It’s natural to want to include our whole family on holidays, including our dogs. But what Thanksgiving foods can dogs eat — and in what portions? A lot of holiday dishes contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs or are just too fatty and will make them sick. Fear not, with a little leg-work and a quick consult with your veterinarian, you can offer some Thanksgiving dog treats so they can still join in the fun.
Thanksgiving Dog Foods Usually Ok in Moderation
If you're looking to give your dog a treat from the Thanksgiving meal, consider one or two of these in small quantities. And be sure to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog anything they haven't had before. Certain foods usually safe for dogs can be toxic for dogs with specific health conditions.
Aim to keep all treats (yes, including veggies or other healthy foods) under 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Your veterinarian can always recommend a better, alternative treat for your dog as well. Your dog's going to love the treat, even if they're not as stuffed as you at the end of the day!
Dogs love turkey just as much as (if not more than!) we do. You’ll be happy to hear that turkey meat that’s cooked without seasonings or oil is generally safe for dogs. Just stay away from the skin or bones. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs turkey.
A lot of pet owners already know that pumpkin is a safe and natural way to help dogs suffering from diarrhea or constipation. Give your pooch a bit of pumpkin, but only if it’s plain and not that sugary or spiced pumpkin pie filling. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs pumpkin.
A bit of regular or sweet potato is fine for dogs to have, so long as they're not raw, fried, or doused in butter or sugar. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs potato.
Plain, cooked yams are fine for dogs to eat, but they are starchy. Only feed them a bit and definitely stay away from raw or candied yams. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs yams.
Green beans are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, which makes them a great treat for dogs. Just don’t give them any canned beans or rich green bean casseroles. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs green beans.
Plain, cooked corn kernels are fine for dogs, but never give them the cob or buttery corn dishes. If this makes your dog's dinner bowl, check out our full tips for giving dogs corn.
Always consult with your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet. Some foods, like sweet potatoes, aren’t safe for dogs with certain medical conditions.
Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Can't Eat
Even though it’s possible for your dog to take part in your Thanksgiving feast, there are some dishes that should definitely stay on the table and out of their food bowl. Avoid these potentially harmful Turkey Day treats.
Cooked poultry bones are way too brittle and can easily splinter when your dog gnaws on them. Not to mention, swallowed bones also pose a threat because they can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. Enjoy peace of mind and eliminate these risks by keeping turkey bones out of your pup’s reach.
Allowing your dog to lick the turkey drippings might sound harmless, but it’s not a great idea. Eating high-fat foods can actually cause a serious and painful condition called pancreatitis. Turkey skin and dishes with lots of butter or oil shouldn’t make it onto your dog’s plate either.
Dogs love stuffing for all the reasons we do: it’s fragrant, flavorful, and totally delicious. But Thanksgiving stuffing isn’t safe for your dog. It has too many spices in it, plus onions and garlic, which are toxic dogs.
Technically, dogs can eat cranberries, and they’re actually really beneficial. But the type of cranberries served at Thanksgiving is a big “no-no” for your pup. We load cranberry sauces with sugar, and some even contain liqueurs. Sugar-free versions are even worse because they usually include xylitol, which is fatal in small amounts for dogs.
If you really want to give your dog cranberries, offer them just a few fresh ones, although they probably won’t like the tartness.
They usually include nutmeg in pumpkin pie spice or other spicy dishes. It contains a toxin called myristicin, which isn’t good for dogs.
Even if your pup is 21 in dog years, don’t give them a brewski. Avoid giving your dog any adult beverages or food cooked with alcohol.
If your dog ingests any toxic Thanksgiving foods, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline for guidance.
Have a Safe and Yappy Thanksgiving
If you decide to give your dog some safe Thanksgiving food, make sure it’s just a few nibbles. Remember, your pup is a lot smaller than you, so a mere bite could be the equivalent of an entire casserole dish for them. It’s going to be hard to resist those intense puppy-dog eyes, but it’s truly for the best.