Toxic Foods and Safer Options For Dogs At Thanksgiving

Toxic Foods and Safer Options For Dogs At Thanksgiving

It is finally November! That means that the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is a time for delicious food, and spending time with family. Many people view their dogs as another family member, and may want to include their pet in the festivities by sharing some of the good grub with the dog. It is so important to resist that temptation, because a lot of the dishes we eat on Thanksgiving can actually be harmful to pets due to certain components.

Here is a list of the foods you should avoid giving your dog to eat on Thanksgiving. In general, fatty foods and foods that have been prepared with lots of spices are not things you want to feed your dog because they can cause problems with digestion.


Stuffing is usually made with garlic, and onions and both of these ingredients are extremely toxic to dogs. Onions and garlic can cause serious, life threatening anemia in dogs, leading to the destruction of the dog’s red blood cells. Your dog may seem fine at first, but in the days following your Thanksgiving feast, they will begin to show symptoms of this condition such as vomiting and diarrhea and overall general weakness. Avoid feeding your dog any amount of stuffing for this reason.


Many dishes, like stuffing, also contain nuts which are high in fat content and can cause Pancreatitis over time.


While it is fine to feed your dog potatoes, most people make their mashed potatoes using a lot of butter, and milk or cream. You should avoid feeding your dog leftover mashed potatoes because butter and milk are high in fat and can also cause problems for your dog. Additionally, many people also like to include onion powder and garlic in this dish as well.


Turkey itself is not harmful to dogs, and is a lean meat so there is not as much fat present to worry about, however the pieces you trim off of your Thanksgiving turkey often do contain fat, and that is not something you want your dog to eat. In addition to Turkey trimmings, you should watch out to make sure that your dog does not get a hold of the twine that is used to tie the turkey together during the cooking process. The twine gets soaked in turkey juice, and can be contaminated with Salmonella and other harmful bacteria.


Poultry bones are not as sturdy as the bones your dog normally chews on and can splinter and become lodged in their esophagus or intestines. These splinters are not only costly and difficult to remove, but could also cause serious damage to these parts of your dog’s body because they are sharp and could create an internal puncture that could potentially be life threatening to your dog.


Ham is a very fatty meat, and even a small amount of it contributes a huge amount of calories to your dog when consumed. In addition to the fat content, eating ham can cause Pancreatitis, vomiting and diarrhea.


Many people like to serve dishes that contain grapes or raisins at their Thanksgiving feast. These items are very toxic to dogs, and while we do not know the exact scientific reason for their extreme toxicity in dogs, you should avoid feeding anything containing grapes or raisins to your dog at all costs.


Many people also like to offer a large variety of dessert options at Thanksgiving, and many of these items can contain chocolate. Chocolate contains a chemical called Theobromine which while rarely fatal to your dog, can still cause serious illness. Other desserts might also contain a sweetener called Xylitol, and as we discussed in our Halloween Dog Safety Article, Xylitol is very dangerous for dogs. Exposure to this chemical can cause low blood sugar,liver failure, seizures, and even death.

There are however some foods that you probably have with Thanksgiving dinner that are safe, and even healthy for your dog to eat. Here’s a quick list of some of them and their health benefits.


Green beans contain a large amount of plant fiber, manganese, and certain vitamins like Vitamin C and K. For these reasons, green beans are very healthy for dogs to eat, but you must make sure that the green beans you give to your dog are left plain, with no extra ingredients like butter, excess salt, or garlic and onions. PUMPKIN Pumpkin is a great choice because it is very beneficial to your dog’s skin and coat. Pumpkin is also very beneficial for your dog’s digestive processes. You can also feed them canned pumpkin but you must make sure it is plain canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix because that often comes pre-spices and those spices can be harmful to your dog.


Sweet potatoes contain a large amount of dietary fiber, and many helpful vitamins like Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes also contain beta-carotene. As with other Thanksgiving foods you plan to feed your dog, make sure they are free of extra ingredients that could be harmful to your dog like excess butter.


The same thing applies to potatoes that are not sweet potatoes. You can feed them to your dog, but you must make sure that they do not contain extra things like butter, salt, onions, or garlic. Even if you’ve double checked to make sure of this, it is still a good idea to only feed your dog small amounts of potatoes and not go overboard.


Apples contain Vitamins A and C, and also contain good dietary fiber so it is okay to feed them to your dog, but if you decide to do this make sure that you are not feeding them apple seeds by cutting around the core, as the seeds of the fruit can be toxic to dogs.


Turkey is not inherently a bad thing to feed to your dog. It is the added ingredients you might use to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey that could cause problems. If you are going to feed your dog turkey, make sure that it is plain turkey without additives.

Thanksgiving foods may be tempting to your dog, and you might cave in and sneak them a few scraps from the table, but if you are going to do so, make sure to check this list out so that you know what risky items you should avoid feeding your dog. Thanksgiving is a stressful enough time already with so many dishes to prepare, and family gatherings to coordinate. You don’t want to add the stress of an untimely and expensive emergency visit to the Vet’s office, and hopefully by using this list won't have to worry about that! Be safe, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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