Turkey Bones are a Danger to Your Dog - DogGear

Remember – Turkey Bones are a Danger to Your Dog

When we celebrate Thanksgiving, our dogs are usually part of the celebration. We feed them scraps off the table and delight in their antics when they see so many people showing up. If you’re a knowledgeable dog owner, though, you know better than give your dog any of the turkey, or more specifically the turkey bones.

Giving a dog a bone is very common, but we have to make an exception for the turkey variety. Here’s why you should keep these pesky things out of your dog’s reach (which includes the trash can):

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones of any variety, whether they’re of chicken or turkey, aren’t suitable for most dogs. This is because such bones are prone to breaking and splintering. This means that they can possibly lodge inside a dog’s throat, causing scratching, or worse, choking. Even if they do manage to get some splintered bones down, the bones can possibly puncture the stomach or the digestive tract from inside.

Preventative Measures

You can prevent your dog from munching on leftover turkey by wrapping everything up before storing it. If you’re throwing away the remains, make sure your trash can isn’t accessible to the dog. You might have to put it in a plastic container and cover everything in tight plastic wrap before disposing of the turkey.

Before the turkey dinner commences, make sure to warn your guests and the children about the dangers of feeding turkey bones to the dog. Many children are especially tempted to slip the dog some scraps from the table. If you feel like the temptation would be too much, keep the dog in another room or even the shed when dinner is going on. You can’t keep an eye on the children’s table at all times, especially during Thanksgiving!

What to Do

If you’ve found that your dog has eaten some of the turkey or its bones, you should consult the vet as soon as possible. However, since most vets are off on Thanksgiving when this is most likely to happen, you should conduct some research before the situation arises.

You might be able to get in touch with an emergency vet, who can visit or walk you through the necessary actions. The first of these would usually be to check for any choking or throat problems.

If you see that there’s no choking or strange behavior, your dog’s probably fine for now. Any gagging, retching, or choking, however, is a warning sign. The same goes for if the dog’s drinking an unusual amount of water, pacing, licking its lips, or isn’t able to stay in one place comfortably.

Feed the dog soft foods for the next few days, like cooked rice or bread. This would help provide a cushion for the bones as they’re being digested. Also be sure to monitor your dog for any telltale signs, especially with regard to their stools. Until the bones pass, it’s recommended to keep your dog as calm as possible.

What Not to Do

Along with known what actions to take it’s also important to know what to avoid. Many times, taking action without knowledge or experience might make the situation worse.

First of all, do not panic when you find out that your dog has eaten turkey bones. While these bones might potentially become a major problem, keep in mind that dogs possess a very strong stomach acid. This can help immensely in digesting the bones and passing them out as waste. While you might still have to get medical assistance, panicking is not going to help at all.

Your next instinct might be to try and induce vomiting as we might with a poisonous substance. But remember, the splintered bones are typically safer when passed through the digestive system. If you force them to enter the throat again, you might again be risking a choking hazard or a serious throat injury.


In order to have a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving with your beloved canine friend, you should always be on alert. Make sure that any unsafe items, especially turkey bones, are kept away from them. Filling them up probably won’t help much, but it’s worth trying out. Make sure that your dog has a favorite chew toy so that he or she will stay safe while not missing out on all the fun!


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