Can I Give My Dog Thanksgiving Turkey?

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. A time for feasting. . . We all tend to indulge a little too much during the Thanksgiving holiday, including our dogs. Our online vets have weighed in on how you can safely enjoy this Thanksgiving with your dog.

Turkey meat is ok, but cooked turkey bones are dangerous to dogs.

While white turkey meat can be a great protein source for your pup, our online vets warn that you should never feed your dog Thanksgiving turkey bones. Cooked turkey bones are very dangerous and can lead to serious injuries, including broken teeth, stomach blockages, and bacterial infections.

Possible consequences of your dog eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones:

1. Your dog can break his teeth and injure his mouth.

If you feed your dog cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones, he could break a tooth and have to have the tooth surgically removed.  Our online vets warn that, even if your dog doesn’t break a tooth, Thanksgiving turkey bones can injure your dog’s mouth in other ways, including cutting the pup’s mouth or tongue or getting a bone sliver stuck in the jaw, also requiring surgery. If your dog seems to have a mouth-related issue after eating Thanksgiving turkey bones, our online vets can assist you in determining how to assess and best address how to help your pup. 

2. Your dog can become constipated from eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones.

Cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones can cause constipation in dogs. While this usually can be resolved easily, it can be very uncomfortable for your pup. Our online vets can help you with remedies, including offering your pup other Thanksgiving foods, like pumpkin, which are helpful to treat dog constipation.

3. Your dog can suffer serious internal injuries from eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones.

Cooked turkey bones can become stuck in your dog’s stomach and cause blockages. Also, bones can splinter apart and pierce your dog’s stomach or intestines, which can cause serious bacterial infections that are difficult to treat and can even be fatal.  If the bone fragments make it through your dog, they can still cause pain and bleeding from the rectum as your dog passes them.

Keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving.

Be sure to keep the Thanksgiving turkey out of reach of your dog’s prying paws, especially if your pup is a counter surfer.  If you are preparing the turkey and are letting it rest after cooking, place it well out of your dog’s reach.  Do not leave bones in the kitchen trash.  Immediately take the bones to your outside trash can so that your dog can’t get to them. Our online vets recommend that, if you want to share some of your tasty turkey with Fido, stick with the white meat.  Be sure not to give him the turkey skin. While delicious to us, the butter and spice rubs we use when cooking a turkey can cause stomach upset in dogs, and onions and garlic are toxic to dogs.  

What should you do if you think your dog has a cooked turkey bone?

If your dog gets his paws on a cooked turkey bone this Thanksgiving, try to be calm and act quickly to remove it from his mouth.  You won’t want to chase your dog in order to grab the bone from him, as a game of chase could cause your dog to choke on the bone.  

If you’re not quick enough to get the bone away from your pup before they’ve eaten some or all of it, a visit with one of our online vets is advised, as TelePAWS is here for you and your pup 24/7 and on holidays. Let the veterinarian know how big you think the bone was or how much your dog ate. The veterinarian will be able to advise you on next steps and what symptoms to look for if it is an emergency. 

Schedule an appointment today with a TelePAWS online vet for only $50.