Can dogs or cats eat turkey?

May 25, 2023
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.

Can dogs eat turkey?

Turkey is a highly nutritious and protein-packed food option for dogs. It contains essential amino acids that help support muscle growth, repair tissue damage and boost immune function. Turkey meat also has low levels of fat, which makes it an ideal choice for dogs who need to maintain a healthy weight.

Moreover, turkey meat is rich in vitamins B3 and B6, both of which are important for maintaining optimal metabolism and energy levels in canines. These vitamins also help reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin condition thanks to their antioxidant properties.

When feeding your dog turkey, it's crucial to ensure that the meat has been cooked thoroughly, as raw turkey may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella or listeria. You should also avoid giving your pet any seasoned or processed turkey products such as sausages or deli meats, as they often contain high amounts of sodium or fillers like preservatives, which can be detrimental to your furry friend's health. And make sure your dog doesn't eat turkey bones, which can be dangerous if chewed and swallowed.

The bottom line: If it's prepared appropriately by cooking it well without seasoning or additives, plain turkey provides numerous health benefits for dogs, and it's safe and easy on their digestive system.

Can cats eat turkey?

Turkey is a safe and nutritious food for cats to eat in moderation. It contains high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for feline health. However, it's important to note that not all parts of the turkey are safe for cats to consume. In fact, many commercial cat foods contain turkey as one of their main ingredients due to its nutritional value. Turkey provides an excellent source of lean protein, which supports muscle growth and repair in cats.

Turkey also contains vitamin B6, which helps in maintaining healthy brain function and preventing cognitive decline as your cat ages. It also provides iron, which plays a crucial role in red blood cell formation, which keeps your pet’s immune system strong.

Just keep in mind that you should avoid seasonings, and you should cook the meat as plainly (and thoroughly) as possible; feeding your cat seasoned or undercooked turkey can cause digestive problems. And pre-cooked turkey — including the kinds you'll find at a deli counter — often includes pre-added seasonings or preservatives that can be harmful to your cat's health. Finally, you should also make sure your cat doesn't eat turkey bones, which can be dangerous if chewed and swallowed.

The bottom line: Feeding your cat small amounts of cooked white meat from a boneless roasted turkey, or simply adding some canned plain shredded turkey, can be beneficial to their health. Just make sure they eat in moderation, and that they only eat plain unseasoned turkey with no additives or preservatives.

Information Purposes Only

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for pet-specific advice from your veterinarian. Never disregard your vet’s recommendations, or delay in acting on them, based on something you have read on this site. Regardless of how a food is rated here, any food that you give your pet can pose potential health risks, including allergic reactions, choking, or other health conditions such as bloat. Always monitor your pet while they’re eating, and never introduce a new food into your pet’s diet without first consulting your veterinarian. 

Pet Poison Emergency Protocol

If your pet is acting sick, call your regular veterinarian immediately. If your regular veterinarian is closed, call a nearby on-call veterinarian, animal urgent care, or veterinary emergency hospital. If your pet is not acting sick but you think they may have been exposed to a poison, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).

Food Safety Statuses


Could be given almost daily without harm

Safe in moderation

Not toxic, but should not be given regularly


Toxic or simply too risky to give to your pet