Thanksgiving is a time of gathering together and sharing memories, laughter and, of course, food. Even if this year’s holiday plans are a bit quieter than usual, your four-legged friend will likely still be at your side begging for a taste of that Thanksgiving turkey. But how much of your feast is safe to share with Fido?
It’s no coincidence that the week surrounding Thanksgiving tends to coincide with increased emergency vet visits. While some holiday treats may be safe for your pup, it’s helpful to be aware of which human foods could be unhealthy—and potentially toxic—for your dog. Read on to learn how to safely include your pooch in your Thanksgiving meal.
Even if you’re in it for the sides, there’s no denying that turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving show. Fortunately, plain, cooked turkey on its own is perfectly safe for your pup.
When it comes to sharing Thanksgiving turkey with your dog, stick with the lean meat. Avoid feeding him the parts of the turkey that are covered in butter, gravy, or seasoning. Stay away from the skin, too, as its rich flavor can lead to an upset stomach.
Cooked turkey bones are also off-limits. They can crunch and splinter when chewed, which could lead to blockage or cause damage to the inside of your pet’s stomach.
Plain raw, dried, or cooked cranberries are perfectly fine for Fido to eat. This common Thanksgiving side has several nutritional benefits which can support your pup’s immune system and lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Cranberries can also help with UTIs.
Of course, reaping the benefits of cranberries doesn’t have to be limited to the holiday season; Pet Honesty’s chewy cranberry supplements are available year-round.
Avoid sharing any prepared cranberry dishes such as cranberry sauce with your dog, especially if they contain grape juice, alcohol, or sugar.
Unfortunately, you can’t share a slice of your pumpkin pie with your pup. However, fresh, pure pumpkin is perfectly fine for your pet. In fact, it’s full of fiber which is especially good for dogs suffering from diarrhea. Pumpkin also contains a variety of nutrients such as Vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron. It’s also high in antioxidants, supporting healthy skin and fur.
Raw pumpkin can be difficult for your pooch to digest, so it’s best steamed or mashed, or even canned. Please note that this excludes canned pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices that are not nice when it comes to feeding your dog. Try mixing pureed pumpkin into Fido’s food, or help him get his pumpkin fix through Pet Honesty’s pumpkin flavored digestive support chews.
Apples are perfectly fine for your pet, just not in the form of apple pie. Like pumpkins, apples are a good source of fiber and Vitamins A and C. Leave out the sugar and cinnamon, and share some plain apple slices with your pup for a tasty treat—be sure to toss out the core and seeds beforehand.
Raw vegetables such as green beans and carrots can be a healthy, crunchy snack for you and your pup. Like humans, though, some dogs prefer their vegetables cooked. Boiled, steamed, or roasted veggies that aren’t overloaded with fats can be a tasty Thanksgiving treat. The added fiber and vitamins is a nice plus, too.
Avoid feeding your dog any vegetables from the Allium family: onions; garlic; chives; leeks; scallions; and shallots. These can be highly toxic for dogs, causing damage to the red blood cells which can lead to gastroenteritis and anemia.
Packed with beta-carotene, Vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and other nutrients, sweet potatoes are fine for dogs to eat. Cooked sweet potatoes with the skin removed are easier for your dog to digest.
Keep in mind that carbohydrates such as potatoes and sweet potatoes should never take up the majority of your dog’s diet, especially if he is diabetic. Talk to your vet if you have any doubts or concerns when incorporating new foods into Fido’s diet.
Rolls, a common Thanksgiving dinner sidekick, are fine for sharing with your dog as long as they’re not slathered in butter. Like potatoes, they contain lots of carbohydrates so it’s best to use caution depending on your doggo’s dietary needs. Unless it’s whole-grain bread, there’s really no nutritional benefit to bread or rolls (and even then, it’s minimal).
Avoid sharing raw dough with your dog—the yeast in bread dough is toxic to dogs, and will continue to rise in his stomach and cause painful bloating.
DIY Thanksgiving Treats for Dogs
Perhaps you would rather not run the risk of feeding your furry friend something potentially harmful. Perhaps, in that same breath, you also know that there’s no way around those puppy dog eyes begging for a taste of your Thanksgiving plate.
As a final note, be sure to keep Thanksgiving leftovers and trash out of reach from your dog. While you may know what keeps Fido healthy, he may be more focused on following his strong sense of smell (and determination), and find himself digging through some tasty but toxic food before you know it.
It’s important to respond to the situation immediately if your pet gets into something he shouldn’t. In the case of an emergency, call the Pet Poison Helpline which is available 24/7.