Can My Dog Eat Raw Turkey?

Author: Mikael Öling

This article is part of a series “Can My Dog Eat X” by Pala Petfoods, where our experts review the benefits and dangers of different foods to dogs. Our mission is to help you make informed decisions that prioritise your furry friend's health and break some bad myths in the process.


The Benefits

  • High Protein Content: Turkey is an excellent source of protein, which is vital for your dog's muscle development and energy levels. At Pala Petfoods, we have dog treats made from 100% turkey.
  • Contains Essential Nutrients: Raw turkey includes nutrients like amino acids, iron, and zinc, which contribute to a balanced diet for dogs.
  • May Improve Coat Health: The fats in turkey can help maintain a shiny and healthy coat.

The Dangers

  • Bone Hazards: Turkey bones, especially when cooked, can splinter and cause obstructions or perforations in the digestive system of dogs.
  • Imbalanced Diet: Feeding raw turkey alone without a balanced diet can lead to nutritional imbalances and health issues for dogs. That’s why we combine turkey with duck and herring meat and fresh vegetables for a complete recipe that your dog will love.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some dogs may be allergic to turkey or poultry products and could have adverse reactions.
  • Risk of Bacteria: Raw turkey can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can lead to food poisoning in dogs and potential cross-contamination risks to humans.

The Details

When starting to feed your dog raw turkey, it's important to take the following aspects into consideration:

  • Quality of Turkey: Ensure the raw turkey is fresh, high-quality, and sourced from reputable suppliers to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • Proper Handling: Handle raw turkey with care to prevent cross-contamination. Use separate utensils and cutting boards, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
  • Portion Control: Feed appropriate portions based on your dog's size, age, and activity level to prevent overfeeding and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Balanced Diet: Complement raw turkey with other essential nutrients that dogs require, such as calcium, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, for a well-rounded diet.
  • Safe Storage: Store raw turkey at safe temperatures, typically below 40°F (4°C) to inhibit bacterial growth, and adhere to recommended use-by dates.
  • Transitioning: If transitioning from another diet, introduce raw turkey gradually to avoid digestive upset.
  • Monitoring Health: Monitor your dog closely for any signs of allergic reactions or gastrointestinal issues that may arise from the new diet.
  • Parasite Prevention: Ensure your dog is regularly treated for parasites since raw diets can increase the risk of transmission.
  • Supplementation: Consider adding supplements as necessary to fill any nutritional gaps in the raw diet, as advised by your veterinarian.
  • Bone Inclusion: If including bones for dental health and added nutrition, make sure they are raw and appropriately sized to your dog to prevent choking or digestive obstruction.
  • Hygiene Practices: Maintain good hygiene, regularly disinfecting surfaces and bowls to keep your pet safe.

Other Things To Note

What parts of turkey are best?

Especially Beneficial:

  • Muscle Meat: The main part of the turkey, it's high in protein and essential nutrients.
  • Liver: Rich in vitamins A and B, iron, and other minerals, but should be fed in moderation.
  • Heart: A good source of taurine and other amino acids.


  • Bones: Raw bones can be beneficial for dental health but pose a choking hazard or could splinter and cause internal damage. Cooked bones should be avoided as they are more likely to splinter.
  • Skin: Often high in fat, which can be difficult for dogs to digest and can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Processed Turkey: Deli meats are high in sodium and preservatives, which are unhealthy for dogs.

As always, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog's diet to ensure they're safe and beneficial for your pet specifically. Check out our other articles in this series for more information on what you should or should not feed your dog.