How to feed turkey necks for dogs and more

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed + More

Raw turkey necks for dogs have been a staple food in my home since 2015.

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

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 to buy raw turkey necks for dogs in the US, including a 15% off coupon code

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed & More

Turkey necks for dogs: How to feed

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated in 2023. Some 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. After all, feeding raw bone 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 my pups choking on turkey necks and dying a miserable death.

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed
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.

I also began by holding one end of the turkey neck and letting the pups chew on the other end.

That way I made sure that they didn’t try to eat it whole.

It also teaches them polite behavior around high-value food items while humans hold or touch the food.

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 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!

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed
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.

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

They're also rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, which makes them great for joint support.

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

Whole turkey necks naturally clean and strengthen your dog's teeth. No more teeth brushing required!

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.

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 them 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.

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!

1. Feed Them Whole

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

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

Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed
Boxer mixes Missy and Buzz getting ready to eat whole raw turkey necks

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.

I use Dr. Harvey's Green Superfood Pre-Mix Paradigm to put vegetables in raw dog food
Turkey Necks for Dogs: How to Feed
Wally and his raw meal featuring a whole turkey neck from Raw Paws Pet Food

This particular meal features:

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

2. Feed Them Ground Or Cut Up

If your dog has weak teeth or misses several or all of his teeth, he obviously won't be able to eat whole turkey necks.

In that case, you'll have to 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.

Cutting Up Raw Turkey Necks For Raw Dog Food Meal Prep

3. Use Turkey Necks To Make Nutritious Bone Broth

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 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 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 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 several different cuts of turkey:

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

Turkey Necks For Dogs: Bottom Line

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

They're 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.

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 necks 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!

Note Regarding The 2023 Turkey Neck Giveaway

Our 2023 Turkey Neck Giveaway has come to an end. We'll soon offer a new giveaway for a different cut of raw meat. Once we do, you'll find the link to it here.

  • Jan 1, 2023 Congrats to the lucky winner, Mary!
  • April 1, 2023 Congrats to the lucky winner, Michaela!
  • July 1, 2023 Congrats to the lucky winner, Deborah!
  • October 1, 2023 Congrats to the lucky winner, JoAnn!
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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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