There is much debate about the safety of giving dogs ‘real’ bones like those from a turkey. While bone-shaped biscuits may be a household staple for your best friend, we did some research as to the benefits and risks of feeding your pup a turkey bone. Here’s what you need to know before you throw a dog a bone.
First things first, it’s important that you don’t ever feed cooked turkey bones to a dog. No matter how tempting it might be to let them have a little taste of that delicious holiday feast, cooked bones are dangerous for dogs. They can splinter and cause many problems, including injuries to the pup’s mouth and teeth, as well as intestinal blockages and gastric upset.
Injuries like broken teeth, cuts to the dog’s mouth, damage to the jaw, or bones lodged in the stomach may require surgery to repair. This is why it is important that you avoid giving your pup cooked bones. These injuries can be painful, expensive, and even in some cases, fatal. So, when it comes to cooked turkey bones and your pup, just say no (and don’t worry, we’ll remind you throughout the course of this blog post)!
After reading all of these potential consequences, you’re probably wondering if your pup can even have turkey bones at all. The answer is yes, as long as the bones are raw. Raw bones, in general, are usually a good option for pups to have, but turkey and chicken bones (as well as other types of poultry) still tend to be thinner and splinter easier. So if you do share some raw bone with your dog, it’s important that you supervise them closely when they’re eating.
Raw bones and meat can come with additional risks for foodborne illness. Most healthy dogs should be able to handle raw bones. But, if you have an elderly or immunocompromised dog, check with your vet before feeding anything raw. Remember to clean your dog’s dish and any cutting boards, knives, and food prep areas that came in contact with raw meat or bone to avoid the spread of bacteria and foodborne illnesses.
Sometimes, accidents happen no matter how careful we are. If you think your dog has gotten hold of a cooked turkey bone, don’t panic!
First, try to get your dog to drop the bone. You can do this by offering another tasty (but pet-safe) treat or a favorite toy in exchange for putting the bone down. If that doesn’t work and your pup has definitely eaten some of it, the first thing you should do is call your vet. They may want you to come in so they can take a look at your pup, or they may just give you some advice over the phone. If this happens over a holiday, you might be directed to the nearest emergency room.
If your dog starts showing any signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite, that’s an emergency, and you should head to the vet right away. Pro tip: give the office a call and let them know you’re on the way so they can be prepared for your arrival.
Yes! Bone broth is both delicious and full of nutrients. If you want to make a broth for your dog using turkey bones, this is perfectly safe. Avoid using onions, spices, or too much salt. If you’d like to add some carrots, celery, and herbs like parsley to the mix for some added flavor, you can certainly do so. Warm broth can be soothing for pups who are stressed or just chilly as temperatures start to drop.
The bottom line is if you choose to feed turkey bones carefully and supervise your dog around any cooked turkey bones. This is especially important at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other large gatherings where you might serve a whole turkey. White meat turkey can be a great protein choice for your pup; just make sure to feed responsibly.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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