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What Your Pet Can And Cannot Eat on Thanksgiving!
As much as you may want to share your Thanksgiving feast, some of the food you’re serving could be toxic to your pets.
With all the good food you’re cooking on Thanksgiving Day and the tantalizing smells coming from your kitchen, your dog will probably be giving you the ultimate puppy dog eyes in the hopes of getting a taste. That said, withholding certain festive favorites is for your pup’s own good. Since there always seems to be an uptick in pet poisonings and emergency vet visits around Thanksgiving, we thought it would be a good idea to review where your pet can and cannot indulge on this holiday.
If your pet does get a hold of something he shouldn’t on Thanksgiving, make sure to contact your veterinarian immediately. If you can’t reach your normal veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline is standing by 24/7 at (855) 764-7661. Taking quick action could potentially save your pet’s life.
What is safe for dogs to eat?
Let’s start with what is safe for your pet to eat on Thanksgiving Day! First, your dog can and will likely enjoy sampling a few pieces of turkey. However, make sure to give your dog pieces of turkey that aren’t heavily seasoned and don’t include bones or skin. The bones can break your dog’s teeth or create a potentially life-threatening obstruction in their digestive tract, while the turkey skin has fatty ingredients that can make your dog’s stomach hurt or even cause pancreatitis.
Your pet can also consume potatoes and sweet potatoes as long as no additional ingredients are added. Popular seasonings like garlic and onion are toxic to dogs, and lots of butter or cream on a potato would be too fatty for your dog’s system to easily handle. But plain potatoes or sweet potatoes are a tasty and healthy treat for your pet when served in moderation. Sweet potatoes in particular are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene for your dog.
Your dog can also indulge in Thanksgiving sides like apples, green beans, plain peas, and canned pumpkin as long as a few conditions are met. Apples are generally healthy treats for your pet that contain lots of vitamins and fiber. However, large quantities of apple seeds are toxic to dogs so make sure they don’t eat the apple’s core. Green peas and plain pees are also healthy choices to feed your pet as long as they are plain. Anything creamed or covered in butter and spices isn’t suitable for your pet. Lastly, pumpkin can be given to your pet as a tasty treat and a natural remedy to soothe an upset stomach. That said, your dog can only have the fresh, plain pumpkin. Do not give your dog any pre-spiced pumpkin pie mixes or a piece of pumpkin pie.
While there are quite a few things your pup can indulge in on Thanksgiving, make sure to feed your dog treats in moderation. Over-feeding your dog or changing their diet too abruptly can also cause stomach upset.
What is not safe for your dog to eat?
Giving your dog certain foods on Thanksgiving can cause them to be very sick or even lead to their premature death. Therefore, it’s important to not feed your dog any of the following foods on Thanksgiving Day:
During the main course, do not allow your dog to munch on any bones if you offer him a piece of turkey. In addition, raisins, grapes, onions, scallions, and garlic are commonly used in main courses on Thanksgiving day and are highly toxic. You’ll want to keep your dog away from any dishes that contain these ingredients or other spices, like mashed potatoes, casseroles, turkey gravy, and stuffing.
And while your dog can have turkey, they shouldn’t have turkey skin, ham, or other fatty foods. At best, these foods can cause stomach upset like vomiting and diarrhea. At worst, fatty foods can cause your dog to develop a dangerous medical condition called pancreatitis. And if you’re making your own bread or rolls, note that yeast dough can cause problems for your pet, such as painful gas or a life-threatening condition called bloat that essentially causes your dog’s stomach to unexpectedly twist the wrong way.
When it’s time for dessert, keep pie, chocolate, and other desserts out of your dog’s reach. It’s common knowledge that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. However, if the dessert contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol your dog’s life would be in danger. Dessert is probably the most toxic course of Thanksgiving Dinner for your pup.
While you are likely careful to keep these harmful foods out of your pet’s reach, don’t forget to block off or close trash cans in a way that your pet can’t open them. Even if your dog isn’t normally the type to dig through the trash, the unusual and tempting smells from your Thanksgiving feast might make it impossible to resist. Therefore, it’s best to immediately throw toxic food items and ingredients away in the dumpster outside or behind a closed barrier like a locked door. Depending on what’s in your trash can, it could mean the difference between life or death for your pup and a lot of expensive vet bills for you.
Don’t ever feed someone else’s pet without their permission.
While you can feed your dog at your own discretion, do not ever feed someone else’s pet without their permission. While you may know a piece of food is generally non-toxic to pets, the dog you want to feed might have an allergy or dietary restriction you don’t know about. For example, poultry allergies are some of the most common in dogs. If you unknowingly gave a dog with a poultry allergy a piece of turkey you could make them sick or cause an allergic reaction.
In addition, the dog’s owners may be trying to train their dog not to beg and exhibit good manners. In order to successfully train their dog, the pet parents would appreciate it if you followed their rules to keep their dog’s training consistent. Even though we know Thanksgiving is a special occasion, our dogs don’t know that. So if the pet parent doesn’t want to make an exception to feed their dog extra treats or sneak them a taste from the dinner table, the respectful thing to do is to adhere to their wishes. In other words, if the pet parent said no don’t give in to the temptation to sneak the dog a treat it shouldn’t be eating.