can turtles eat dog food?

Turtles are great pets when it comes to feeding them. They can eat almost anything. From Vegetables to fruits, from live feeders to meat, a turtle can have any of it and be satisfied. They also do not need much feeding anyway, as fully grown adult turtles only need to be fed once every three days. 

Now, you might be wondering what if you could give your pet turtle some dog food to munch on. I will say that it is a valid question due to the variety of foods your turtles eat. Dog food can be a good alternative to all the monotonous fruits and vegetables they are getting. Well, let’s find out if dog food is a good alternative for your turtle?

is dog food a valid alternative?

You might have fed your turtle some dog food and may have seen your turtle be happy with it. Well, you cannot blame them as dog food can be tasty to them. Believe it or not, it also has the valid nutrients your turtle needs, like proteins. However, once a turtle is fully grown, its protein intake should only be around 20 percent. 

So, in essence, your dog’s food contains too much protein for your turtle. So it is okay once in a while for your turtle to have some dog food as a treat or a snack, preferably once every month. However, you should never give it to them regularly, even to the juvenile turtles who actually can do some good with that protein, like growing their bones and so on. 

Dog food can also make your turtle overweight. This seems to be a pattern with all the protein-filled foods, but you will have to understand that dog food is meant for dogs and not for turtles. It is made keeping a dog’s nutritional needs in mind. Hence, to have a healthy turtle, you should focus more on the design and good food for the turtles.

So, you might be asking what types of foods are good for a turtle? Well, keep reading as we dive deeper into the topic of the appropriate turtle foods.

what should I feed my turtle:

Turtles need to be fed very little, and they have long lives. A prepubescent turtle will only need to be fed once per day in proteins and vegetables to accelerate its skeletal growth and bone development. A young adult will only need to be fed once every two days, while a fully grown member of the turtle family will only need to be fed once every three days. 

There are also appropriate foods you need to feed your turtle. Let us see what types of food are good for your turtle and how much and often they should be given to them.


Turtles are either omnivores or herbivores. This means that all their species do derive their food from some sort of plant source. Hence vegetables are a great source of active nutrients your turtle needs very much. However, you will have to steer clear of some vegetables as well, which we will talk about later in the article.

Here are the vegetables you need to feed your turtle:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Pumpkins
  • Squashes 
  • Peas
  • Potato
  • Turnip
  • Carrots
  • Tomato
  • Radish leaves 
  • Mustard leaves

These vegetables have all the nutrients your turtle needs, and they should be fed to them whenever it is time to feed them.


Turtles are very fond of eating fruit. They are full of essential nutrients, and they even protect them from various diseases. However, you should only feed them fruits once a month. In feeding your pets, moderation is key, so do not overstuff them with the food they do not need for. Also, stay away from any fruits that have citric acid in them, which may lead to digestive problems in your turtles.

Here are some of the fruits your turtle will enjoy and are safe to eat for them:

  • Papayas
  • Mangoes
  • Watermelons
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Pear
  • Strawberries
  • Figs
  • Banana

feeding them live prey:

To stimulate your turtle and for exercise, you can also make them catch their food when it is time for lunch. Turtles are predators. They like to go after their food. So to make them not forget their instincts, here are the types of live bait you would want to give them.

  • Feeder Fish
  • Mealworms
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Crickets
  • Cockroaches
  • Apple snails
  • Caterpillars
  • Beetles 


Turtles also love their meat. You can cook some meat and give it to them when it is time to feed them. Meat has all the essential nutrients like proteins that your turtle needs to grow into a fully grown turtle. Hence young turtles must be given a lot of it. However, you can stop feeding them more when they are fully grown as they only need 20% protein as a full-grown turtle.

turtle food pellets:

Turtle food pellets are very easily available in many pet stores and vet offices. If you want to give your turtle something commercially available, then feed them Turtle food pellets instead of dog food. These pellets are designed by keeping your turtle’s nutritional requirements in mind. Dog food is full of proteins and fats, which can even cause your turtle to become overweight. Hence you must go for what is good for them inherently.

things you should never feed your turtle:

The spectrum of the things that you can feed your turtle is very wide. However, there are some things that you should never be feeding your turtle if you do not want them to get sick.

The first thing is the onions. They are toxic for your turtle. All vegetables that come from bulbs, which include onions and garlic, are toxic for your pet turtle.

You should also never feed your turtle Frogs, which can be readily available for some people. Frogs have toxic chemicals in their skins, and when they are being chewed to bits, the chemical is released, and the poison can kill your turtle.


Dog food might be tasty for the buds of your turtle. However, it is not an appropriate food. If you want to feed your turtle commercially available and nutritional food to your turtle, then you can opt for the available food pellets that are specifically designed for your turtle.

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