Raw turkey necks for dogs in a clear food storage container without a lid

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed + More

Raw turkey necks for dogs have been a staple food in my home since 2015, alongside other cuts of turkey meat.

That’s when I switched my then-Boxer mix pups Missy & Buzz from kibble to a raw dog food diet.

Spoiler alert: They loved eating raw turkey necks, and so does my current pup Wally! He’s a Feist mix.

In this blog post, I’ll share how I feed them whole as well as:

  • Why are raw turkey necks safe for dogs?
  • Benefits of turkey necks for dogs
  • 2 different ways of feeding them
  • A feeding video

Also:

  • How to prevent dietary induced Hyperthyroidism in dogs
  • When not to feed turkey necks and alternatives
  • Can dogs eat raw turkey giblets?

And last but not least:

  • Where pet parents can buy raw turkey necks for dogs in the US, including a 15% off coupon code
  • An alternative for raw turkey necks if you’re not quite ready for the raw deal

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed & More

2 black Boxer mixes about to eat raw turkey necks for dogs

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated in 2024Some of the links are affiliate links I earn money through at no additional cost to you.

Why Are Raw Turkey Necks Safe For Dogs?

First things first, let’s talk about how safe it is to feed your pups raw turkey necks aka raw meaty bones.

After all, feeding raw turkey bones can be intimidating for new raw feeders!

I know this because I’ve been there and felt that way!

I remember coming up with all sorts of horror scenarios like turkey necks being a choking hazard and my pups dying a miserable death.

A 5 lb bag of Frozen Turkey Necks for Dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food
A 5 lb bag of frozen raw turkey necks for dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food

However, none of that happened and I was able to quickly overcome my fears.

That’s because I saw that Missy and Buzz instinctively knew how to eat their turkey necks.

That said, 9 years of feeding raw turkey necks have definitely turned me into a confident raw turkey neck feeder.

Let me explain why they’re so safe for dogs to eat.

In raw feeding, there are 3 main types of meat that you feed in different quantities:

(1) Muscle meat (70-80%, depending on whether or not you add plant matter)

(2) Secreting organs (10%)

(3) Raw meaty bones (aka RMBs)

Turkey Necks are Raw Meaty Bones

They consist of soft, pliable bone and turkey meat that’s still attached to the bone.

To be more specific, turkey necks consist of roughly:

  • 40% bone
  • 60% muscle meat

You’ll want to take that ratio into account when you’re making DIY homemade raw dog food.

Turkey Necks are Soft and Pliable

One of the reasons why they're so safe to eat is because they're soft and pliable.

Dogs have a very acidic stomach environment that's designed to digest raw meat, including soft, raw bones, without a problem.

How to Cook Turkey Necks for Dogs

I keep getting asked if it's OK to cook raw bones intended for feeding, including turkey necks.

No, it's not.

I repeat:

DO NOT COOK TURKEY NECKS!!!

Turkey necks are not safe to feed once they've been cooked.

That's because cooking changes the density of the bone structure and makes them brittle.

When they break, they're pointy and can cause intestinal damage.

So it's important to NEVER feed your dog cooked bones.

Only feed raw meaty bones. Those are soft!

Thawed raw Turkey Necks for Dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food in a plastic bowl
Thawed raw turkey necks for dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food

Benefits of Turkey Necks for Dogs

Although raw meaty bones like turkey necks only make up 10% of raw dog food, they're an essential component of it.

Without them, raw dog food would not be balanced and would cause nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Turkey Necks

That's because raw meaty bones like turkey necks are a great source of lean protein, calcium and phosphorus.

Here's a quick overview of the most prominent nutrients in turkey necks:

100 g = 3 oz Nutrients in Raw Turkey Necks
Protein (%) 16
Fat (%) 9.5
Moisture (%) 70
Calcium (mg) 1190
Phosphorous (mg) 670
Potassium (mg) 270
Sodium (mg) 90
Magnesium (mg) 134
Chloride (mg) 76
Zinc (mg) 3.8
Vitamin A (iu) 216
Vitamin D (iu) 7.54
Vitamin B3 (iu) 2.8
Vitamin B9 (mcg) 2.9
Choline (mg) 34.6
Taurine (mg) 128
Purines (mg) 121

Dog Joint Support

Raw turkey necks are also rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, the building blocks of cartilage and connective tissue.

As a natural medicine for dog arthritis, that makes them great for joint support - and yep, that means they can also help your dog with mobility issues.

That makes them so much more efficient and healthier than synthetic joint support pills!

