Is Ground Turkey Bad for Dogs?

by Betty Lewis
    Your pooch can enjoy some of your home-cooked turkey.

    Your pooch can enjoy some of your home-cooked turkey.

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    Whether your pup has a bellyache or you want to add a bit of variety to his diet, ground turkey can be a safe, healthy food choice. That doesn't mean you should set a place at the Thanksgiving table for Pal, but there's room in his dish for lean turkey.

    If Pal's belly is rumbling, or he's suffering a bout of diarrhea, a supper of ground turkey can calm his upset stomach. Bland diets are helpful for soothing a troubled tummy and giving a dog's gastrointestinal system a bit of a break. According to Dr. Karen Becker of Healthy Pets, a meal of 50 percent cooked ground turkey and 50 percent pureed pumpkin or sweet potato, two to three times a day for a couple of days, is a good remedy for diarrhea. The high fiber content in the pumpkin or potato firms up loose stool. If Pal's been vomiting, the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine advises a diet of plain boiled turkey mixed with rice after his stomach has had time to settle.

    If you cook all of Pal's meals for him, ground turkey is one option to keep his diet interesting. According to Texas veterinarian Dr. Ronald Hines, the kind of turkey you use will depend on the recipe. Ground turkey is available containing 1 percent, 3 percent or 15 percent fat. If you aren't adding fat to Pal's recipe, 93/7 or 85/15 ground turkey will work. If you want an extra-lowfat recipe for him, or you're adding fat to the mix, stick with 99/1 lean ground turkey.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends cooking all meat in a dog's diet to minimize the chance of contracting food-borne illnesses such as salmonella. Though you may be interested in grinding Pal's turkey yourself at home to have greater quality and safety control as part of a raw diet, all raw meat carries the risk of pathogens. Simmering or browning Pal's ground turkey on the stove will ensure that his meat is properly cooked and will release excess fat from the meat.

    While ground turkey is great for Pal, stay away from the skin, fat and bones. The skin and fat could be a bit much for his digestive system, upsetting his stomach. Though dogs love bones, cooked poultry bones are small and prone to breaking and splintering, presenting a chocking hazard. If you want to share a bit of your cooked bird with your friend, stick to some white meat. You can even add a little side of plain mashed potatoes -- but hold the gravy.

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    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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