We each answer that question for ourselves every day.
Feeding high fat foods, such as turkey skin, is not good for dogs. That being said, neither are cheese-its or popcorn or a million other things people use in the real world as treats for their dogs every day. Any sudden change in a dog’s diet can result in Irritable Bowel Disease or Pancreatitis, and a high fat treat can be dangerous.
For some of us, the joy of sharing our holiday traditions with our canine family is worth the risk. Although it can be fatal, pancreatitis only happens a small percentage of the time that dogs are given fatty food and, with treatment, is usually reversible.
I think of it this way: the risks of feeding fatty holiday foods to dogs are similar to the risks I take every time I go skiing. Is the fun worth the risk? This is the question we must each answer for ourselves.
My approach to these decisions is, “All things in moderation.” Instead of turkey skin, you could feed a small piece of white meat. However, if your dog has a history of pancreatitis, the risk is much higher, so it isn’t worth it. Just remember to be careful, stay well informed, and do it in moderation.
Dr. Sherry Weaver