Doggie Dental Health

Did you know that 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have periodontal disease? That's according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Yikes.

Keeping that in mind, you'll appreciate the fact that whole turkey necks naturally clean and strengthen your dog's teeth!

This type of dental care for dogs is so much more enjoyable AND less expensive than teeth brushing and dental cleanings at your vet's.

They also provide mental stimulation and a fabulous jaw workout.

That's because chewing is a natural dog behavior and should be supported.

Especially if you don't want them to chew on inappropriate items like your shoes or kids' toys!

Good to know: The turkey necks from Raw Paws Pet Food are sourced from turkeys raised on family farms in the USA.

They're also shipped without the turkey skin on them.

How to Feed Your Dog Turkey Necks

There are a few different ways of how you can feed your dog raw turkey necks.

  1. One option is to feed them whole as part of a balanced raw meal.
  2. Another option is to feed them ground as part of a balanced raw meal.
  3. Of course you can also use turkey bones like necks (and others) to make highly nutritious bone broth.
  4. You can also add raw turkey necks to your dog's weekly dental cleaning routine, even if you usually feed pre-made raw dog food (or even kibble).

Good to know: Whole turkey necks from Raw Paws Pet Food come in different sizes and weigh between 8-13 oz.

So keeping in mind that turkey necks have about 40% bone content, you'll find anywhere between 3.2 oz - 5.2ish oz of bone on their turkey necks.

That's important information to know when you're including them in raw meal prep.

The rest of the turkey neck is meat that counts towards your dog's muscle meat allowance!

Brown Feist mix eating a raw turkey neck out of someone's hand

1. Feed Turkey Necks Whole

As I mentioned at the very beginning of this blog post, both Wally, Missy & Buzz eat their raw turkey necks whole.

I combine them with other cuts of muscle meat and secreting organs for a whole meal.

I also add some plant matter several times per week.

When I do, I either make my own veggie and fruit smorgasbord.

For example puréed spinach, celery, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and blueberries.

Or, I add a dehydrated veggie & herb pre-mix like Dr. Harvey's Paradigm. That makes veggie meal prep a lot quicker.

The homemade raw dog food in the bowl above features:

How to Feed Turkey Necks to Gulpers

Now, there's a way to feed turkey necks to gulpers that keeps them from inhaling the whole thing.

Hold One End

So if you have a gulper, you can hold one end of the raw turkey neck while letting your dog chew on the other end.

That makes your dog chew more slowly and prevents them from swallowing the entire neck in one piece. It also teaches them polite behavior around high-value food items.

I demonstrate how you can do this in the video below:

How To Feed Your Dog 🐕 🦃 RAW TURKEY NECKS From Raw Paws Pet Food

Use A Turkey Neck Holder

A K9sOverCoffee newsletter reader, Jennifer, asked if a turkey neck holder might be an alternative to holding the turkey neck in her hand.

You know, sort of like a bully stick holder for dogs.

That's because she can't hold turkey necks for all 3 of her dogs at the same time.

Technically speaking, that's an option.

However, I don't think that something like that exists, so you'd have to get creative and DIY one.

One option is using a large KONG dog toy as a holder of sorts.

It would have to be the biggest one, which is the KONG Extreme in XXL.

Just FYI, the one I'm about to give to my dog Wally in the picture below is the KONG Extreme in size M.

That one has an opening of 1 inch, which would be too small for a turkey neck or a duck neck. And my guess is that it would be a bit too large for a chicken neck.

But for a raw chicken neck, you could use an X-Small or Small KONG with a smaller opening.

Wally and his frozen Kong stuffed with ground venison from Raw Paws Pet Food

Now, I personally haven't tried that approach so you'd have to test it.

But I have used a KONG as a DIY bully stick holder, and that worked just fine, so give it a shot!

Update: Here are two more dog toys that work well as turkey neck holders! Thank you to my Instagram follower @thepointerbrothers21 for pointing these out:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by thePointerBrothers (@thepointerbrothers21)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by thePointerBrothers (@thepointerbrothers21)

2. Feed Them Ground Or Cut Up

If your dog has weak teeth or misses several or all of his teeth, you can grind the turkey necks for him. You can do that with powerful meat grinders such as these.

If your pup has no teeth issues and you prefer adding a little turkey neck to your pup's individual raw dog food containers, just cut them up!

But watch your fingers and be sure to use a sharp, serrated breadknife.

Also, don't offer small, cut up turkey necks to large dogs.

That defeats the purpose of offering raw meaty bones as a natural toothbrush and a boredom buster dog chew.

