Is turkey bad for dogs?

Posted By elaine on November 25, 2009

This dog patiently waits for some scraps!   Courtesy: Campbell Soup Co.

This dog patiently waits for some scraps! Courtesy: Campbell Soup Co.

Thanksgiving is a day when we love to stuff ourselves full of fabulous treats.  While this might be the plan for many, it is best to make sure the family dog doesn’t do the same.  Cooked turkey meat is not bad for dogs, but dogs will often get too much of a good thing.  This can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea and some not so pleasant “gifts” on the carpet!  Often time well meaning guests will slip the pooch more than his little tummy can handle.

   Most importantly though is the other parts of the turkey that can actually be fatal.  Enemy Number One; bones…   Cooked bones splinter, especially poultry bones. Splintered bones can perforate a dog’s intestines and that is nearly impossible to repair, and if you are lucky enough to catch it quickly, it will leave  a several thousand dollar dent in your wallet.  Even whole bones can lodge inside a dogs digestive system and depending on where it lodges or how much of a blockage it creates it can be another critical veterinary situation.  Now your dog will not understand this and he will be surprised that you would throw such delectable treats away, so much so he might try to sneak the carcass off the counter or out of the trash, so treat these leftovers like toxic waste and make sure they can’t get to them.  This is also something that you may think about when leaving bones in outside trash cans.  Everything from stray dogs to bears will also try to get at that bird, and the damage to them can be just as deadly. 

    Enemy Number Two; cooking utensils… Certain dogs will swallow anything that tastes like turkey.  This includes roasting bags, bags full of giblets, skewers, strings, popup timers, oven mitts.. you get the idea.  These items can also cause blockages and intestinal perforations.  If you have a large dog that gulps goodies, it might be best to clean up as you go or put the dog out or in a back room while you are preoccupied with putting on a dinner for a house full of guests. 

    Enemy Number Three; turkey skin…  It seems innocent, but it is not.  Turkey skin is very fatty and that can cause Pancreatitis which can become a very serious medical condition that can cause chronic problems.  Obviously gravy and pan grease are a big “no, no” for the same aforementioned reasons.

   Now dogs don’t have to be totally left out.  I will pick all the cooked, skinless meat off the turkey and I will wrap it up and dole out a little each feeding.  That way they get to enjoy a nice treat for several days.   They love it and nothing goes to waste.

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