Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

Sharing with our pups is obviously our favorite thing to do as dog owners. We love to pass them our leftover food. We’re thrilled when we realize they love something we also love (I.e. peanut butter, apples, corn…). However, just like there are some things that we can’t eat, there are also things your dog shouldn’t be ingesting. You might not think too hard when you throw your dog a leftover turkey bone you had lying on your plate after a meal. Unfortunately, this isn’t as harmless as you may believe. Feeding your dog turkey bones can lead to potential health risks that no owner wants to witness their dog suffer through. There are many things to take into consideration before you give your dog a random bone to nibble on.

Why Not a Turkey Bone?

We all know how common it is to throw a bone at a dog. It gives them something to play with and chew on. In other words, it keeps your dog preoccupied until they find themselves in need of your attention again. Bones are recognized as some of the most common chew toys for dogs. Therefore, the concept of giving your dog a bone to bite on seems completely innocent. But why the fuss over turkey bones?

Turkey bones are softer, more flexible, and less tough than your average beef bone. Due to their pliable exterior, turkey bones are much easier to break and sharpen than other bones. These bones break down into much smaller fragments, often sharpened at the end. These ends can slit or puncture your dog’s mouth or, even worse, stomach and intestines. Sometimes, all parts used during the digestive process can be harmed as well. For instance, these bones can slice your dog’s esophagusInjuries like this can turn out to be fatal.

can dogs eat turkey bones
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Raw or Cooked Turkey Bones?

There are numerous risks for both options. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages dog owners to not feed your dog any sort of meat bone. According to the FDA, they received around 68 reports of pets becoming ill due to bone treats. While it is advised to never feed your dog cooked turkey bones, some justify the use of raw turkey bones. If you do decide to feed your dog a raw turkey bone, it is reccomended that it be larger than the size of your pup’s head. A larger bone will reduce the risk of tiny shards making their way into your dog’s stomach. You should also make sure you are watching them every minute of the way. Your supervision will be much needed and appreciated in case your dog runs into any problems during the feeding process. It might help to feed them their bone on a tile or hard wood floor. This way, you can immediately identify and pick up any of the tiny shards that otherwise would’ve made their way inside your dog.


There are a lot of symptoms that will result from your dog’s ingestion of turkey bones. You need to be extremely cautious and wary about these symptoms arising, especially if you know your dog has eaten a turkey bone.

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
  • Choking
  • Dental Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum
can dogs eat turkey bones
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Bone ingestion can be fatal. Unfortunately, of the 68 reported cases of bone illness, 15 of those dogs passed away. This statistic in and of itself should push you away from ever feeding your dog a turkey bone.

How Do I Keep My Dog Safe?

Just because you don’t intentionally feed your dog a turkey bone, doesn’t mean they won’t be able to get their hands on one. Dogs are pretty sneaky pets. They’re also naturally curious, which is why they’ll go out of their way to investigate any random object that crosses their path. Despite how smart dogs may be, you can definitely find a way to limit their access to certain bones or food that they shouldn’t be eating. Here are just a few ways that you can prevent your dog from ingesting those pesky little bones:


  • Keep your tables clean. You would be surprised at how many dogs will steal leftover bones from you or your family’s plates when no one is watching. As soon as you have finished your meal, make sure to throw all of those leftover bones away.
  • Don’t just trash them inside your kitchen trash can, but take it a step further and remove them out of your house completely. Dogs will gladly rummage through your kitchen trash bins if it means they get to eat or play with whatever is in there. Taking out the trash comes early when you’ve eaten any food that contains bones!
  • Find other safe treats your dog will love! Believe it or not, bones are not the only objects your dogs will enjoy chewing on. There are so many other alternatives that are completely safe and healthy for your pup. In fact, many pet stores will sell treats that have a similar taste and texture as a bone. The only difference is these treats it won’t lead to any potential health risks. Test out different treats to see what your dog likes best. You may want to consult your veterinarian on which treats will be the tastiest and healthiest for your dog.
can dogs eat turkey bones
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Despite what you feed your dog, the main importance is that your dog remains healthy and happy. The last thing you want is your dog being painfully affected by something you have full responsibility over. Bone ingestion is very preventable, and no dogs should be dying because of it. Your dog looks to you to give them the best source of food. After all, you know what’s best for them. Our main priority is that our pups stay healthy while also having fun.

can dogs eat turkey bones

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