Turkey necks can offer your dog many nutritional benefits. They are rich in protein and many vitamins and minerals necessary for canine health. They can support joint function and dental health. Knowing the variety of health benefits, it seems like a good idea to feed turkey necks to your dog.
Can dogs eat cooked turkey necks? Are they safe? No. Cooked turkey or other poultry bones should never be fed to your dog. The high temperatures required for cooking poultry turn the bones into glass-like structures. They are extremely brittle, and when crushed, they turn into pointy objects that can cause damage to your dog’s digestive system. However, freeze-dried, dehydrated, or raw turkey necks are considered safe treats for dogs.
The texture of turkey bones in freeze-dried, dehydrated, or raw meat is soft rather than brittle. They will crush when your dog chews them, but they don’t turn into pointy objects that can cause harm. Turkey necks can be a nutritious, easily digested treat or supplement to your dog’s diet, and they provide a myriad of health benefits.
Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t feed cooked turkey necks to your dog, but why you should consider giving your dog turkey necks in a different form.
Why you shouldn’t feed your dog cooked turkey necks
Turkey bones are small, and when we use high temperatures for cooking poultry, we turn the bones into dangerous, brittle objects. When your dog chews up the bones, they break into tiny, pointy objects. Several problems can be caused by your dog eating cooked turkey bones:
- Tongue and mouth injuries and lacerations
- Throat or intestinal tract obstruction
- Small fragments of bone can pierce holes in the lining of the stomach and intestines
- Bone fragments can cause rectal bleeding
- Occasionally blockages from turkey bones require emergency surgery to clear
It’s fair to say that the risk of feeding your dog cooked turkey necks is too significant. You can feed them cooked turkey meat, but make sure all the bones are entirely removed first. If you still want your dog to reap the benefits of eating whole turkey necks, choose a raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried option.
Health benefits of feeding your dog turkey necks
Raw, dehydrated, and freeze-dried turkey necks (see Amazon) are not only safe for your dog to eat, but they also provide a host of health benefits that make them worth including in your dog’s diet. The nutrients that provide these benefits include:
- High levels of quality protein
- Glucosamine and chondroitin that affects bone and joint health
- Calcium, phosphorus, and other necessary minerals
Joint and mobility benefits for your dog
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been heavily studied regarding their effects on joint health, arthritis, and overall mobility. The results show positive effects. If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin are the first supplements your vet is likely to recommend as a treatment option.
If you prefer for your dog to reap the benefits of these supplements from a natural source, turkey necks are a good option. The cartilage and connective tissue in turkey necks contain glucosamine and chondroitin in a “bio-available” form. This means that the mineral can easily be digested and utilized by your dog’s digestive system.
Turkey necks are a natural option for treating canine arthritis or simply improving joint mobility in senior dogs.
Dental health benefits for your dog
Dental disease affects 76% of canines in the United States, and the prevalence of dental issues has been steadily increasing in recent years. If left untreated, canine dental disease will not only lead to compromised teeth and gums but can lead to infections that affect the functioning of your dog’s heart, liver, and kidneys.
The best way to stay on top of your dog’s dental health is to brush their teeth daily with specialized canine toothpaste, but not all dogs will tolerate this. So, if you have a dog who won’t tolerate teeth brushing, how do you maintain dental health? By allowing them to chew on bones and dental chews.
Turkey necks are a healthy option for dental chews for dogs. If it’s not an option for you to brush your dog’s teeth, chewing on turkey necks will help remove plaque and tartar from their teeth and prevent inflammation.
Mental health benefits for your dog
It’s common for dog trainers to recommend “chews” to keep your dog busy and out of trouble when you are away from home or unable to entertain them. Kong toys stuffed with food are a popular choice, but turkey necks can provide an alternative form of entertainment for your dog.
Because dogs chewing on turkey necks often hold it in place with their front paws while chewing on it, they get some physical exercise throughout the chewing process. Their jaw muscles, legs, shoulders, and back all receive a workout while your dog’s chewing.
Since most of our dogs are fed commercial dog food regularly, there are some mental health benefits to providing turkey necks in their diet to break up the monotony of having the same old food every day.
Where do I buy turkey necks to feed my dog?
Meat departments in grocery stores, butcher shops, and farmer’s markets carry raw turkey necks in fresh or frozen form. If you’re not sold on feeding raw meat to your dog, look for a dehydrated option. Dehydrated turkey necks can be found online, here, or at your local pet store.
What other factors should I consider in feeding turkey necks to my dog?
Turkeys are big birds, so it’s best to feed turkey necks to medium to large-sized dogs. Smaller dogs may not be able to handle them. If you love the benefits of turkey necks but have a smaller dog, consider feeding them chicken necks or duck necks instead. They have an equivalent level of nutrition but are smaller than turkey necks.
Bones should always be fed to your dog under supervision to ensure they don’t choke. Make sure they are swallowing the pieces they bite off. If your dog is older or suffering from dental deterioration, be extra vigilant in making sure they can handle eating turkey necks safely.
How often should I feed my dog turkey necks?
There’s not a hard and fast rule for this, but two to three times per week for a whole turkey neck should be sufficient for your dog to reap the many health benefits. Consider reducing their regular meal size on days they eat turkey necks to avoid over-feeding.
Aren’t you supposed to avoid feeding your dog human food?
While this is often advised, the answer is more complicated. Human food is usually seasoned with sugar, salt, spices, garlic, or onion which isn’t healthy for your dog. Raw or cooked poultry (remember cooked poultry shouldn’t have bones in it) with no added seasonings is healthy and safe for your dog or you can get healthy dog food on Ollie Pets. It delivers fresh, healthy dog food made with real, human-grade ingredients, tailored to your dog’s unique nutritional needs
Can my dog eat smoked turkey necks?
Meat that is smoked is considered cooked. As high heat is used in the smoking process, smoked turkey bones carry the same risk of injury as cooked turkey bones. Always feed your dog raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried turkey necks to avoid serious injury.
Are there any alternative chews to turkey necks?
Chicken and duck necks provide the same nutrition as turkey necks but are smaller in size, making them a good option for small dogs. Turkey drumsticks can also be purchased but have large bones, so they are best for large dogs.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.