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Thanksgiving Food Safety for Dogs: What’s Safe (and Not Safe)

Thanksgiving feasts bring the whole family together, including your dog. While it may be tempting to slip Fido some pumpkin pie or a turkey bone, you’ll want to use caution. As you may already know, certain “human” foods are unhealthy for dogs to ingest. Others are even toxic, like grapes and chocolate. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), there were approximately 21,648 cases of human food-related poisoning in pets in 2017 alone. This holiday season keep your four-legged friend safe by only offering pet-safe foods.

Safe Thanksgiving Foods

Seasoned Thanksgiving dishes and dogs don’t often mix. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to completely exclude your pup from this year’s festivities. Most dogs can enjoy dishes that are in raw or unseasoned form. Some examples include:

  • Turkey: The ASPCA suggests only feeding your dog turkey that is well-cooked and boneless. Never give your pet raw or undercooked turkey, or the leftover carcass or bones which can cause digestive problems.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Save the sweet potato pie topped with marshmallows for your human guests. Serve your dog raw or dried pieces of fresh sweet potato which are high in nutrients.
  • Green Beans: Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple for many families. High in fiber and vitamins C and K, raw green beans can be a great treat for your pet. Sneak your dog a few veggies before adding seasoning or other common additions like onions or mushrooms.
  • Pumpkin: From pumpkin pie to pumpkin muffins, there’s nothing quite like the mild taste of pumpkin highlighted by nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. When treating your dog, skip the spices and keep it clean and simple. According to Purina, plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) is low-calorie, an excellent source of fiber, and can help with stomach upset.
  • Apples: Speaking of pie, apple is another holiday favorite. However, the added sugar is not good for our pets. After slicing the apples for the pie, leave a few to the side for your pup to enjoy.

Risky Thanksgiving Foods

Certain human foods can put your dog at risk for digestive upset. Foods considered toxic to pets can result in more serious symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, coordination problems, and seizures. This Thanksgiving, do not feed your dog the following foods:

  • Ham: While small amounts of turkey are generally safe for dogs, ham and other pork products are not. Pork is more likely to cause an allergic reaction in dogs than other meats, according to the American Kennel Club. The rich fat in pork can also cause indigestion and pancreatitis.
  • Mashed Potatoes: While potatoes on their own are generally safe for pets to eat, the added milk and butter can cause digestive issues in lactose intolerant dogs.
  • Chocolate Desserts: Chocolate contains theobromine which is considered toxic to dogs, according to Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Keep all dishes and desserts containing chocolate away from your pet on Thanksgiving.

Hungry Dog

Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe for Dogs

Prepare dinner for your pup this Thanksgiving with healthy ingredients. For a moderate-carb meal for healthy adult dogs, The Bark suggests combining 3 lbs. turkey with 1 lb. sweet potatoes, 1 cup cooked oatmeal, 4 tbsp. turkey gravy, and 2 tbsp cranberry sauce. According to the American Kennel Club, it’s best to remove the skin and omit any seasonings.

As a member of your family, it’s natural to want to feed your dog delicious Thanksgiving foods. However, for his or her health, it’s best to refrain from serving certain types of foods that could be harmful. Instead, prep and serve a pet-approved Thanksgiving dinner.

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Please reach out to us if you have questions about foods that are safe for your pets. Submit our website contact form below or call our Santa Rosa location at 707-595-3834 or our Rohnert Park location at 707-206-9000.

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