Can dogs eat turkey cold cuts?

In this brief discussion, we will answer the question “Can dogs eat turkey cold cuts?” We will also talk about the ingredients in turkey cold cuts that could pose risks to your dog’s health and how to safely feed turkey to dogs. 

Can dogs eat turkey cold cuts?

No, dogs cannot eat cold cut turkey, also commonly called lunch meats or deli meats. The nitrates and nitrites included in most commercial cold turkey cuts can be hazardous to dogs. Your dogs may vomit and have diarrhoea if you give them too much of these preservatives.

Additionally, you should refrain from giving your dog raw meat or chicken since these foods may carry bacteria like salmonella and E. coli that can cause serious sickness or even death if not handled appropriately.

Cold cuts and lunch meat are unhealthy for dogs and therefore to be avoided. Even natural lunch meat is typically healthy in very tiny quantities, processed deli meats include high levels of sodium and a number of potentially toxic compounds, such as nitrates, that could impair your dog’s health.

What ingredients in turkey cold cuts are harmful for dogs?

Some elements are common to all types of lunch meat, while others are dependent on the particular cut or seasoning. So that you know exactly what to look for, let’s examine each one in turn.


To help preserve cold turkey and keep it fresh until you consume it, salt is necessary. While there are low-sodium alternatives available, which are typically healthier for both people and dogs, lunch meat will always be on the salty side.

High sodium content for a dog means that a 30-pound dog shouldn’t consume more sodium than 100 mg daily. In addition to needing more sodium, larger dogs will also be able to handle more.

The majority of animals can tolerate quite an amount of sodium without too many issues, though it wouldn’t be best for your dog. However, the negative effects of too much salt can be serious if it becomes a habit. 

Dogs who are deficient in salt, an essential electrolyte, may experience confusion, lethargy, or even convulsions. However, you run the risk of giving your dog indigestion and upset stomach if you only give him a few slices here and there.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Since they aid in curing and preserve the meat, nitrates and nitrites are essential components of turkey cold cuts. Additionally, it imparts a distinctive flavour that most people instinctively connect with turkey cold cuts.

However, nitrates play a significant role in the issue for both humans and canines.

Although we don’t quite know how much nitrate is too much for dogs, it seems reasonable to assume that a small amount of turkey cold cut once or twice a month won’t have a major negative impact on your dog’s health. 

It’s normally advised to just avoid giving our dogs lunch meat because it won’t do them any good and won’t even do them any harm.

Too many calories

If a dog’s daily nutritional requirements are already being covered by dog food, the additional lunch meat may be 20% too much for them, which can swiftly result in obesity. Again, this is an issue with any human diet, but lunch meat in particular can be troublesome because various cuts can be so heavy in fat.

Additional spices and flavours

After that, there’s the matter of seasonings and flavourings, some of which can be harmful to dogs. Turkey cold cuts or lunch meat flavours can be rather diverse, and things have changed significantly from something as basic as honey ham.

Instead, there are countless flavour options available, each of which may carry different dangers for dogs. In addition to adding flavour to your food, chives, leeks, onions, and garlic can seriously harm your dog’s health. 

Although your dog may have clinical symptoms of disease, such as vomiting, right away after consuming any of these, the complete onset of symptoms may take several days to manifest.

Your dog might end up experiencing gastrointestinal tract inflammation, often known as gastroenteritis. There might also be oral irritation, drooling, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

How can I safely feed turkey to my dog?

There are a few things you should be aware of in order to feed your dog turkey this Thanksgiving safely.

  • Ignore the skin. For dogs, all of that fat and seasoning is hazardous. While the seasonings can aggravate your dog’s stomach, the fat levels can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Make sure your dog only consumes cooked, plain turkey meat. Garlic has the potential to be harmful in big doses, while onions are toxic to dogs.
  • Feed turkey to your dog in moderation. Before giving your dog turkey, consult your veterinarian about incorporating food scraps into their diet, especially if your dog already has a health issue like diabetes.
  • Make sure the meat you serve your dog is free of bones.


We answered the question “Can dogs eat turkey cold cuts?” We also talked about the ingredients in turkey cold cuts that could pose risks to your dog’s health and how to safely feed turkey to dogs.