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  • Vickie Foster

Safe & Unsafe Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs

Feast your eyes on this! The golden turkey is on the table and friends and family are gathered around it. Of course, your pup is also close by ready to celebrate with you. But can your dog eat turkey and sides too? Read our safety tips to keep your pup safe this holiday season.


As we know, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is so food-focused. But it’s important to remember that while your dog will eat pretty much anything, their digestive system is very different from ours. We need to be very alert and careful to keep some of the tempting Thanksgiving morsels away from our dogs.


General safety tips for Thanksgiving

  1. Be sure your garbage can has a tight-fitting lid and is dog-proof. Lots of good-smelling stuff is being tossed in there throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

  2. Dispose of all plastic bags, clips, and ties associated with the turkey in a secured trash can (these can smell like turkey and are tempting).

  3. Keep appetizers off the coffee table. Remember that coffee tables are a perfect dog height. Instead, put them on tables or counters that are out of your pup’s reach.

  4. Feed and take your dog for a long walk before guests arrive to tire them out. Your dog will be more relaxed around your company.

  5. Put decorations, flower arrangements, and lit candles out of your dog’s reach.

  6. Supervise your pet around children who may not know how to interact with dogs.

  7. If you want to share some food with your pup, make sure you have treats nearby or keep reading to see Thanksgiving foods that are safe for dogs! If you prefer not to share food with your pup, just make sure to let your guests know.


So now that we’ve covered general safety tips, let's get to the food! Many Thanksgiving dinner foods can be toxic, too fatty, or even dangerous for our pets. Below is a list of some food items to keep out of your dog’s reach.

Unsafe Thanksgiving Foods for your dog

  1. Any foods with artificial sweeteners or chocolate These can include cookies, pies, or anything with Xylitol. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs. Chocolate is toxic because it contains a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Dogs are unable to metabolize theobromine effectively.

  2. Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, scallions, and shallots All of these are a part of the Allium family. Sadly, all six of these foods cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in a disorder in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made.

  3. Butter, turkey skin, and raw turkey These are fatty foods and can cause gastrointestinal distress.

  4. Gravy Gravy, like the items in number 3, is considered a fatty food and can cause gastrointestinal distress.

  5. Poultry bones Especially cooked bones become brittle and can splinter as well as get stuck in your dog's digestive system.

  6. Raw fish and eggs These can contain bacteria like salmonella or certain parasites.

  7. Uncooked bread dough Bread dough can cause severe bloating, a serious risk for your dog or cat.

  8. Corn on the cob These may seem like a good idea for your dog to chew on but the truth is they're indigestible, and can easily cause an intestinal obstruction.

  9. Marshmallows These are incredibly high in sugar and calories. Sugar can have harmful effects on your dog's teeth.

  10. Grapes and raisins These are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

  11. All alcohol and any caffeinated beverages The ingredients in alcohol (like ethanol or the hops of beer) are incredibly poisonous to dogs. Caffeine raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias.


Accidents do happen so if you think your dog ingested something dangerous please call your vet or 24-hour emergency clinic right away.


Finally, let’s talk about what foods your dogs can indulge in this Thanksgiving. If you want to reward your pet’s good behavior you can serve them a little of the items below with their regular dog food.


Dog-Safe Thanksgiving Foods

  1. Apple slices or pieces

  2. Boneless, skinless turkey

  3. Plain mashed white or sweet potatoes

  4. Plain green beans, carrots, loose corn, or peas