Can Dogs Eat Ground Turkey?

Yes, dogs can safely consume ground turkey. It is a lean protein that can be a good dietary option for dogs.

However, it must be cooked properly – raw or undercooked turkey can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, which could make your pet sick. Additionally, it should only be fed in moderation and should not make up the bulk of a dog’s diet.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

A resounding yes! Ground turkey is rich in vitamins and minerals that keep your dog healthy. It is also a good source of protein. It could keep him energized throughout the day and is a delicious ingredient to add to his diet. In fact, turkey meats are found in many wet dog food and kibbles. It’s an ideal alternative if your dog is allergic to chicken and beef. Read to find out which ground turkey is best and how you can serve it without worries.

golden retriever

Ground Turkey: Delicious and Nutritious

Ground turkey is perfectly safe to feed for your dogs as long as they have no additives and no seasonings. They are rich in Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Niacin (Vitamin B3), and Potassium. They are essential nutrients in keeping your dog away from illnesses and maintaining a healthy body. Ground turkey is also rich in lean protein which is why a lot of dog food recipes call for turkey meat.

Did you know that turkey can also soothe an upset stomach? Well, they can! If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, feeding him ground turkey together with food high in fiber can help. Although the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine advises serving boiled turkey after his stomach has settled down. A good ratio would be 50% cooked ground turkey and 50% pureed pumpkin or sweet potato. The high fiber content in potatoes can help firm up loose stool.

Percentage Fat in Ground Turkey

Ground turkeys sold in grocery stores have different percentages of fat indicated on the label. You may wonder why this is important. Fat percentage is important to look at to make sure you are not giving your dog too much fat. Too much fat can lead to obesity and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed and swollen. It’s painful and definitely something we don’t want for our dogs.

With that said here are some important things you need to know. First off, turkey skin and dark meat contain the most fat. They are found in turkey wings and legs. White meat, on the other hand, contains lesser fat and can be found in turkey breast. Now here’s the catch, some ground turkey is a combination of white meat and dark meat. And in some cases, even the skin is included. This is the reason why ground turkeys differ in fat content.

Ground turkey that’s 93/7 or 85/15 is ideal if you’re not adding any other fat to your dog’s diet. If you need a low-fat diet for your dog or putting another source of fat, 99/1 lean ground turkey is what you need. If you’re not sure which option is for your pup, speak to your veterinarian. He will recommend an amount you can give to your dog without worrying about his health.

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Ground turkey you should avoid sharing.

Do not give your dog table scraps or human food – even if it’s ground meat. Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities call for a lot of turkeys. And it’s pretty hard not to share this season with our dogs. However, the turkey we enjoy is filled with butter, onions, garlic, and other spices that can be hazardous for them. You’d have to endure those puppy dog eyes for a while! But don’t worry they can still have their share of turkey for Thanksgiving. I will explain more of this below.

Serving raw ground turkey is not advisable. Any kind of meat that’s not cooked is at risk for salmonella. They can be fatal not just to pets but for humans as well. Cooked ground turkey without any seasonings is the safest way.

Deli meats, turkey hotdogs, and other processed turkey meat can have a ton of salt and preservatives that are dangerous for dogs. They can cause GI upsets for a short while but may develop other illnesses later in life. Thus they should only be given in small amounts and not daily.

Turkey bones

One more great thing about ground turkey is that they are boneless. Poultry bones are brittle thus making them extremely dangerous for dogs. According to the AKC, turkey bones can cause:

  • Mouth and tongue injuries
  • Choking
  • Injury in the stomach lining and intestines
  • Constipation
  • Blockages that may require emergency surgery

Serving Ideas

We don’t want our pups to miss out on the Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey, do we? This is why I have compiled a list of some things you can do for your dogs on these special occasions – or pretty much when there’s turkey at home.

  • Leftover turkey? Use a meat grinder or a food processor to make your own ground turkey. Remember to remove the bones.
  • If you’re making spaghetti, you can set aside unseasoned ground turkey for your dog.
  • Dog-friendly meatloaf recipes are popular. Just remember to avoid adding seasonings like garlic and onion.
  • When you have ground turkey, you can boil it and serve it with plain white rice or other vegetables that are safe for your dogs.
  • Simmering or browning ground turkey is also okay. It removes excess fat and ensures that the meat is cooked.


Dogs can eat ground turkey. It’s delicious, extremely rich in protein and dogs just love it! Just remember to use lean meat when you plan to combine it with his regular dog food. Kibbles already contain fats. Reduce the amount of kibble so he can still get the same amount of food. Cook the ground turkey without unnecessary flavorings. Don’t worry about it being bland. He’ll still gobble it up in seconds.

Remember to follow these tips and you should be well on your way to serving ground turkey for your dog.

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