Is Roast Turkey OK for Dogs?

by Carlye Jones
    A little bit of roast turkey meat is OK for most dogs.

    A little bit of roast turkey meat is OK for most dogs.

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    Roast turkey smells delicious. You know if you can hardly wait to take a bite, your dog is drooling for it, too. It's only natural to want to share part of such a delicious meal with your furry best friend, but don't kill him with kindness. Make sure that you share turkey the right way to keep your little buddy from getting sick.

    White and Dark Meat

    Small pieces of either white or dark meat are safe for most dogs. Keep in mind that dark meat has more fat and calories, so white meat may be better for your dog if he needs to watch his weight or if he has a sensitive stomach. If your dog is on a special diet or has a medical condition, ask your veterinarian before giving him turkey.


    Turkey skin is very high in fat. Not only does it add too many extra calories to your dog's diet, so much extra fat is hard on his digestive system. Large pieces of skin can also cause choking and gagging if your dog gets so excited about the tasty treat that he doesn't chew it well. Large amounts of turkey skin can also cause pancreatitis. It's best to avoid giving your dog turkey skin.


    Dogs should never be given turkey bones. Just like chicken bones, they crack and splinter easily. These splinters can become lodged in the top of your dog's mouth or in his throat. If your dog does manage to swallow them, the sharp ends of the bones can punch holes in his stomach or intestines, or become lodged there, causing life-threatening medical problems. Resist the urge to give your dog turkey bones for his own safety.


    Offer turkey meat as a treat, not as a meal, and in small amounts. Too much at once can upset your dog's stomach just because it is a change from his usual diet. Cut the turkey into small pieces so that if he gobbles it down without really chewing it won't be too hard on his stomach. Roast turkey meat should make up only a small percentage of his daily diet, not the major portion.

    Other Considerations

    Feeding from the table or kitchen counter could inadvertently teach your dog to beg. The best way to feed your dog roast turkey is to either put it in his bowl along with his regular food or use it as a small training treat. Letting your dog have a taste of turkey might also encourage him to try and steal a little more turkey for himself. If he gets his paws on the skin and bones, it could cause serious problems, so make sure the turkey is kept well out of his reach and that he can't get to any leftovers thrown in the garbage.

    Photo Credits

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    About the Author

    Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.

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