Foods your pet can and cannot eat for Thanksgiving

Do your homework before you dish any delicious leftovers to your furry companions

Safe Holiday Foods You Can Feed Your Dog

Thanksgiving dinner can leave you feeling generous. And if you’ve got pets, that generosity might just extend to offering them some scraps from your holiday feast. But while we know exactly what we like for Thanksgiving dinner, knowing what’s safe for our cats and dogs to eat can be a little trickier.

“A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). “However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse — an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.”

Let’s start with the foods you definitely shouldn’t give your pet, courtesy of the ASPCA:

  • Raw bread dough: Ingesting raw yeast bread dough can result in “bloated, drunken pets” and lead to a life-threatening emergency.
  • Cake: Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria and could result in food poisoning.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can result in vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, increased heart rate or seizures.
  • Nuts: Nuts, which are high in fat, increase the risk of pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts in particular may lead to vomiting, diarrhea or unsteady walking.
  • Fatty foods: Butter, gravy, bacon and other delicious fatty goods can pose serious threats of pancreatitis in pets. While symptoms may not be immediate, look out for vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
  • Raisins, grapes, currents: Consuming these may result in acute renal failure in dogs.
  • Discarded food items: Turkey bones and items like corn cobs can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. This may require surgery.
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener): Found in candies or sweetened desserts, xylitol can decrease a dog's blood sugar and result in liver damage.

While your furry friend has food limitations, there are some items they can enjoy. Here is a list of foods your pet can have for Thanksgiving according to the American Kennel Club:

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes: You get to enjoy both kinds of potatoes, and your dog can too. However, give only boiled or baked potatoes with no butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper, and serve in moderation.
  • Apples: are full of vitamins A and C and contain lots of great fiber.
  • Turkey meat (no bones, no skin): The main dish is okay to offer up in moderation, but turkey with too much seasoning may upset your pet’s stomach.
  • Green beans: With ample amounts of plant fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and K, plain green beans are great for dogs.
  • Plain peas: Peas are a fine choice, but creamed peas should be avoided.
  • Pumpkin: Thanksgiving’s official gourd is a very healthy snack. If you’re using canned pumpkin, be sure it’s just pumpkin and not the pre-spiced pie mix.