Tryptophan, Turkey, and Dogs

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Thu Apr 20, '06 2:21pm PST 
There was just an interesting post on another thread, about turkey being "poisonous to dogs". Before starting a completely off-topic discussion there, I thought I'd start a new thread.


It was stated by Lizzie (and mom) that she was told by three vets that turkey is bad for dogs, and they shouldn't be fed it at all. She goes on to say, "It's the chemical that is found in turkey (the one that makes humans sleepy) that is quite toxic in dogs. I'm not sure how much we'd have to eat, but the vets stressed the importance of not feeding dogs turkey. Chicken was okay because it doesn't have that chemical in it." I am assuming that the chemical in question is tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. Both humans and dogs need it to function properly and cannot synthesize it, so it must come from food. Lots of foods have high amounts of tryptophan, including dairy products, beef, peanuts, and chicken. The 'tryptophan in turkey makes you tired' myth has been debunked many times. One article about this can be found at: http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/turkey.asp

After reading Lizzie's post, I did some quick looking around on the internet, and the only support I could find for the potential danger of tryptophan was that some scientists suspect that it could be related to schizophrenia in humans who can't metabolize it properly. I suppose if there are humans that can't metabolize ingested tryptophan properly, there are probably dogs who can't either. In those cases, though, it wouldn't just be turkey that was a risky food. There are also folks who think the effects of a bad batch of a tryptophan dietary supplement produced by a Japanese company in 1989 may have been blown out of proportion to make way for the new drug Prozac. I can't find anything on tryptophan being BAD for dogs, only articles about the necessity of tryptophan for proper health.

I am not a vet or a canine nutritionist, this is just the info I've gathered from books and the internet, and the experience of feeding my girls turkey and never having a problem. I'd love to hear more from Lizzie and/or anyone else who has more info on the potential hazards of turkey and/or tryptophan for dogs. Any thoughts?

I'm the BIG- girl!
Barked: Thu Apr 20, '06 3:27pm PST 
As you already stated, I had 3 vets tell me not to feed us dogs turkey. And they didn't say the amounts you'd have to eat for it to be poisonous, so I really don't know much about that.

I've searched the internet and can't find anything on it (which I think is strange for 3 vets...3 different practices) to say the same thing.

I did find on the internet that turkey skin is very bad for dogs because it is not digestible.

It would be great if someone might know more about this turkey issue.
Paris- (1991-2007)

I Get By With A- Little Help...
Barked: Thu Apr 20, '06 3:47pm PST 
I've never heard this before.
Paris and Bauer and Isabelle all went to a holistic vet when they were diagnosed with cancer and turkey was on the list of proteins to feed...


I love and miss- you Dutchess
Barked: Thu Apr 20, '06 4:51pm PST 
My breeder told mommy not to feed me turkey because it always made her dogs sick. Also, the doggie mommy had before me always got sick and threw up the day after he ate turkey. It took a while for mommy to realize it, and then she stopped giving it to him.
Cloe Mae *RE-HOMED* I love you

Run, run, run
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 1:35pm PST 
Well, this just scared mommy...I had turkey last night and this morning...is something going to happen to me? I'm not feeling sick or acting sick. That's too bad...I really love turkey. I guess I shouldn't have it anymore.

Did you say- dinner?
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 1:43pm PST 
I do believe that MANY, even high quality dog foods like Canidae, Solid Gold, Innova, Timberwolf Organics, etc., contain turkey. I don't think manufacturers would put it in their products if it was poisonous and killed dogs. Just my two cents.

Edited by author Fri Apr 21, '06 1:43pm PST


made for the- snow
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 1:50pm PST 
Agree'd, I eat Canidae All Life Stages and it has turkey in it. No problems what so ever and Canidae has an excellent reputation!

The Watcher
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 2:08pm PST 
My father mentioned to me when I put some of my dogs on Canidae that they should not get turkey but he is 80 years old and can't remember why, only that he saw a recent program on television! Any food listing poultry meal or poultry by-product meal would contain turkey as well, so that's a whole lot of dog foods. The very new (and expensive) Purina food Pro Plan Select is turkey based, so apparently Purina sees nothing wrong with it, or Canidae either. He doesn't think the problem was tryptophan however, but something given to turkeys during raising. Did you search the FDA CVM website? Might be something there since they regulate drug residues in feeds...

The best things- come in little- packages
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 2:10pm PST 
Innova Evo also has turkey.

My mom gives me lean, ground turkey and rice when I'm sick. Recommended to her by a vet. Sooooo...I don't know. Works for us. I just had some yesterday, actually. And the day before too.
Cloe Mae *RE-HOMED* I love you

Run, run, run
Barked: Fri Apr 21, '06 2:14pm PST 
So maybe only some dogs are sensitive to turkey? Just like some people can't eat turkey (or other foods).
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