can dogs eat turkey necks

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Necks? Vet Explains the Benefits and Risks

Turkey necks are a popular treat for dogs, but are they safe?

Wondering if turkey necks are a safe snack for your dog? Many pet owners look to natural treats to enrich their dog’s diet, but it’s crucial to understand what’s beneficial and what could be harmful.

While turkey necks can be both nutritious and enjoyable for your canine companion, providing essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine, it’s essential to be aware of the possible risks involved and take proper precautions when introducing turkey necks to your dog’s diet.

This article will delve into the various aspects of feeding turkey necks to dogs, covering nutritional content, potential problems, and alternatives if turkey necks aren’t suitable for your dog. As a veterinarian, I will also share my first-hand experiences and expertise on this topic.

Key Takeaways:

  • 1

    Turkey necks can be a nutritious addition to a dog’s diet if properly prepared and sourced

  • 2

    It’s vital to understand the precautions and potential risks associated with feeding turkey necks

  • 3

    Familiarize yourself with alternatives if turkey necks are not suitable for your specific dog

What Should I Consider When Feeding Turkey Necks to My Dog?

There are several factors to consider when feeding turkey necks to your dog. Let’s cover these:

  • Do they suit YOUR dog?

    Firstly, it is essential to take into account your dog’s age, size, breed, health condition, and dietary needs. Each dog is unique, which means that not all dogs can tolerate or benefit from consuming turkey necks.

  • Give in moderation

    The calorie content and nutritional balance of turkey necks should also be taken into consideration. While they provide essential nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin B12, your dog’s overall diet should still be well-balanced. Remember to account for the added calories from turkey necks to avoid overfeeding your dog and potentially causing obesity.

  • They could be a choking hazard

    Turkey necks can be a potential choking hazard, especially if your dog has a tendency to swallow large chunks of food without chewing. Therefore, monitor your dog carefully and cut up the necks into smaller chunks if necessary.

  • Food allergies

    If you suspect that your dog has allergies or intolerances to turkey or poultry products, it might be best to avoid turkey necks. Always observe your dog for any adverse reactions after feeding them new foods.

  • They can be a health risk if fed raw

    A crucial aspect of feeding turkey necks is hygiene and food safety practices. Raw turkey necks, like any other raw meat, may contain bacteria. It is essential to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey necks, clean any utensils or surfaces that have come into contact with the raw meat, and store the necks properly in the refrigerator.

How to Prepare Turkey Necks for Dogs

dog eating turkey neck

Feeding turkey necks to your dog is super easy and there are two main ways to do it – feeding them raw or feeding them dehydrated turkey necks. Here’s how you can safely and effectively serve turkey necks to your furry friend:

Raw Turkey Necks

If you want to feed your dog raw turkey necks, it’s crucial to thaw them first correctly. You can do this by placing them in the fridge or using cold water. This step ensures that the necks are safe and ready for consumption. Never try to defrost them using a microwave or hot water, as this can lead to bacterial growth.

For smaller dogs, it’s also a good idea to cut large turkey necks into smaller pieces or segments. This will make it easier and safer for them to chew on. Conversely, larger dogs may prefer whole raw turkey necks, which they can gnaw on in their natural state. The key here is to tailor the serving size to your dog’s preferences and capabilities.

However, just be aware of the risks of feeding your dog any form of raw meat and follow strict hygiene measures throughout the process.

Dehydrated Turkey Necks

In my opinion, the best way to prepare turkey necks for your dog is to dehydrate them first. You can either buy them ready-made from pet stores or online shops or make them yourself by following the method below:

How to dehydrate turkey necks for dogs:

Arrange the turkey necks on the trays of the dehydrator, making sure to leave sufficient space between each one to allow for good airflow. Adjust the dehydrator to the correct setting for meat, usually about 155°F, and let the turkey necks dry for 8 to 12 hours.

You can feed dehydrated turkey necks as a whole or in chunks, depending on your dog’s size and preference. You should also supervise your dog while eating dehydrated turkey necks and remove any leftover bones or fragments.

What about cooked turkey necks?

With the risks associated with feeding raw meat to dogs and the difficulty of acquiring dehydrated turkey necks, you may be thinking that the easiest way to feed them to your dog is by simply cooking the turkey necks right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case; feeding cooked turkey necks to dogs is very dangerous and should never be done. Cooked turkey necks can shatter and pose a choking hazard for dogs. The sharp and pointy splinters from the cooked bones can also cause serious and sometimes even life-threatening injuries to your dog’s mouth, throat, and gut

Feeding time can be a messy affair, so make sure you serve the turkey necks in a supervised environment. This will allow you to closely monitor your dog while they eat, ensuring that they don’t choke or injure themselves on any sharp edges. After they’ve finished, carefully remove any leftover bones or fragments that could pose a hazard.

