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Turkey necks, while often overlooked, have their fair share of recipes. Fried turkey necks are pretty tasty, and so is turkey neck gravy. However, as with most giblets, they’re usually discarded.
If you’re a no-waste type of person, you’re probably wondering if you can feed turkey necks to your dog instead of discarding them. Can dogs eat turkey necks safely? Let’s find out.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Turkey Necks?
Yes, dogs can absolutely eat turkey necks! They’re chewy, crunchy, and packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. They can be given as treats or included in a raw home-cooked meal.
When feeding your dog turkey necks, make sure they’re served raw. When cooked, the bones in cooked turkey necks turn hard and glass-like, which may break into dozens of sharp and pointy splinters when chewed. These splinters can cause serious and sometimes even life-threatening injuries.
Raw turkey necks consist of soft, pliable bone, cartilage, and connective tissue, with bits of meat still attached to the bone. A dog’s acidic stomach is designed to digest raw meat and soft bones without much issue. Turkey necks are just that; they’re so soft you can actually break them into two with bare hands.
If your dog has weak or missing teeth, grind the turkey necks using a meat grinder rather than cooking it. Trust me, cooking turkey necks do more harm than good. Raw turkey necks are safe for dogs.
Raw or dehydrated turkey necks come with multiple nutritional benefits. They’re fantastic sources of protein, iron, and vitamins B6 and B12.
Likewise, they’re packed with calcium and phosphorus, making them greatly beneficial for dogs with arthritis and joint issues.
Turkey necks, in particular, contain high amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin: minerals that are vital for bone development and protection.
Apart from the nutritional benefits, turkey necks help clean a dog’s teeth and exercise their jaws. Dogs also find chewing on raw bones and meat calming and comforting. Freeze-dried turkey necks are a great way to keep your pup occupied while home alone.
Feeding Turkey Necks to Dogs
If you’re planning to add them to your pup’s daily diet, turkey necks are best served with giblets and other “unwanted” cuts of meat. You can also mix them with puréed or dehydrated veggies and fruit.
Slowly introduce the new food to your dog and monitor them throughout the day. If they don’t show any adverse effects, like vomiting or diarrhea, you can serve the necks as often as two to three times per week depending on your pup’s size and activity level.
Turkey necks can easily reach 10 to 12 inches in length. Therefore, they’re best given to medium and large dogs. For small dogs, go for chicken necks or duck necks. They’re small but equally nutritious, therefore reducing the risk of choking hazards.
Feeding Cooked Turkey Necks to Dogs
It is not safe to feed cooked turkey necks to any size dog. The bones become sharp and brittle when cooked. They can splinter and become stuck in the digestive tract or cause other issues.
Turkey necks, whether raw, frozen, or dehydrated, are great sources of protein, calcium, and vitamins B6 and B12. They can be given as treats or added to a nutritionally balanced raw diet.
Caution: never feed cooked turkey necks to dogs! Cooked turkey necks aren’t safe for dogs as they can easily break and splinter when chewed.