Can Dogs Eat Turkey? (Solved & Explained)

The short answer is “yes and no?” Turkey is not toxic to dogs. It is an ingredient in many commercial dog foods and is rich in nutrients like protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus.

When cooked plain, under the guidance of a veterinarian, it can be an essential part of a homemade dog food diet.

Whether you’re getting ready for a winter holiday meal like Thanksgiving or just having a turkey sandwich on a typical day, you may wonder 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.

How To Feed Your Dog Turkey Safely

If you decide to feed your dog turkey this Thanksgiving, there are a few things you need to know to do it safely.

  • Skip the skin. All of that fat and seasoning is dangerous for dogs. The fat content can cause pancreatitis, and the seasonings can irritate your dog’s stomach.
  • Make sure you only feed your dog turkey meat. Onions are toxic to dogs, and garlic is potentially toxic in large quantities.
  • Feed your dog only small quantities of turkey. Talk to your vet about adding food scraps into your dog’s diet, especially if your dog has a preexisting health condition, like diabetes.

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 the main ingredient. Then you can both enjoy can dogs eat turkey together.

Don’t Give Your Dog Turkey Bones.

Although plain can dogs eat turkey meat without the skin is safe, you should not give your dog turkey bones.

Take care to make sure any turkey bites you feed your dog are small enough to ensure they don’t have bones.

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.

Things to consider before you carve your pup a piece can dog eat turkey : 

  • A dog’s treat allowance can make up 10% of its total daily caloric intake. For a typical 25 lb. dog, that would be about 40 grams of white meat turkey or 30 grams of dark meat turkey, NOT including the skin. That’s not much! 
  • Turkey is an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan. While too much tryptophan and turkey for humans may make us feel tired, large quantities of turkey for dogs can cause an increase in flatulence. Feed your dog too much turkey and expect some toots! 
  • Dogs and savory seasonings often don’t mix well. For example, garlic and onion can impact dogs’ red blood cell function and should be avoided. If there’s enough garlic seasoning on the turkey that you can smell, it may be too much for your dog. 
  • Deli turkey meat is not a good option. Deli meat is usually laden with added sodium, fat, and seasonings. It may not be the ideal option for many dogs. 

As with cooked chicken bones, cooked turkey bones are a no-go. Cooking breaks down the structural integrity of the bone such that it can easily shatter.

Not only are they at risk for intestinal obstruction, but if a bone were to shatter within your dog’s gastrointestinal system, a piece could easily perforate the tract.

This could cause sepsis and, if veterinary medical attention isn’t sought out immediately, could prove fatal.


If your dog is not easily stressed and handles changes to its diet easily, roasted or baked turkey breast can be a great treat. But be cautious not to overindulge or feed turkey with unknown additives.