Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

It is Thanksgiving Day, and there is turkey abound. Everyone eats to their fill, leaving the bones lying around everywhere. Your beloved dog is under the table trying to see what it can get, and you think of passing it a turkey bone. But then you wonder whether dogs can eat turkey bones.

It stands to reason that since dogs can eat turkey, they can surely eat their bones, right? While there is some truth to that, it is not as clear-cut as it seems.

Turkey bones from your plate are very different from the regular bones that you feed your dog. What is the difference? What bones can you feed your dog?

What is the Deal with Turkey Bones?

Cooked turkey bones, and any turkey bones in general, are brittle. Unlike most bones from the pet store, their brittleness causes them to splinter into small pieces when bitten into. These sharp splinter pieces then wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system.

The Mouth

The splintered turkey bone pieces can cut your pup’s tongue, cheeks, and gums. They can also get stuck in their teeth, resulting in pain and bleeding. Moreover, the pieces might be too small for you to easily reach in and take them out.

The irritation from the broken pieces might cause your dog to bite into them repeatedly. This only makes things worse. The sharpness of the bones can also break your dog’s teeth. This is extremely painful, and you might need to go to the vet to get them removed. The removal process will cost you a pretty penny.

Digestive Tract Damage

The bone fragments that escaped the mouth and teeth now enter your dog’s digestive tract. They can cause even more damage here than they did in the mouth. The splintered pieces can scratch, pierce, or cut your pup’s throat, intestines, stomach, and other digestive tract parts.

The damage does not just end there. The splintered pieces can be even more painful when your dog passes stool, putting them in excruciating pain that causes more damage. The cuts inside the digestive tracts are also breeding grounds for infection. Bacteria or other infections can easily get into the wounds, leading to more complications.

The bone fragments can also lead to gastrointestinal blockages. The pieces can collect in one area, stopping normal functioning. This is a great source of discomfort and pain for your dog and can result in constipation.

What if the Bones Don’t Splinter?

You might be thinking, what if the turkey bones my dog eats are not too brittle? If they don’t fragment or splinter, swallowed bones can still pose a problem in the form of a choking hazard. Smaller dogs especially are more vulnerable to choking on the bones.

The bones can get stuck in the esophagus or trachea, blocking air passage and leading to choking. Depending on how serious the situation is, you might need medical intervention to deal with this problem. Avoid feeding turkey bones to your dog to prevent this.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Bones? Which Ones They Can and Can’t

Turkey Parts Your Dog Can Eat


Don’t despair; there are still turkey parts that your dog can eat. They include:

Turkey Meat

Your dog can eat turkey meat. The meat is, in fact, healthy for dogs. These carnivorous animals get a considerable part of their diet from eating animal protein. Turkey contains healthy animal protein, is packed with lean protein, and is low in fat.

You should, however, be careful when feeding your dog turkey. You need to make sure there are no pieces of bones in the meat you give them. It would be better if you shredded or cut the meat before feeding your dog to ensure there are no bones.

Turkey Bacon

This is another great alternative to give to your dog. You can feed your dog turkey bacon without the fear of adverse effects. It is one of the best meat options for dogs. Stay away from cured bacon or bacon with high sodium levels.

Note that turkey bacon also uses a lot of additives when being created. Some of these additives include harmful spices such as onion or garlic powder. Be careful when choosing turkey bacon for your dog to avoid picking unsafe versions.

You should also be moderate when feeding your dog turkey bacon. Too much of it can result in diarrhea or stomach upset.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Skin?

Most of us love turkey skin because of its fatty composition that gives it that crunchy, flavorful bite. While it is arguably one of the best parts of a turkey, you should not feed your dog turkey skin.

Your dog’s body cannot handle foods with high-fat content. Their stomachs, unlike ours, cannot break down the fats. This can upset their stomachs and lead to other gastrointestinal problems. It is better to avoid feeding your dog turkey skin instead of risking their lives and health.


Turkey might be your favorite meat, and you want to share the delight with your pup. No matter what you do, do not feed your dog turkey bones. The bones can splinter in your dog’s mouth, leading to a host of problems starting from their mouth to the stomach.
The splinters can tear and pierce their mouth, break their teeth, and injure the digestive tract.

Consequently, the cuts and pierces can host infections, leading to more problems and expensive vet visits. Keep turkey bones away from your dog and just buy them regular bones from your local pet store instead.

Further Reading:

Similar Posts