Cutting Up Raw Turkey Necks For Raw Dog Food Meal Prep

3. Use Turkey Necks To Make Nutritious Bone Broth For Dogs

You can also use whole, raw turkey necks to make delicious and nutritious bone broth for your pup and yourself!

Bone broth is great for dog joint support because the chondroitin and glucosamine seeps out of the bones and into the broth.

It's also great for an upset doggie stomach, detoxifies the liver and can work as a meal topper for picky eaters.

For a homemade bone broth recipe, click here.

Just a heads up: You don't have to use a variety of raw meaty bones for bone broth if you don't have access to them.

It's fine to just use turkey necks and soup bones.

4. Add Raw Turkey Necks to Your Dog's Dental Health Routine

Even if you don't need whole turkey necks to make homemade raw dog food, you can add them as dog treats of sorts to your pup's weekly oral health routine.

They're a great, natural tool to help scrape plaque off your dog's teeth and massage their gums.

Plus, chewing on real turkey bones is one of the most natural dog behaviors that exercise their jaws and battle boredom!

When Not To Feed Your Dog Turkey Necks

However, if your dog has a food sensitivity to turkey, you obviously shouldn't feed him or her anything turkey, including turkey necks.

In that case, you'll need to feed raw meaty bones from other animals. For example, duck necks or chicken necks.

Tip: Use my affiliate discount code K9Savings for an additional 15% off from Raw Paws Pet Food.

If turkey necks are too large for your pup, try feeding smaller raw meaty bones like chicken necks, feet and wings.

Alternatively, break or cut your turkey necks into smaller pieces.

Note: For variety's sake, offer your dog different raw meaty bones, ideally from different animals.

This also ensures that they'll get more nutrients as different cuts of meat from different animals vary heavily in nutrients.

How to Prevent Dietary Induced Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

It can also prevent dietary induced hyperthyroidism in your dog.

This condition can be caused when dogs eat TOO MANY turkey necks (and head meat), or only turkey necks for their raw meaty bone allowance.

It still seems to be a rare occurrence that's likely linked to a predisposition in some dogs towards hyperthyroidism.

The reason for this is that raw meaty neck bones CAN include thyroid tissue if it hasn't been removed by the processing facility.

To avoid this, make sure to alternate your raw meaty bones!

Other RMBs you can feed are:

Tip: Raw Paws Pet Food has a great mix of meaty lamb bones and meaty goat bones!

They're a mix of these raw meaty bones from the respective animal:

  • Rib Bones
  • Femur Bones
  • Neck Bones
  • Tail Bones

So again, for variety's sake it's important to rotate what you're feeding your pup!

You should never feed just one single recipe but really alternate between different cuts and protein sources.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Turkey Giblets?

They sure can!

Turkey giblets are a collective term for the following turkey meat:

Turkey hearts and gizzards count as muscle meat, while livers are secreting organs.

An Alternative For Raw Turkey Necks

If you're not quite ready to take the cold raw turkey neck approach, you can also offer your pup freeze-dried turkey necks!

With this option, the water content is removed from raw turkey necks.

This is NOT the equivalent of cooking the turkey necks, so it's a safe option to feed your dog turkey necks.

Tip: If you want to support your local community, you can also find freeze-dried turkey necks from Vital Essentials at select pet retailers.

They're usually independently owned stores that carry items from VE's so-called raw bar. Again, you can only buy these at brick-and-mortar stores, not online.

Checking out Vital Essentials Raw Bar with Boxer mix Missy at a local pet retail store
My late pup Missy sitting in front of VE's raw bar at Naturally Unleashed, an independently owned pet retailer in Fayetteville, NC

Turkey Necks For Dogs: Bottom Line

Raw turkey necks weigh anywhere from 8-13 oz and have a bone content of about 40%.

These turkey bones are naturally rich in calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine and chondroitin. Those are important for strong bones and healthy joints.

Raw meaty bones like turkey necks are also great to naturally help clean dog teeth, provide a jaw workout and mental stimulation.

But remember to only feed your dog RAW turkey necks!

That's when they're soft and pliable, and your dog's acidic stomach has no problem digesting them.

An acceptable alternative are freeze-dried turkey necks for dogs.

When you cook bones like turkey necks, they become brittle and can easily break. That's when they're pointy and dangerous.

So remember not to feed your dog any cooked bones.

The only time when cooking turkey neck bones for dogs is OK is when you use them to make homemade bone broth.

