What Can My Pet Eat for Thanksgiving Dinner?

By Nicole Abrego

Thanksgiving is only a few days away! As your family gathers at the table to enjoy the holiday feast, you look to your side to see Fido giving you his best puppy-dog eyes, hoping to garner a few table scraps. Of course, you don’t want to give your pup something that could result in an emergency trip to the vet. So here are some Thanksgiving foods that are safe (and not so safe) to give to your pet this holiday. 

Yes to Turkey

Turkey is usually the main stable to any Thanksgiving dinner and something that your pet can enjoy with you. Not to mention, turkey is a great lean protein for pets. When feeding turkey to your cat or dog, ensure that it is absolutely free of bones and fully-cooked, preferably with no seasonings, skin, or fatty meat (white meat is best). Remember not to overdo it on the portion size and only give your pet a small serving.

No to Fatty Meats and Bones

Although we touched on this previously, it cannot be stressed enough. Do NOT give your pet the leftover carcass of the turkey or any type of leftover bones. Bones can cause serious obstructions in your pet’s throat or digestive tract. On top of this, animal bones can potentially splinter and cause internal injury to your pet. Fatty meats such as ham and other pork products should also be avoided as they can cause pancreatitis, an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Yes to Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes make an excellent treat for pets and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Boiled, mashed, baked, or steamed, sweet potatoes provide a great source of fiber, vitamins, and beta-carotene. Just be sure to hold the seasonings and butter, as sweet potatoes are best served plain for our four-legged friends.

No to Onions, Garlic, Grapes, and Raisins

Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins are all highly toxic to pets. Additionally, foods that contain any of these ingredients, such as stuffing or salads, should be kept away from your pet. Grapes, and subsequently raisins, are known to cause kidney failure in dogs and should never be given to them. Onions and garlic, as well as chives, can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and may potentially cause anemia. 

Yes to Pumpkin

While you shouldn’t give Fido or Fluffy a whole pumpkin pie, giving them plain pumpkin serves as a great source of fiber and is beneficial to your pet’s digestive tract. Like sweet potatoes, pumpkin can be prepared in a variety of ways. Whether it is raw, cooked, or canned, giving a small serving of pumpkin to your pet can serve as a healthy treat for them to enjoy during the Thanksgiving feast. Just be sure to avoid giving them canned pumpkin pie, as this may contain the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, which is incredibly toxic to pets.

No to Alcohol

Alcohol is a big no-no for pets. Both dogs and cats can suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, and in extreme cases, severe liver and brain damage, coma, or even death. All alcoholic beverages or foods containing alcohol should be kept away from pets at all times. In addition, don’t forget to inform guests to keep an eye on their drinks so your pet doesn’t help themselves to them.

Yes to Green Beans 

Fresh green beans and other veggies make great healthy snacks for pets. Vegetables such as green beans, carrots, and cucumbers are low in calories and provide a good dose of vitamins. Be sure that the veggies that you feed your pets are free of onion and garlic (this includes onion and garlic powder) since those foods are highly toxic to pets.

No to Chocolate

Besides the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving feasts usually include some form of a chocolate dessert to round out the meal. However, chocolate, no matter what form it’s in, is highly toxic to both dogs and cats.The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pet. Ingestion of chocolate can cause a variety of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, tremors, and in some cases, seizures and even death. Keep all chocolate desserts away from pets to prevent having to take an emergency trip to the veterinarian during the Thanksgiving holiday.

As a friendly reminder, be sure to check with your veterinarian before feeding your pet food that is not normally in their regular diet. If your pet does ingest something that they shouldn’t have, please contact us immediately. 

The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.

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