I have been told that turkey is right up there with onions and grapes on the list of things a dog should not be fed. I have been feeding both my dogs cooked ground turkey, 93/7 fat content, mixed with sweet potato and dry kibble, with no adverse effects. Please advise.

Waltham, MA

Turkey, like everything, must be fed with caution. The skin, if fed in large quantities, can cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. The bones can cause intestinal obstructions. A live turkey could make mincemeat out of a Chihuahua. Everything in life is potentially dangerous. But I have never heard any reports of turkey toxicity in dogs.

The meat of all birds is edible to dogs, cats, and humans. Unless your dogs have specific allergies to turkey protein I can’t imagine any harm coming to them from your feeding protocol. I do, however, recommend that you drain excess fat from the cooked meat before you feed it. And remember that dogs, like humans, are susceptible to Salmonella. You might want to avoid turkey tartare for that reason.

Onions contain oxidants that are mildly toxic to dogs (and slightly more toxic to cats). They can cause problems with certain blood cells. Grapes have been linked specifically to kidney problems in dogs. Unadulterated, properly prepared skinless, boneless turkey meat is about as safe as any food item I can imagine.

Photo: an exception to the “turkey isn’t dangerous” rule.

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