Everyone who has lived with a dog knows how much they crave human food. Dogs look forward to a seat at the table, and if they could express their opinion, we think that bacon would be their first choice.
Regular bacon, however, is unhealthy for our pups, even in moderation.
Turkey bacon is usually prepared from smoked, chopped, and reformed turkey, commonly marketed as a low-fat alternative to traditional pork bacon.
If you are like us and like to put bacon on anything, but for obvious health reasons you restrain from it, perhaps you have come across this product in your search for alternatives to the original treat.
Can My Dog Eat Turkey Bacon?
The answer yes, but in moderation. Turkey bacon can be used as a treat, following the 10% rule. We all know it is delicious, and our dogs will enjoy it as we do. However, it should not be a regular part of their diet.
It is not that turkey itself is a problem for dogs. Poultry is perfectly fine for them. In fact, chicken and turkey are very common components of dog food and a great lean protein source. The issue is with the fat content and the additives in the bacon. It is still too sodium and fat-filled to be a part of a healthy diet, not unlike regular bacon.
If you feed your pooch turkey bacon regularly, you could be creating health problems for your dog in the long term. Obesity and affiliated health problems will affect your pet’s quality of life greatly.
Nutritional Value of Turkey Bacon
So what is it anyway?
These days you can find turkey bacon everywhere, we know that. It is not just a breakfast treat anymore. We know that turkey bacon is not bacon, so what is it then?
Turkeys do not have a thick belly to slice bacon from (well, turkeys do have a belly, but you aren’t going to get very big slices). Meat companies make turkey bacon by taking ground up turkey and flavoring it to taste like bacon. Dark meat is layered on light meat, and the product is essentially turkey sausage that looks like bacon.
These layers of different shades of meat, using ground turkey, allow the processors to adjust the fat content of the product. That is why there are different options in the market, ranging from very low to regular full-fat turkey bacon. In pork bacon, the amount of fat is dictated by how fat the pig belly was.
Is turkey bacon healthier than pork bacon?
Turkey bacon is not very different to pork bacon. When comparing products from the same company, a serving of pork bacon has 60 calories, 35 calories from fat, 210 mg of sodium, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 3.5 grams of total fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, and 6 grams of protein.
Turkey bacon from the same company has 35 calories, 25 calories from fat, 180 mg of sodium, 1 gram of saturated fat, 3 grams of total fat, 15 mg cholesterol, but only 2 grams of protein. The difference between servings of pork bacon and turkey bacon is only about 25 calories. Turkey bacon is leaner, but it has less protein.
Calories aside, bacon and turkey bacon share most of the same seasoning and additives. The sodium content is very high. A particular group of additives called nitrates has also been given an excessive bad rap over the years.
In any case, turkey bacon is not all that healthier than regular bacon. It can be consumed in small amounts along with a healthy diet. Regular consumption, however, is not the best choice.
Is turkey bacon good for my dog?
Turkey bacon has no benefits for your dog’s diet. It is not a very potent source of protein. Instead, it carries a lot of fat and sodium. Processed and deli meats, in general, are of low nutritional value, and turkey bacon is no exception. Other forms of meat would be more beneficial for a dog.
Is Turkey Bacon Bad for Dogs?
Turkey is not toxic for dogs. It is safe for dogs to eat poultry and poultry products. So in principle, turkey bacon is not bad for dogs. However, giving a dog too much turkey bacon can result in potentially life-threatening health issues down the line.
Turkey bacon should be treated like regular bacon in that respect. It can be a supplementary treat to reward your pup but not a dietary staple.
Too much sodium can hurt a dog!
Sodium can result in various problems for your god. In large quantities, it can cause instant distress to the gastrointestinal tract of the animal. It can even result in bloating for the dog. While we tend to think of bloat in humans as something that will pass, it is not the same for our canine companions.
Bloat can be a serious and even life-threatening condition for them. It can cause dangerous problems, such as a tear in the wall of their stomach or no blood flow to their heart.
Fat is also an issue
Turkey bacon is very high in fat. Excessive fat consumption can lead to pancreatitis, another potentially life-threatening condition. The exact cause of pancreatitis is not known, and it may be triggered in some cases by a fatty meal.
However, in many cases, it appears to occur spontaneously. Therefore, although slim, the chances of it happening because of one high-fat meal are real.
The pancreas is a vital organ that lies on the abdomen’s right side adjacent to the stomach. The pancreas produces enzymes to assist in food digestion and hormones such as insulin, regulating blood sugar or glucose metabolism.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the condition is called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis commonly occurs in dogs. There is no age, sex, or breed predisposition, and it may be acute or chronic. In dogs, symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
How much is too much?
There is no right answer to this question. A strip of bacon can be too much for a Chihuahua or a Terrier and can cause discomfort to them. It would probably be a minor quantity for a 60-pound Labrador or German Shepherd, on the other hand. Safe consumption and quantity depend on the size of the dog.
Frequency, on the other hand, is easier to judge. In all cases, avoid giving your dog bacon treats daily. Save it for a special occasion or as a reward for difficult training sessions.
Types of Turkey Bacon and Their Effects on Dogs
Turkey bacon is generally not the best choice for your dog. Some options are, however, better than others. As a rule of thumb, the leaner the bacon, the better. Nowadays, there are a lot of low-fat varieties to choose from.
The tradeoff is less intense taste, but it will still be incredibly delicious for your pooch. So feel free to go for any of the lower-fat products, and your dog’s stomach will thank you.
Another trend in turkey bacon products lately is low sodium options. That is great news for us and our dogs alike. Excessive sodium intake is one of the prominent issues with bacon. You should prefer the low sodium options.
Sodium is of no use to the dogs, and it is better to avoid it altogether. That does not mean, however, that unlimited consumption becomes an option. Moderation is again key!
FAQs About Turkey Bacon and Dogs
Which way of cooking is best for giving it to my dog?
Turkey bacon, like the pork counterpart, can be cooked in many ways. The classic method, in a skillet, works well. Pull out the bacon from the fridge and let it reach room temperature before cooking it over medium heat.
There is no need to add oil to the pan since the fat that melts off the back will prevent it from sticking on the pan. Cook until crispy so that you allow for the most fat to melt off. Then drain it on a paper towel to remove even more fat before eating.
Can dogs eat raw turkey bacon?
Dogs can generally eat raw meat with no problem. However, cooking kills bacteria and viruses in the meat. In poultry, in particular, we often see cases of salmonella. Therefore it is not advised that chicken bacon is consumed raw, neither by dogs or by humans.
Can turkey bacon kill a dog?
Turkey is not toxic for dogs. Despite the potential health problems discussed above, the chances of your pet developing a life-threatening condition from a few bacon treats are very slim. Be sensible, however, and do not take unnecessary risks for your pup’s health.
Dogs are not the pickiest eaters and will find many treats as delicious and tasty as any type of bacon!
The one thing to take away from this article is that you do not have to completely refrain from sharing a few bits of turkey bacon with your canine friend. While turkey bacon offers no nutritional benefit for a dog, they certainly love it.
However, you have to stay strong and practice moderation since it can cause problems to your dog. You can always offer them tasty alternatives so they don’t feel left out, and keep them healthy at the same time!