When to Avoid Feeding Turkey Necks to Your Dog

While turkey necks can provide some benefits, there are certain situations in which it’s best not to offer this tasty treat to your furry friend:

  • If your dog has a history of choking, swallowing problems, or digestive issues, it may be best to avoid giving them turkey necks. These can present choking hazards, especially if your dog tends to gulp food down without properly chewing.

  • Be cautious when your dog has kidney disease, pancreatitis, or other conditions that require a low-fat or low-protein diet. Turkey necks contain a higher amount of fat and protein, which can worsen these conditions.

  • It’s crucial to only feed your dog dehydrated or raw turkey necks and not cooked, boiled, roasted, fried, or microwaved ones. The cooking process can make the bones brittle and prone to splintering, which can result in intestinal obstruction and other serious problems.

  • Turkey necks should always be fresh and free from bacterial contamination. If you choose the feed them raw, make sure that you buy them from a trusted and hygienic source. Feeding your dog spoiled, contaminated, or expired food can lead to diarrhea, upset stomach, and even more serious health issues.

Benefits of Turkey Necks for Dogs

dried turkey necks for dogs

Turkey necks are a popular choice for many dog owners who are seeking a nutritious, natural food for their pets. They consist of bones, cartilage, muscle, and connective tissue, offering a high-quality protein source as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that turkey necks can bring to your dog’s health:

  • Joint Health

    Feeding turkey necks to dogs provides them with glucosamine and chondroitin, which are crucial in maintaining joint health. These substances work together to alleviate stiffness and discomfort in your dog’s joints, which can be especially beneficial for dogs suffering from arthritis or other joint issues.

  • Bone Health

    One significant advantage of adding turkey necks to your dog’s diet is the calcium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals they contain that contribute to bone health. Giving your dog a well-balanced diet, rich in these minerals, can promote stronger bones and prevent injuries.

  • Mental Stimulation

    Another benefit of feeding turkey necks to dogs is the mental stimulation. The act of gnawing on turkey necks can provide a satisfying mental challenge, which is important for dogs who need more mental stimulation.

  • Clean Teeth

    For dogs, chewing is a natural instinct, and it helps maintain their dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup as they chew on something tough like a turkey neck.

Problems with Turkey Necks for Dogs

dog chewing turkey neck

Before you start incorporating turkey necks into your dog’s diet, it’s important to be aware that while turkey necks can be a good source of natural nutrients and help maintain dental hygiene, there are also some risks associated with feeding them to your furry friend.

One common issue that may arise is the potential for choking or gagging on bones or fragments. Turkey neck bones can splinter or break into small pieces, posing a choking hazard for your dog. I have seen cases where a dog has choked on a bone fragment, requiring immediate veterinary attention.

Another potential problem is intestinal blockage or perforation from sharp bones or splinters. When a dog consumes a turkey neck, they may inadvertently swallow a sharp bone fragment that can become lodged in their digestive tract. This can lead to constipation, diarrhea, or more severe issues such as intestinal perforation, which can be life-threatening.

A lesser-known but equally dangerous risk associated with feeding turkey necks to dogs is bacterial infection or parasites from raw meat contamination. Raw turkey meat can harbor harmful bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella, as well as parasites. Dogs eating raw meat are even at risk of paralysis, according to this study. Although dogs have a more robust digestive system than humans, they are not immune to these infections. It is essential to prepare and store raw turkey necks properly to minimize this risk.

Weight gain or obesity is another concern when feeding turkey necks to your pet. Fatty parts of a turkey neck can contribute to excess calorie and fat consumption, leading to weight gain and potential obesity-related health issues. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s overall diet and calorie intake to prevent these problems.

Where to Buy Turkey Necks for My Dog

raw turkey necks for dogs

As a veterinarian, I often get asked where the best place is for a dog to get turkey necks. There are several options available to pet owners; here are some of the different sources and tips on choosing the best quality turkey necks.

First, local butchers and supermarkets are great places to find fresh or frozen turkey necks. You can ask your butcher to set some aside for you or keep an eye out for them in the meat section of your grocery store.

In addition to butchers and supermarkets, pet stores or online shops often carry dehydrated or air-dried turkey necks. These products are usually preserved without chemicals or preservatives, making them a good option for your furry friend.

When choosing the best quality and safest turkey necks for your dog, consider looking for free-range or organic products with animal welfare accreditation, such as RSPCA, Red Tractor, or Soil Association. This ensures that the turkeys are raised ethically and humanely.

Just be aware that there are risks in feeding your dog raw meat so it’s important to be aware of these if you intend on feeding your dog raw turkey necks, more on this later.

