Can Dogs Live with Turkeys?

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Introduction

You guys, hear us out - dogs and turkeys. Can they get along? We know, we know, it sounds weird, but in our defense, there have been weirder combinations (maybe, we're honestly not sure). If you're one of the few people who have a dog and a turkey and are hoping for the next internet-sensation-unlikely-best-friend-animal-pairs, you might be wondering if your pooch and your turkey can get along. The short answer: maybe. The long answer, you'll have to read more to find out! 

Check out our ultimate doggo-turkey-friend-guide below to get all the answers you're looking for about dog behavior, prey drive, turkey friendships, and more! 

Signs Your Dog and Turkey Might Not Get Along

Dogs have made all kinds of unlikely friendships throughout the centuries - horses, cats, llamas, birds, spiders, lizards, and more. Each friendship seems more unlikely than the next. Unfortunately, though, this isn't always the case. 

While dogs are generally good-natured, sweet, domesticated animals, they're also what we like to call predators, and dogs, much like their wolf ancestors, are known for chasing after, killing, and eating prey. Unfortunately, your turkey might fall into that prey category. If your dog is treating your pet turkey more like his or her next dinner reservation as opposed to a best friend, then it's probably likely the two aren't going to get along. 

Your dog might exhibit some sneaky behavior including stalking, creeping up on the turkey, or sniffing and licking the turkey's territory. It's also possible that the dog might take a more aggressive approach and lunge, jump, bite, growl, bark, howl, or try to outright eat the turkey.

Body Language

Here are a few signs your dog might be giving you to let you know they don't get along with the turkey:
  • Lips pushed forward
  • Nipping
  • Jumping up
  • Running
  • Dropped Ears
  • Back hair on edge
  • Barking
  • Alert
  • Growling

Other Signs

Here are a few other physical cues to look out for if you think your dog isn't getting along with your turkey:
  • Territorial behavior
  • Crouching
  • Snarling
  • Lunging at the turkey
  • Stalking the turkey

Historic Turkey and Dog Friendship

We said it was uncommon, guys, but we didn't say it's never happened. Minnow, a 3-year-old rescue pup, and Blossom, a 10-week-old rescue turkey, live together in harmony in a Northern Virginia townhouse. The two are seemingly inseparable according to Abbie Hubbard, the pets' owner. Evidently, the two are "constant companions" who snuggle, play hide and seek, and spend every waking moment together. 

Unusual? Sure. But we're not mad. Like we said, it's not always impossible for doggos to become best friends with unlikely creatures. Keeping that in mind, it's also not super likely that every dog will be best buds with a turkey either, so keep an eye on their behavior. 

The Science Behind Prey Drive

As we said before, dogs have a prey drive. No matter how sweet, well-trained, and lovey your dog might be, it's important to remember they're animals, and sometimes, animals can be unpredictable. This is due largely to the prey drive your dog has. 

Your pup, as snuggly as he or she is, descends from wolves. Pack animals who are always hunting, wolves typically follow the food chain, chasing after animals who are either smaller, more defenseless, or slower than they are. 

Your turkey, who, depending on the size of your dog, might not be smaller, is certainly slower and can't always win out against teeth and claws. It's scientifically embedded into your dog's brain to know that, too, which is why dogs with high prey drives can't always befriend other types of animals.

Training Your Dog and Your Turkey to Get Along

While it might not always be possible to force a friendship between the two, it's possible that slow introductions could aid in a little harmonious cohabitating for your pets. 

First, make sure you're not rushing anything. Be patient. Introduce your pets to each other slowly and gradually, only letting them see each other from a distance, smell their scents, and stay tied up, far away from each other. Let your pets get used to being in each others' presence with proper restraints before you take the plunge and let them see each other or be close to each other.

However, if slow introductions don't work and it doesn't seem that your animals are going to get along, train each of them to avoid the other and leave their respective territories alone. While we can't exactly instruct you on how to train a turkey, for your dog, we suggest ensuring your pup is never left alone with your turkey, always making sure your dog understands he or she is not allowed anywhere near the turkey pen, and locking up your animals in separate areas when you're not there to supervise. 

How to Keep Your Turkey and Dog Safe From Each Other:

  • Keep the animals separated at all times.
  • Ensure when you're gone that both animals are locked up in safe, comfortable spaces they cannot escape.
  • Never leave the turkey and dog alone together.
  • If the animals are ever in the same area, monitor them.
  • Train your dog to understand he or she is not allowed anywhere near the turkey's territory.