Thanksgiving feast with family isn’t complete without eating a turkey.
Your furry friend enjoys the holiday feast, too, especially chewing on turkey bones.
However, you may wonder if it’s safe to let them indulge.
After all, turkey leg bones make up a large part of the turkey and are very hard.
Thankfully, there are ways you can let your dog enjoy the feast safely.
So, can dogs eat turkey leg bones?
Dogs can eat turkey leg bones but exercise caution because they are hard and can splinter easily.
This can cause problems for your dog if they swallow large pieces or chunks of bone.
However, turkey leg bones supply essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that are good for your dog’s health.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about feeding your dog turkey leg bones, including the benefits and risks.
We’ll also give you some tips on preparing the bones and how to keep your dog safe while they’re enjoying their Thanksgiving feast.
How to Give Turkey Leg Bones to Dogs: Cooked or Raw?
Dogs are versatile eaters and can digest both cooked and raw bones.
For instance, while preparing the Thanksgiving turkey, give your dog the raw turkey feet; these are safe for them to consume as long as they’re fresh.
Alternatively, cook the turkey feet until they’re soft, and let your dog enjoy them as a chewy treat.
However, what is the difference between raw and cooked bones?
Cooked Turkey Leg Bones
Cooked turkey feet are brittle and may splinter when your dog chews on them.
This causes problems if your dog swallows large pieces or chunks of bone, which could get stuck in their digestive system.
Once the bone splinter into shards, it leads to an obstruction or perforates the intestines, which is life-threatening.
The risk of mouth injury and choking is also higher with cooked bones.
Raw Turkey Leg Bones
Raw turkey feet are softer and pliable, making them a safer option for your dog.
The risk of mouth injury and choking is lower with raw bones since they’re more flexible.
Raw bones are also less likely to splinter into shards that could cause an obstruction or perforate the intestines.
However, raw bones may contain bacteria that could make your dog sick.
To reduce the risk of contamination, only give your dog raw turkey leg bones from a trusted source, such as a reputable pet store or butcher.
You should also wash your hands and all surfaces that come into contact with raw turkey using hot, soapy water.
What are the Risks of Feeding Turkey Leg Bones to My Dog?
Feeding your pet turkey leg bones comes with some risks that you should be aware of, such as:
Hard turkey leg bones risk damaging your dog’s teeth and gums, leading to periodontitis.
This is an inflammation of the tissues and bones around the teeth.
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Pawing at the mouth
- Broken teeth
- Loss of appetite.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.
For instance, surgical removal of damaged teeth may be necessary to relieve pain and prevent the spread of infection.
Perhaps your dog might escape tooth damage but end up with cuts or scrapes on their gums while chewing on hard turkey leg bones.
There is also the risk of damaging jaws or fracturing teeth.
If you notice your dog is in pain or bleeding from their mouth, take them to the vet immediately for treatment.
Dogs can swallow large pieces of bone, which leads to constipation.
The bone may also scratch the lining of your dog’s intestines, causing bleeding.
If your dog is constipated, they may strain to defecate, have small, hard stools, or be unable to defecate.
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain.
Turkey bones pose a choking hazard, especially cooked bones, since they are brittle and can splinter easily.
To reduce the risk of your dog choking on turkey bones, supervise them while eating and ensure they’re only chewing on small pieces.
What are the Benefits of Feeding My Dog Turkey Leg Bones?
In moderation, feeding your dog turkey leg bones have some benefits, such as:
- Cleans teeth: Chewing on hard bones removes plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, keeping them healthy and reducing the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Dogs’ saliva also contains enzymes that kill bacteria and clean their mouths.
- Provides essential nutrients: Turkey leg bones are a good source of protein, fat, and minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. These nutrients are essential for your dog’s overall health. For instance, calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, while phosphorus helps with cell growth, kidney function, and muscle contraction.
- Aids in digestion: Chewing on bones helps massage your dog’s gums and stimulate saliva production. This aids in the digestion of food and keeps the mouth moist.
- Boosts mental stimulation: Chewing on bones relieves boredom and provides mental stimulation for dogs. This is especially beneficial for dogs that tend to be anxious or destructive when left alone. Thus, provide distraction by giving your dog a turkey leg bone to chew on when you leave the house.
How to Prepare Turkey Leg Bones for Dogs
Whether you give your dog raw or cooked turkey bones, it’s essential to prepare them correctly to reduce the risk of injury or illness.
When giving your dog turkey bones, always supervise them, and remove the bone when they’re finished chewing.
Here are some tips on how to prepare turkey bones for your dog:
Clean the Turkey Feet
Cleaning the turkey feet is important because they can harbor bacteria.
To clean them, scrub the turkey feet with hot water.
You can also soak them in a vinegar solution for 30 minutes to kill bacteria.
However, remember to rinse the bones with clean water to remove traces of vinegar.
Cook the Turkey Bones
If you’re giving your dog cooked turkey bones, cook them until they’re soft.
This will make them easier to chew and less likely to splinter.
For instance, boil the turkey bones for 30 minutes or bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
Turkey feet comprise tendons, muscles, bones, skin, ligaments, claws, and meat that are safe for your dog to consume.
They contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which are beneficial for your dog’s joints.
Most dogs will eat the entire foot, including the pads.
However, expect a little mess when your dog starts eating turkey feet, so have some paper towels handy.
Although dogs can eat turkey leg bones, they have some risks.
These include choking, constipation, and damage to the teeth or jaw.
To reduce the risk of these problems, supervise your dog while eating turkey feet and remove the bone when they’re finished.