Turkey Neck Nutrition

While turkey necks are a great chewable treat for dogs, I often get asked if they have any nutritional value. The answer is yes, there are plenty of nutritional benefits to including turkey necks in your dog’s diet. They are a natural source of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, and various other trace minerals.


Turkey necks provide approximately 18 grams of protein per 100 grams of raw turkey neck. Proteins are necessary for your dog’s muscle development, tissue repair, and overall growth.


The fat content in turkey necks is also significant, with approximately 15 grams of fat per 100 grams of raw turkey neck. Fat is an essential component of your dog’s diet, as it helps maintain healthy skin, coat, and joint function. But be careful as this high fat content can be a significant risk to dogs with pancreatitis.


The calcium content is about 110 milligrams per 100 grams of raw turkey neck, which is crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Comparatively, the phosphorus level is about 140 milligrams per 100 grams of raw turkey neck, aiding in energy production and nerve function.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components found in turkey necks, which contribute to joint health and mobility. They are present in quantities of about 750 milligrams and 450 milligrams per 100 grams of raw turkey neck, respectively. These compounds help promote cartilage health and reduce inflammation in your dog’s joints.


In addition to these macronutrients, turkey necks also contain trace minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium, copper, and magnesium. These minerals all help support various bodily functions, like the formation of red blood cells, immune system support, and antioxidant mechanisms.

It’s also important to note that the carbohydrate content of turkey necks is almost negligible.

Overall, turkey necks can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet, providing essential nutrients for their growth, maintenance, and overall well-being. As a veterinarian, I have personally witnessed the benefits of turkey necks in my patients’ diets and can recommend them as a nutritious and natural option for your dog.

People also ask: How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

Alternatives to Turkey Necks

When it comes to feeding our dogs, we want to provide our furry friends with the best possible nutrition and dental health. While some dog owners choose to offer dehydrated or raw turkey necks as a treat or supplement, what if your dog can’t or shouldn’t eat turkey necks? Fear not, there are plenty of alternatives available to keep your dog happy and healthy.

One alternative is to offer other types of raw poultry necks, such as chicken or duck necks. These necks are smaller and softer than turkey necks, making them easier for smaller dogs to chew and digest. They still provide a great way to help clean your dog’s teeth and promote healthy gums, while also being a good source of protein.

If you’re looking for natural chews that are low in fat and high in protein, consider items like bully sticks, tendons, or ears. These chews can provide a satisfying and long-lasting treat for your dog while also helping to clean their teeth and massage their gums.

There are also numerous dental chews on the market that are designed to help promote good oral health in dogs. Look for products that are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), as they have been tested and proven to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Dental sticks and toys can also be effective in keeping your dog’s teeth clean and their breath fresh.


Is leftover turkey good for dogs?

Leftover turkey is okay for dogs to eat provided there it is plain without any seasonings or bones. Onions and garlic in turkey can cause anemia, and bones can splinter and hurt them. Also, seasonings and fats can lead to pancreatitis so it’s best to stick to a balanced dog food.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Consume Uncooked Turkey Giblets?

Yes, It’s generally safe for dogs to consume uncooked turkey giblets, such as the neck, heart, and liver. These parts of the turkey are rich in nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, some dogs may have a harder time digesting raw meat, so always monitor your pet for any adverse reactions. Also, make sure the raw turkey is fresh and free from any harmful bacteria.

Can Cats Eat Turkey Necks?

Yes, cats can also eat turkey necks, as they are obligate carnivores and need raw meat in their diet. Turkey’s necks provide an excellent source of protein, calcium, and other vital nutrients for cats. However, ensure that the turkey necks are cut into smaller, manageable pieces to prevent choking hazards.

How Often Can I Give My Dog Turkey Necks?

As a rule of thumb, turkey necks can be included in your dog’s diet once or twice a week. They should make up only a small portion of their overall diet. Remember to always introduce new foods gradually to avoid upsetting your dog’s tummy.

What Should I Do if My Dog Chokes on a Turkey Neck?

If your dog chokes on a turkey’s neck, immediately contact your veterinarian or visit the nearest emergency clinic for assistance. Trying to remove the stuck neck without proper training forcefully can result in further injury to your dog.

Can I Give My Dog Turkey Necks if They Have Dental Problems?

If your dog has dental health problems, such as gum disease or loose teeth, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian before giving them turkey necks. Raw turkey necks can be quite tough and might cause discomfort or aggravate existing dental issues.

Can I Give My Dog Turkey Necks if They Are on a Raw Diet?

Turkey necks can be an excellent addition to a raw food diet for dogs. They provide essential nutrients, and the act of chewing on the bones can help maintain their dental health. However, make sure to monitor your dog’s consumption and adjust their diet accordingly to ensure they receive a balanced and varied array of nutrients.

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