- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Every day of the year, turkey is a favorite in sandwiches, and it makes a big splash during the winter holidays alongside mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Is it OK to share this tasty low-fat protein with your pup?
Can Dogs Eat Turkey?
Yes! Turkey is a great protein boost for dogs and helps them build strong muscles. Many brands of dog food incorporate turkey into their recipes, and it’s a great option of home-cooked dog food and treats.
For the sake of food safety, many vets recommend that only cooked turkey should be served to dogs. Raw turkey can carry risk of salmonella or other bacterial contamination.
A dog’s stomach acid is much more acidic than a human’s, providing greater protection against bacteria. However, knowing that my dog is likely to give me an after-dinner nose bump or kiss on my hand, I’m more comfortable knowing that the turkey I served her is safe for me, as well.
Turkey bones are not a good option for dogs. Raw bones carry a risk of salmonella, and cooked bones can splinter and cause internal damage. All bones should be removed before you feed cooked turkey to your pet.
Dogs can enjoy eating cooked, deboned turkey:
- As an ingredient in canned or dry food
- As a snack or special treat
Turkey Recipes for Dogs
Your pup will gobble up these simple and tasty turkey recipes from Rover chef Kiki Kane.
Serve these hearty little meatballs to your dog as a special treat. You can also add to a meal; just cut back on the kibble a little to adjust for added calories. These meatballs last for about five days in the fridge or freeze beautifully.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 24 pieces
- 1 lb of leftover turkey, with bones and skin removed
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup mixed veggies (we used carrot, peas, and green beans)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400º
- Pop leftover turkey into the bowl of your food processor and pulse a couple time to break up the meat.
- Add the rolled oats and pulse until well-combined and no large pieces appear.
- Add the egg and yogurt and pulse until the mixture just starts holding together.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Add your veggies and parsley and mix with your hands until incorporated.
- Roll into 1” balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until just becoming golden around the edges.
Too much sodium isn’t good for your dog. Removing the turkey skin helps remove the salt and seasonings from baking.
- Author: Kiki Kane
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 3 quarts
- OPTIONAL: 3 Turkey Necks or 6 Feet
- 1 Turkey Carcass
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 2 Carrots or 1 Cups Baby Carrots
- 1 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1/4 Cup Dried
- 2 Tbsp Dried Sage
- 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
If using the turkey necks or feet, you’ll need to roast them first.
Preheat oven to 400º
- Grease a roasting pan with olive oil and add the necks and/or feet. Add the veggies too, if you like.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes, until you get some nice color on the meat.
- Place the meat and bones in the Instant Pot, layering the veggies and herbs on top.
- Pour the vinegar over, then top up the bowl with water to the max fill line.
- Set the Instant Pot for 4 hours (240 minutes).
- After a natural release, remove solids from the broth with tongs.
- Pour the broth through a mesh colander into a bowl.
Place broth in the fridge until the fat rises to the top and the broth thickens. Overnight works great. Lastly, scrape the fat off the top of the broth and discard.
Serve broth warmed or cold over your dog’s favorite meal, or just by itself. You can freeze it, too!
For More Information
Learn more about feeding your dog a wonderfully varied diet while learning the limitations of a dog’s sensitive digestive system. We offer a collection of articles on foods that are safe, dangerous or even toxic for dogs to eat, including vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food.