Turkey necks offer many nutritional benefits to a dog’s diet. They are high in protein, and contain calcium, phosphorous and other important minerals. Additionally, turkey necks are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, which are both known to support the joint health and mobility of dogs. Turkey necks are also healthy, fully digestible chews, supporting canine gum and dental health.
Most of us have been given the advice to never give poultry bones to a dog. Despite its prevalence, this well intended advice is only partially correct. It is true that the bones of cooked, boiled or fried chicken, turkey or other poultry should never be given to a dog. The high cooking temperatures turn poultry bones into hard, glass like structures, which then breaks into sharp and pointy splinters if dogs chew on them. These splinters can cause serious injuries.
Raw, freeze-dried or dehydrated poultry bones are considered safe treats for dogs. In contrast to cooked poultry bones, their texture is rather soft and brittle. When chewed, they will crush, but not break into pointy objects. This is especially true for whole poultry parts, where the bones are still surrounded by connective tissue and meat. Examples include: chicken feet, chicken necks, duck feet, duck necks, or turkey necks. These parts make healthy, nutritious and fully digestible dog chews, and can even substitute for parts of your canine’s diet.
Dog Eating a Dehydrated Turkey Neck
Raw or dehydrated turkey necks are not only safe for your dogs to eat, but they also offer many nutritional benefits to your canine’s diet, including:
Countless studies have shown the powerful positive effects of the oral supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin on joint health, arthritis and consequently the overall mobility of dogs and cats.¹ ² In fact, if your pet is suffering from arthritis, there is a high likelihood that your veterinarian will recommend glucosamine and chondroitin to treat your pet.
If you prefer to give your dog natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin rather than in pill form, you may want to consider turkey necks. The glucosamine and chondroitin found in the cartilage and connective tissue of turkey necks is in a “bio-available” form. This means that it is already in the most digestible and ready-to-use, natural form. Thus, this makes turkey necks a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs.
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs, affecting 76% of all canines in the United States. Since 2006, there has been a 23.3% increase in the prevalence of dental disease in dogs, with steady growth each year.³
Dental care for dogs is important. If left untreated, dental disease not only leads to bad breath, but also inflamed gums and compromised teeth. It can even become a source of infection affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys of your dog.⁴
One way to ensure the dental health of our canines is the regular brushing of their teeth. This should ideally be done daily, using special toothpaste for dogs.
Turkey necks are healthy dental chews for dogs. If brushing your canine’s teeth is not your thing, or your dog will not tolerate it, why not give them turkey necks instead? The chewing process will naturally aid the removal of plaque and tartar build-up on their teeth.
Dog trainers often recommend the use of Kong toys stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter to occupy a “busy” dog who finds too many undesirable things to do around the house. Turkey necks are fun for your dog to chew on, and a great alternative option to provide entertainment for a busy dog.
Canines who are eating a large turkey neck will often plant their front feet on the bone to fix it to the ground. This makes gnawing down a turkey neck a physical exercise involving not only their jaw muscles, but also their neck, legs, shoulders and back.
Lastly, turkey necks are an easy way to add variety to the so often monotone diet of our canines.
Raw turkey necks (fresh or frozen) are available in farmers markets, butcher shops and in the meat department of grocery stores. If you are not into raw feeding, go for dehydrated turkey necks instead. Dehydrated turkey necks can be found online, or in well-assorted pet supply stores.
When buying freeze-dried or dehydrated turkey necks for dogs, we strongly advise against any products imported from China. While they may be slightly cheaper than dog treats made in the United States, various pet food recalls over the last few years indicate that not all Chinese manufacturers have implemented sufficiently effective quality control measures.
Dehydrated Turkey Necks
Always feed bones in a supervised environment. Ideally you want to see your canine chewing down the neck bones and only swallowing the pieces they have bitten off (see video above). If your dog is a “gulper,” and has a tendency to swallow things whole, we suggest that you hold the neck in your hand and let them chew off small pieces.
Turkey necks can be given to canines of all ages, but when feeding to a senior dog, or one who has compromised tooth health, be especially diligent in making sure they can handle the bone well.
There is no specific formula how many turkey necks you can give to your dog. Depending on the size, we suggest giving them a half to one complete turkey neck two to three times per week as a chew. Depending on the diet and activity level of your dog, you might want to consider reducing their meals on those days. Please always ensure that your canine has access to plenty of fresh water. This is especially important when giving them freeze-dried or dehydrated turkey necks.
If your dog is not used to a raw diet or dehydrated bones, we suggest that you start slow. Giving small amounts of turkey neck twice per week will allow them to adjust to the new, healthy addition to their diet.
We’d love to hear from you! Have you ever given turkey necks to your dog? What are your experiences?