Other than that, you can either feed your dog whole raw turkey necks or grind them with a meat grinder.

If you have a gulper and want to feed a whole turkey neck, hold one end of the neck and let your dog chew on the other end.

I demonstrate this in my turkey neck feeding video here.

If you'd like to go ahead and order a bag of turkey necks from Raw Paws Pet Food, just click the button below.

Remember to use my affiliate discount code K9Savings for 15% off.

Unless you like paying full price, ha!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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4 responses to “Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed + More”

  1. Deb Avatar
    Deb

    Hello I have a dog that is only tolerating turkey. I have an older recipe with 5 lbs ground Turkey necks and 2lbs turkey organ mix (liver, heart and gizzards) along with kale, broccoli, dandelion greens and blueberries mix and raw pumpkin seed powder. At the time it was considered balanced. Does this still go as balanced ?
    Thank you
    Deb

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hi Deb, thanks for your question – and dang, it’s tricky to feed a dog balanced raw meals if they only tolerate one protein source like yours! How long have you been feeding your pup this particular meal, and are you sure that your pup can’t have rabbit or a more exotic meat like beaver, camel or kangaroo as well? Also, what about oily fish like herring, mackerel or sardines? And oysters?

      I’m asking because it’s always best to rotate the cuts of meat you feed as much as possible. If you can truly only feed turkey, you’re definitely limited in your options and the recipe you’re feeding is pretty solid, but I’d suggest to at least rotate the raw meaty bone you’re feeding.

      That’s because if you only feed neck meat, there’s a chance that your pup can develop dietary induced hyperthyroidism. So I’d rotate between the turkey necks and turkey wings, for example. Or legs if you can get them (I get them when my boyfriend hunts turkey, so maybe see about making friends with hunters in your area).

      I’d also rotate the veggies, fruit and seeds you’re offering if your pup tolerates other types of plant matter. For example, spinach, hempseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. Make sure to soak your seeds and nuts overnight and then grind them:

      https://www.k9sovercoffee.com/raw-dog-food-nutrition/seeds-and-nuts-for-dogs-benefits-how-to-feed/

  2. Johanna Avatar
    Johanna

    Hello, I am very new to raw feeding and haven’t actually begun yet. I’ve wanted to feed raw for a while now, but I have so many questions, and I must say, it is such a relief to find this blog. I’d ask my vet all my questions but they say don’t feed raw (they told me to feed purina, yuck). I’m currently feeding my boy homemade cooked food, but I really want to make the jump…I’m mostly just hoping I can afford it (my dog is 60 lbs, and he’s young and active, so he eats a decent amount). I’ve heard when feeding raw meat the meat must be frozen first? Is that true? Does it need to be frozen for a certain length of time? I bought turkey necks at the store recently and I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to try and feed him one…my anxiety keeps telling me he’s going to die from an intestinal blockage or a pointy bone.

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hi Johanna!

      I think it’s awesome that you’re already feeding your pup homemade cooked dog food, that’s a serious step up from kibble, and certainly Purina! You’re right, yuck. My first traditional vet was pushing Science Diet on me, and I fed it for a while not knowing any better.

      If you’re already feeding homemade cooked dog food and you can afford that, there shouldn’t be a difference in price compared to homemade raw dog food.

      I did some quick math and depending on whether or not your pup’s at their target body weight with 60 lbs (not chubby and needing to loose weight), you’re looking at feeding him somewhere between 19 and 24 oz per day.

      That’s for an adult dog (growing puppies would need more).

      Just out of curiosity, which ingredients do you use to make your own dog food?

      As far as needing to freeze raw meat before feeding it, you only need to do that with meat from “wild”, non farmed animals. Like deer and wild hogs. Also with fish from the Pacific. You do that to get rid of potential parasites.

      If you feed those types of meats, you’ll want to freeze them for 3 weeks prior to feeding.

      Regarding your concern about feeding bones, I get it. I was really nervous at first too. But most dogs instinctually know how to eat raw meaty bones correctly without gulping them. For starters, I’d still hold one end of the bone and let your dog chew on the other end.

      Now, RAW bones are not pointy!

      Cooked bones are brittle and pointy when they break.

      So never feed cooked bones, only the raw kind. Also don’t feed any raw weight bearing bones from large animals like cows. Those are very dense and can cause cracked teeth.

      Raw meaty bones that are fine to feed are the kind from poultry and small animals like rabbits. For example, chicken leg quarters, duck frames, rabbit heads.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to comment back here or send me an email at barbara@k9sovercoffee.com 🙂

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