Can Dogs Eat Turkey and Turkey Bones?


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Thanksgiving is a time for sharing with friends and loved ones, so the temptation to let your furriest family member partake in the feast is understandable. But to express your gratitude for your dog, and to keep him safe, resist the urge to feed him Thanksgiving scraps—in his bowl or under the table.

Holiday spreads tend to be excessively rich, buttery and oily. That’s just fine for people on special occasions, but dogs’ tummies don’t respond well to fatty fare, such as turkey skin, stuffing and gravies. Ditto for glazed ham, prime rib and roast chicken. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating rich foods could cause vomiting and diarrhea, and puts your dog at risk of a dangerous condition known as pancreatitis. Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include a hunched back, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fever, visible abdominal discomfort or bloating, and restlessness. If your dog exhibits more than one of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.

After the feast, protect your dog by clearing the table promptly. Turkey bones are not safe for dogs to eat. When whole, they can get stuck in his esophagus or trachea and cause life-threatening choking. Turkey bones break easily into smaller shards that can puncture your dog’s mouth, stomach and intestines, and lead to infections. These fragments can also get stuck and cause dangerous gastrointestinal blockages. Additionally, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other typical holiday side dishes often contain onions, garlic, scallions, leeks or shallots, which are dangerous for dogs to eat.

Put all the leftovers into the fridge, and toss all the scraps and turkey bones into a sturdy enclosed container. If the garbage can in your kitchen is not completely secure from prying snouts and paws, put the scraps outside in an animal-proof garbage can.

Try to keep your dog’s meals and treats routine throughout the holiday season. Be especially vigilant when it comes to chocolate, goodies made with the natural sweetener xylitol, grapes and raisins. These are all toxic for dogs.

If you have a tough time resisting those puppy dog eyes during the holidays, go ahead and give your best friend a few extra pieces of his favorite dog treats. With your vets’ okay, it’s probably okay to feed him small pieces of turkey breast, being sure it is free of bones, skin and gravy. Or simply surprise him with a new dog toy, a visit to the dog park, or extra time playing fetch in the yard. After all, it’s time together that you’ll both appreciate most.

2 thoughts on “Can Dogs Eat Turkey and Turkey Bones?”

  1. we stopped giving our dogs turkey, but always have an argument with people that do, they say theres turkey in dog food, it,s so hard for people to believe you when o soimethig good for the animals

  2. Thank you!! I but those big bones from the grocery store. U know they r wrapped separately and appear to have some dried meat on. Hmmm, wonder if they are safe? Sure hope so, since I treat neighbors dog sometimes too!!

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