Can Dogs Eat Ground Turkey?


Many dog owners may be wondering if ground turkey is good to feed their dog. 

Maybe they’ve got leftovers from Thanksgiving that they want to get rid of or have heard that ground turkey is cheaper and healthier than ground beef. 

Maybe others are looking for an alternative or supplement to their dog’s diet of regular dog food. 

Whatever the reason, if you’re wondering whether or not ground turkey is okay for dogs to eat, we’ve got you covered. 

In the information we’ve outlined in this article, we’ll be answering any questions you may have on this subject. 

Keep reading to get all the answers you need to your questions about feeding ground turkey to dogs. 

How Nutritious is Ground Turkey?

First things first, you can in fact feed ground turkey to your dog. 


But what about its nutrition content? 

Is it actually a good choice to feed this to your dog? Are there any potential health hazards that come with a dog eating ground turkey? 

It’s first important to note that turkey is a key ingredient in many commercial dog foods. 

This is a popular choice because of its nutritional value, containing high level of nutrients like riboflavin, phosphorus, and protein. 

Your local veterinarian can easily tell you how you should cook ground turkey if you want to launch a homemade dog food diet for your dog. 

On top of the key nutrients mentioned above, ground turkey also contains small levels of essential vitamins, like vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, and iron. 

It also contains a similar percentage of fats and sodium to ground beef. 

If you choose to go with a fat-free ground turkey option, it will have less calories overall than both the fatty variety and ground beef. 

Ground Turkey vs. Ground Beef vs. Ground Chicken

The differences between ground beef and ground turkey are very slight. 

In general, ground turkey has less calories, sodium, and fat content. 

However, it also provides slightly less iron and protein when compared with its beef counterpart. 

Again, the differences are so slight that they’re almost negligible. 

When compared to ground chicken, the results are about the same. 

Ground turkey is generally leaner than ground chicken, containing less calories and sodium content while also providing more iron and protein at the same time. 

Again, the differences are so slight that it’s not a huge advantage one way or the other. 

Overall, ground turkey is a great option to feed your dog if prepared correctly, without adding too much fatty seasonings and flavoring, like high volumes of butter and salt. 

When cooked plain, it will fill them up without causing any digestive issues. 

Extra seasonings, like butter, pepper, salts, or others, could cause indigestion or bloating in some dogs depending on the amount used. 

How Easy is it to Buy Ground Turkey?

Because ground turkey is generally consumed less than ground beef or ground chicken, it might be more difficult to find in stock at your local stores or online. 

We’ve checked a few large online retailers to see how difficult (or easy) it is to buy ground turkey right now and came away with some mixed results. 

Upon checking Walmart, arguably one of the largest grocery stores around, we discovered that they currently do not have ground turkey available for purchase (at the time of writing this article.) 

However, it looks like you might have better luck with stores in your local area. 

Other stores we checked included Costco, Hy-Vee, Kroger’s, Target, and Cub Foods. At most of these stores, ground turkey appeared to be in stock, available for online order or in store pickup. 

Under normal circumstances, you should have no trouble buying ground turkey at most local and online grocery stores. 

The price of ground turkey varied by store. 

Each of the following prices is specific to the time of writing this article, and they may change at future points in time. 

At Target, one pound of ground turkey is listed at $4.29. 

At Walmart, it’s listed for $3.54 per pound. 

A pound of ground turkey at the other stores listed above all fall somewhere between these two price points, so you can expect to pay anywhere from $3.50 to $4.50 per pound on average. 

When compared to the price of ground beef, it appears that ground turkey is around a dollar more expensive per pound at some locations, like Hy-Vee. 

However, at other stores, like Walmart, ground turkey is actually listed at a cheaper price point than ground beef. 

The price will depend largely on which store you choose to buy your ground beef or ground turkey at. 

Can I Feed My Dog Ground Turkey Raw?

So, is it fine to give raw ground turkey to your dog or do you have to cook it first? 

Well, we know that dogs are capable of digesting all kinds of raw meats without suffering any ill effects, right? 

While this is usually true, raw poultry is a high-risk meat when served raw and it comes with a few potential health risks.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that raw animal sourced proteins should generally not be fed to pets, including dogs. 

Raw poultry, turkey included, can contain salmonella when raw. 

As such, the AVMA recommends that such proteins undergo a process to eliminate pathogens, which in this case, is to simply cook the meat. 

Additionally, even if the turkey has been partially cooked, it still should not be fed to your dog. 

Partially cooked poultry has not been risen to the correct temperature required to eliminate all bacteria and pathogens present in the meat, which means your dog could get a nasty infection. 

Or perhaps the bacteria won’t affect them, but they could still harbor a subclinical illness from it. 

This is essentially an illness that does not affect the host but can still harm others around them. 

You wouldn’t want your dog giving you or your other pets salmonella, right? 

How Much Ground Turkey Should I Feed My Dog?

Like all living things, a dog’s diet should be a perfect balance of all types of food that they need to eat to get the required level of nutrients to keep their body healthy. 

As such, there is a certain amount of ground turkey you should be feeding you dog. 

If you plan on feeding ground turkey to your dog as a treat, the amount will vary based on their diet and how many calories they are ingesting daily. 

A good rule of thumb for dog treats is that they shouldn’t exceed more than 10% of their diet. 

This means that the ratio of treats to normal food should be low, as treats are usually meant to be a reward for good behavior. 

If your dog gets too used to having treats, they won’t have the same behavioral impact as if the treats are given more sparingly. 

But if you want to incorporate ground turkey into your dog’s daily diet as a main course or food supplement, the amount will be much higher. 

The general rule of thumb for caloric intake of dogs is that they should be eating 25 to 30 calories per pound of their body weight. 

This translates to about .5 cups of turkey per 10 lbs that they weigh. 

However, this isn’t all they should be eating throughout the day. 

They’ll also need other foods to balance out their diet, so try including vegetables or grains to make up for the rest of their required calories. 

If your dog is sick or has a sensitive stomach, try splitting their meals into four to six smaller portions throughout the day, rather than two or three larger meals. 

This will help ease the strain on their stomach while eating, which will help reduce the risk of vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive issues. 

Final Thoughts

It can be tricky to manage a dog’s diet on top of your own, and it can be even trickier to know which foods are good for them to eat and which aren’t. 

Luckily, you can rest easy knowing that ground turkey is one of those foods that should be completely fine for them to eat, provided it’s been cooked properly and doesn’t contain too many heavy seasonings. 

Pairing this lean protein with vegetables and grains is a great way to give your dog a healthy, balanced diet of homemade dog food. 

We hope the information we’ve outlined above has answered all your questions and concerns about feeding ground turkey to your dog. Remember these tips to ensure your dog gets the healthy and balanced diet it deserves! 

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!