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Home > Dogs > How to Cook Ground Turkey for Dogs: Vet Approved Recipes

How to Cook Ground Turkey for Dogs: Vet Approved Recipes

Raw ground turkey meat

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Ground turkey can be a good addition to many dog’s diets and cooking it by itself is rather simple. You can cook it just like you would for human consumption, but without any added spices or herbs. Many spices that humans often use for their meat aren’t safe for canines to consume. For instance, both garlic and onions are toxic to dogs.1

However, it can’t be the only thing they consume. While dogs are carnivores, they need more nutrients than just those offered by ground turkey. Therefore, while you can use it as a supplement, it shouldn’t make up the totality of their diet.

In many recipes, you’ll be mixing the ground turkey with other ingredients. While it is rather difficult to give your canine a complete diet with a homemade meal, it can be used as a supplement, to add to their nutrition.

These recipes have been approved by a veterinarian because they include only dog-friendly ingredients. However, the recipes are not complete and balanced meals to feed your dog on a daily basis. They are great add-ons to your dog’s diet but are only meant to be fed on occasion and not as regular staple meals. Please consult your veterinarian to help you determine the best diet for your dog.

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Simple Recipe with Brown Rice

This recipe is a simple way to cook turkey for dogs if you’re looking to round out their diet. It includes some olive oil to prevent all the ingredients from sticking to the pan, vegetables for added nutrients, and brown rice as a carbohydrate and fiber source.

Brown Rice On Wooden Spoon

Simple Recipe with Brown Rice

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ¹/₂ cup chopped vegetables (such as carrots or green beans)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the cooked brown rice and dried cilantro.
  • Allow the mixture to cool before serving to your dog.

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Ground Turkey with Quinoa

This recipe includes quinoa instead of rice. There are several reasons why quinoa may be a better choice for some dogs. It is higher in protein than most other grain sources, and it includes many different nutrients.

Carrots and green beans are both included for added nutrients. Both of these are easily accessible to most Americans, and they contain different vitamins and minerals. Green beans are high in fiber, which can help support your dog’s digestive system.

Browning ground turkey on a nonstick frying pan

Ground Turkey with Quinoa

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped green beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add the chopped carrots and green beans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the cooked quinoa and dried cilantro.
  • Allow the mixture to cool before serving to your dog.

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Ground Turkey with Fish Oil

This recipe includes fish oil because it provides plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote healthy skin and coat.

However, many of the other ingredients are the same as in previous recipes. You can use whatever dog-friendly veggies you’d like.

We’ve also used a pot to boil all the ingredients together, making this recipe more like a wet food. Therefore, it’s a great option for older dogs that may have a harder time-consuming solid food. It makes everything much softer than other recipes.

hungarian vizsla puppy dog eating food from a bowl

Ground Turkey with Fish Oil

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil and cook the ground beef or turkey in a large pot over medium heat until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the brown rice, mixed vegetables, fish oil, rosemary, thyme, and water to the pot with the meat. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover the pot.
  • Simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  • Add the fish oil and mix well.
  • Serve to your dog.

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Larger Turkey Recipe

This recipe makes more than the others on this list, making it a good option for larger dogs or for those looking to cook many meals at once. It includes carrots, green beans, and spinach. However, you can utilize whatever dog-friendly veggies you have, as long as they are safe for your canine.

Olive oil is utilized, as it is a neutral oil that is safe for dogs. You need something to keep everything from sticking and add a bit of fat. The dried rosemary adds flavor and aroma, making it a good option to add. Many other herbs and seasonings are not safe for dogs.

dachshund dog eating from elevated bowl

Larger Turkey Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, cook the ground turkey over medium heat until it is browned and no longer pink.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, olive oil, and dried rosemary to the pot and stir well.
  • Add enough water to cover the mixture and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked.
  • Allow the mixture to cool completely before serving it to your dog.

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Things to Keep in Mind

There are several things you should keep in mind when cooking turkey for your canine. You can’t cook it exactly like you’d prepare it for yourself.

Cook it Fully

In the wild, dogs would consume raw meat. However, there is a high risk of pollution in ground meat, so it is much safer to give dogs cooked ground meat, for both them and their owners.

Many different kinds of bacteria can remain in ground meat if it isn’t cooked fully. Therefore, it is recommended to cook ground turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria.

Avoid Spices

Don’t use spices on your dog’s ground turkey, even if you would use them for yourself. Salt isn’t toxic to dogs, but salt toxicity can occur if your dog consumes too much. Dogs often don’t need much salt in their diet at all. Therefore, if you add too much salt, you may end up needing to take your pet to the vet.

Furthermore, many common spices and seasonings are toxic to dogs, including garlic and onions. Not all seasonings are toxic. However, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Use Lean Turkey

When in doubt, we recommend speaking to your vet about it how much fat your canine needs.

close up of a dog eating from the bowl
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

Avoid Adding Too Much Fat

While all these recipes include some added fat, avoid adding too much fat. This is for the same reason as above. Fat is necessary for your dog’s diet, but it can cause health problems in large amounts. Therefore, it is often best to be cautious about your dog’s fat intake.

Use Moderation

You don’t want to include too much ground turkey in your dog’s diet, as it doesn’t contain every nutrient that your dog needs. Therefore, you need to consider your dog’s whole diet and make adjustments appropriately.

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Conclusion

Ground turkey can be a healthy supplement to many dogs’ diets. However, it isn’t nutritionally complete and often works best when used as part of a recipe. Of course, we only recommend utilizing these recipes as a supplement, as they aren’t designed to provide your pet with everything they need.

If you want to provide your dog with a completely homemade diet, it is best to work with a professional and use the necessary ingredients and supplements in their food to ensure they consume a nutritionally complete diet.


Featured Image Credit: MoDaVi Art, Shutterstock

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