Try Some Turkey Necks Raw feeders are constantly in search of variety for their dogs. If they aren’t, they SHOULD be. Dogs, like people, often get bored. They also have varied nutritional needs. Feeding one protein source, day in and day out, is NOT giving your dog optimal nutrition. While arguably better than feeding ANY sort of kibble, it just doesn’t address all of your pooch’s needs. Cost and availability both can play a part as to what we feed our pets. Most often, if people choose to feed whole raw meaty bones, chicken is the top choice. Easy to get, varied in size for big and small pups and cost effective. The problem comes when you rely too much on chicken. One alternative that we love to suggest are turkey necks. Unfortunately, turkey gets something of a dismissal quite often since people equate it with chicken – they are both farm birds after all! While they share particular similarities, they actually are a bit different. Part of their amino acid chain is exactly the same – they do arguably descend from a common ancestor. Over all, there are enough differences to make turkey a good option to add variety to your dog’s diet. It is higher in selenium, iron and zinc, as compared to chicken, and is a slightly leaner meat as well. Selenium is a trace mineral that can be somewhat difficult for dogs (and people) to obtain in our mineral depleted world. Selenium has been found to reduce the chances of certain forms of cancer, improve overall long term joint health, keep skin and coat healthy and boost the immune system. Found in all raw meats, selenium conveys obvious health benefits for your dog and turkey’s DEFINITELY got it! Zinc is another mineral that has a large impact on a canine’s largest organ – the skin. Essential for skin and coat health, you find zinc added to many products that are marketed towards improving the quality of skin and coat and zinc’s benefits on skin and coat have been well documented. Turkey, like most meats, contains zinc, and in a higher amount than would be found in chicken. Iron is significantly higher in turkey then in chicken. While certainly the highest concentrations of iron come from red meats, turkey can also be a great resource. Iron is essential in dogs (and people too!) and most certainly in any dog that is involved in performance sports or physical work. Iron helps with the transport of oxygen through the blood and further helps muscles store and use oxygen. Turkey tends to be a slightly leaner meat overall when compared to chicken. While dogs need fats for energy, having a leaner option is fine and quite often necessary. This is especially true of dogs who have had issues in the past with too much fat, most notably dogs who have suffered with pancreatitis prior to being switched to the raw diet and are thus more susceptible. Lean proteins are great for any dog though and when given in a varied diet are a wonderful way to expand your dog’s horizons. Turkey necks are a perfect way to give your dog all that turkey goodness, but also a way to give them some much needed and much appreciated jaw exercise and chewing fun. Feeding ground food constantly is fine – it will even help keep their teeth clean though not quite as efficiently as bones do. Occasionally though, don’t you think that your dog would like to have a little more time with his food? Scarfing down a bowl full of tripe is great – but over too quickly for most dogs. A turkey neck is something that they can really sink their teeth into – thick, bendy, tasty and crunchy. Even if you have smaller sized dogs, turkey necks can be broken down either by bending and twisting them or simply using a cleaver. They aren’t terribly hard to bust up. Turkey necks have a decent ratio of meat to bone with about 10% being bone – usually a good amount for most dogs. Dogs are individuals though and you will need to monitor your particular companion to see if turkey necks alone work for them. Occasionally, an extremely voracious eater may be what we call a ‘gulper’. This means they tend to NOT chew their food and instead suck it down with as little fanfare as possible. A dog CAN be taught to chew their food – most particular in this case, their turkey necks. Try holding one end of a mostly frozen neck – make your dog work to chew it. He can’t swallow it whole because you have the other end, and the only way he’s going to actually get that yummy goodness is to chew it out of your human paw. Surprisingly, and though many don’t think it possible of their particular gulper, most dogs do learn and quickly enough. Turkey necks are a great and cost effective way of adding extra variety and nutrition to your dog’s diet. Safer than any other whole raw meaty turkey bones, flexible tasty necks will be an outstanding way to give more to your dog for less!