Turkey bacon is advertised as being a healthier version of the pork bacon we all know and love. The smell of sizzling bacon gets both people and dogs out of bed in the morning. We know, though, that this delicious breakfast will be accompanied by quite a few calories and some tasty fat. For this reason, we are often told that we need to keep bacon away from our dogs, but does this apply to turkey bacon as well?
Turkey bacon is typically safer for dogs than pork bacon, but there are still some guidelines you need to follow when offering this treat to your pup. To make sure you only choose the safest turkey bacon options for your furry friend, let’s discuss everything you need to know.
What Is Turkey Bacon?
Turkey bacon aims to be a healthier alternative to the pork bacon we’re used to. It’s made by grinding up turkey meat, pressing it into strips, and adding seasonings to mimic pork bacon. Some types of turkey bacon combine light and dark meat to create the stripes you see on pork bacon. Once you get turkey bacon on a pan, it typically cooks up just like pork bacon would.
Is It Okay for Dogs to Eat Turkey Bacon?
There is no doubt that turkey bacon is the healthier option when compared to pork bacon. Is it okay for dogs to eat, though? In general, turkey bacon is safe for dogs, as long as you only offer it in moderation. Choosing turkey bacon options with less sodium and fat is also important. While turkey bacon is not the optimal protein option for our canine friends, it should not cause any harm when following a few safety guidelines. Don’t worry, we will dive into each of the serving rules below!
How Much & How Often Can I Give My Dog Turkey Bacon?
Let’s discuss how much turkey bacon dogs can safely eat. This will vary based on your canine companion’s size and stomach sensitivity, but there are some general rules to follow.
Most dogs will have no complications when offered either half of a slice or one whole slice of turkey bacon. Small dogs should of course tread on the lower end of this scale. When it’s offered for the first time, start off with half of a slice or less.
In addition to only offering them a small serving, it’s wise to limit this to two to three times a week at most. No matter how low-calorie or low-sodium your turkey bacon of choice is, giving it to your dog too often can lead to eventual weight gain. We know our canine friends love this savory treat, but it should only be an occasional one.
Just remember to be sure that your dog’s serving of turkey bacon never exceeds the 10% treat rule for dogs. This means that only 10% of the calories your dog consumes each day should come from treats. The rest of their calories should come from their standard, high-quality, canine diet. If you are unsure if your dog is getting the nutrition they need, check out our detailed guide on the best dog food options.
How Should I Prepare Turkey Bacon for My Dog?
If you want to give your dog a taste of turkey bacon, cook a strip separately to better fit your dog’s needs. When preparing turkey bacon for your dog, it should be cooked free of oil, butter, seasonings, or any other toppers. It may sound plain to us, but it will still be a delicious treat for your pup.
Can Turkey Bacon Make My Dog Sick?
Turkey bacon can make your dog sick if they eat too much of it, or if it’s prepared in a way that is not safe for dogs. Dogs are sensitive to foods that are high in sodium or fat. As such, they can develop serious health complications if they consume too much of these ingredients.
If your dog eats a large serving of turkey bacon or a serving that contains butter and oil, they can be at risk of developing a condition known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can develop when a dog eats food that is high in fat. This can cause inflammation to develop in the pancreas. The pancreas plays a major role in digestion, as it contains digestive enzymes that help to break down food. When the pancreas is inflamed, these enzymes can leak out, causing digestion of the organ itself and the surrounding areas. This is not only extremely painful for the dog affected, but it can be fatal.
The other way that turkey bacon can make dogs sick is due to the sodium contents within the bacon. If a dog eats too much turkey bacon, the high levels of sodium can make them thirsty. In their thirst, dogs ma drink overly large amounts of water. Drinking too much water very quickly can lead to nausea and vomiting in dogs. It can also increase the risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat. This causes the stomach to twist, and can be fatal complication requiring immediate and aggressive vet care.
As you can see, it’s not worth it to offer your dog more than a small serving of turkey bacon! If you are looking for a healthier human food option that can be served as a regular treat, take a look at the many safe fruit options for dogs.
Can My Dog Eat All Forms of Turkey?
Turkey itself is not toxic to dogs, but the potential danger for dogs lies in the way it’s prepared. If any form of turkey is high in sodium or prepared with fatty ingredients, do not offer it to your dog. If it is cooked plain and is considered a lean portion of the meat, it may be just fine in small servings. In most cases, it’s just important to be careful with preparation.
My Dog Ate a Large Amount of Turkey Bacon – What Should I Do?
With your back turned for just a moment, you turn back around to find your plate of turkey bacon wiped clean. The only one who could be responsible is your dog, leading you to wonder what you should do now.
If your dog has just consumed a large serving of turkey bacon, we suggest giving your vet a call and describing the situation. Based on how many slices they ate and your dog’s weight, they can determine the best plan of action. If they think your dog ate enough turkey bacon to lead to complications, they may suggest that you come in and allow them to induce vomiting.
They may also suggest that you monitor your dog closely over the next 12-72 hours for any sign of gastrointestinal upset. This is the window that you would most likely see any complications. Every situation will vary, so it’s best to just give your vet a call to be safe.
Final Thoughts on Turkey Bacon for Dogs
Turkey bacon may be healthier for our dogs than pork bacon, but there are still rules you should follow when offering this savory treat to your pup. Be sure to always prepare their turkey bacon without any seasonings or fatty oils, and to never offer them more than a small serving at a time.
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The photo featured at the top of this post is © N K/Shutterstock.com
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