Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

by Jonathan Cabin

If you're like most other dog owners, you probably feed your pet table scraps from time to time. When it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, then your pup probably gets even more treats! Not only is there more food to go around, but it's the holidays, so your dog deserves a special treat, right?

Dogs evolved from wolves, which might have you expecting that they can eat meat. Their ancestors hunted their own, after all.

You're probably now wondering: can dogs eat turkey? Read on, as we'll discuss this topic in detail.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Let's tackle the main question at hand: can dogs eat turkey? Technically speaking, they can, as poultry isn't toxic to most dogs.

However, you probably don't eat your turkey plain. This means the meat you'd potentially feed your pet is full of additional ingredients, such as salt, herbs, onions, butter, oils, and more.

A lot of these ingredients can cause an upset stomach in your dog, and even pancreatitis. So the question shouldn't be "can dogs eat turkey," but rather, "is turkey good for dogs?"

Is Turkey Good for Dogs?

So is turkey good for dogs? You'd be surprised at the answer!

In a scientific study, meat was actually found to be one of the top allergens for dogs. As far as cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFRs) go, 34% of dogs were allergic to beef, 15% were allergic to chicken, and 5% were allergic to lamb.

So basically, it's very likely that your dog is actually allergic to meat, including turkey. If that's the case, then they may have symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Bald patches
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Many "hot spots"

It might seem strange that dogs are allergic to meat, considering they originally came from carnivorous wolves. However, these canines have been domesticated for over 15,000 years, which means they've had some considerable time to evolve a digestive system that's completely different from wolves.

Today, dogs are omnivores and their digestive system can process protein in any form, whether it's from meat, plants or fungi. So if your dog has an allergy, then rest assured they can still get the protein they need from other sources.

thanksgiving table

Do you give your pup extra treats during the holidays?

What If Your Dog Isn't Allergic to Turkey?

Generally speaking, if your dog isn't allergic, feeding your pup plain turkey with no seasonings can be a delicious treat for them. Just make sure you do so in moderation.

Also, only feed them fresh turkey that you've prepared yourself. Not only should it have no additional ingredients or seasonings, but you should also take the skin off and only feed them the lean white meat.

Otherwise, if you feed your dog something like lunch meat, it might have additives and preservatives, which are not good for canines. Als, the fat in the skin may also cause pancreatitis.

Another question you might have is: can you give dogs turkey bones?

The answer is no, just like with any other bones from meat. This is because the fragile bones can easily splinter in your dog's stomach, which can cause injuries and pain.

What About Turkey in Dog Foods?

Fresh turkey might be good as an occasional treat, but what about turkey meat in dog foods, like kibble?

This is a whole other story, as it's a different situation to dogs eating turkey fresh. Read on to find out why kibble with turkey (or any other meat) is a bad idea.

Growing Meat Has a Huge Environmental Impact

If you've had your ear to the ground about environmental issues, then you might already know that the resources needed to raise and slaughter livestock has a huge impact on the planet.

Most reports are focused on more commonly eaten meats, such as beef. For instance, studies show that each serving of beef is equal to almost 7 pounds of carbon dioxide.

On the other hand, 1 serving of poultry is equal to a little over 1 pound of carbon dioxide. Because all poultry is lumped together in this statistic, it's difficult to say how much of that is attributed to turkey alone.

In any case, one thing is clear: if dependence on livestock could be reduced, we'd leave less of a carbon footprint on Earth. In fact, if all animals were removed from the equation for US agriculture, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions can be decreased by 28%!

Factory Farming Involves Undesirable Practices

We'd like to believe that factory farming is done ethically with the health of humans and pets in mind. But sadly, that's not the case.

Much of factory farming involves the addition of unwanted antibiotics and growth hormones. The first is to ensure the survival of as many animals as possible, and the latter is to get the biggest animals possible.

When these substances end up in your food or your dog's, it can have detrimental effects on your health. This is especially true of dog food since their meat usually comes from lowest-quality animals and parts.

In Moderation

So can dogs eat turkey? If it's in moderation, without skin and bone, and also white meat, then it should generally be ok. This is given that your pup doesn't have a turkey or meat allergy.

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