodium can cause a plethora of problems in dogs and can lead to severe medical complications and fatal diseases in dogs. The most prominent diseases caused by high sodium intake in dogs are as follows

  • Heart complications and diseases
  • Obesity
  • High Blood pressure
  • Mineral imbalance 
  • Kidney related issues such as renal stones and even renal failure
  • Dehydration

The diseases mentioned above make the harm of sodium obvious, and therefore we suggest our readers keep their pooches far away from salty foods. Yes, we know that we previously answered the question of whether dogs eat turkey as a yes, and we still stand with it. The issue of whether dogs can eat turkey or not is a question of should you rather than can you. This means that although dogs can consume turkey, it doesn’t mean that you should start feeding thanksgiving turkey to your canines as there are lots of cons of feeding pickled to dogs.

Moreover, the spices used in making thanksgiving turkey can also do significant harm to dogs. These spices can not only introduce large amounts of unneeded minerals like sodium and chemicals such as Capsicum in dogs, but they can also act as highly active allergens and can result in dogs experiencing several allergic reactions.

So, what’s the final verdict? 

So, what's the final verdict? 

You must be waiting anxiously for a definitive answer to the question Can dogs eat turkey, and that’s why we are here. 

In our expert opinion, it’s okay to give your dog turkey meat to munch on as it’s full of nutritional benefits. But one thing to be kept in mind is that you should never season meat meant for your dog. Just boil it and offer it to your canine friend. 

 Frequently asked questions

Turkey is a very interesting topic for most dogs owners, and therefore most dog owners have a ton of additional questions regarding feeding turkey to dogs. We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic for the further convenience of our valued readers. 


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