Dogs deserve real food, and that’s one thing we can all agree on. And those begging puppy eyes make it pretty hard to resist dropping a little under the table as you dig into your Thanksgiving feast. We’re all guilty of it, and a little treat doesn’t hurt– unless you drop something that is toxic to your dog.
As your go-to guide this November, here is the definitive list of every Thanksgiving food you can (and can’t) feed your dog. Print it out, stick it on the fridge, and make sure everyone at your house knows which foods to keep off the ground.
As long as you only feed the right parts, turkey gets the green light! Not only can dogs safely eat turkey, but they should. Before you throw a leg in your dog’s bowl, just make sure to follow a couple rules.
- Stick with white meat
- Avoid fatty skin
- Never feed anything with bones! (They pose a choking hazard, and sharp fragments can puncture internally as they go through the body.)
Delicious as it may be for humans, we ask that you don’t feed any to your four-legged friends. Loaded with fat and butter, gravy (even the lighter versions) is typically way too heavy for your dog’s system. It isn’t toxic, but will definitely result in a spell of diarrhea (which isn’t a fun way for anyone to spend the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday).
Stuffing is an iffy one, because stuffing recipes widely vary. For this reason we say steer clear of feeding stuffing to your dogs. While the bread component is the most harmless, most stuffings include tons of herbs and veggies that can be toxic to dogs.
Garlic and onions are high on the list of foods that are toxic to dogs, and we don’t think you’ll find a delicious stuffing without them. They can both lead to toxic anemia, though the dangerous nutrients are much more concentrated in garlic (meaning it takes a smaller amount of garlic to poison your dog than it does of onion).
As a rule of thumb, any herb or vegetable that falls in the Allium family is a no-go. Common ones are garlic, onions, chives, and leeks.
4. Mashed Potatoes
Plain potatoes are fine for dogs (we actually feed potatoes in most of our dog’s meals), and offer tons of essential nutrients like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and potassium. However, you won’t want to feed any that have things like cream, butter, or gravy mixed in. These will all lead to upset tummies, and likely diarrhea. Likewise, herbs added for flavor (such as garlic) can also be dangerous. Stick with simple mashed potatoes, and you can give your dog a lick. Otherwise play it safe, and keep it on your plate!
The veggies on your Thanksgiving table may vary, but let’s cover the classic sides.
Sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious for dogs, and your dog will thank you for sharing this yummy treat. They’re actually a common ingredient in dog food, and double as dog treats. If you’re taking the old-school approach and covering them in marshmallows, they are technically still safe for dogs, but you want to make sure they only get a bite or two- all that sugar content can overwhelm their little systems.
If you have any children at your Thanksgiving dinner, you can be sure a few green beans will be dropped/flung/tossed off the table and into the waiting paws of your canine. And as long as you’re not baking them with onions or garlic (or in a green bean casserole), you don’t have to worry! Green beans are yet another nutritious vegetable for dogs, providing plenty of fiber and Vitamins A, C, and K. Compared to some of the other Thanksgiving fixings, they’re also lower in calorie content than other foods.
Carrots are also a common autumn veggie, and yet another that is more than safe for your dog! Like green onions, they’re a lighter treat than Turkey or potatoes.
Some mushrooms are also okay for dogs, but only if they are not wild mushrooms. Wild mushrooms are toxic for dogs, though moderate amounts of white button mushrooms are okay. Many dog-owners get confused as to whether or not mushrooms are safe, but keep that distinction and you won’t have an issue!
The most important veggie category to make sure to avoid is any members of the Allium family mentioned above (onions, garlic, leeks, chives).
6. Cranberry Sauce
Delicious,sweet, and well-loved by all of us, your tangy cranberry sauce isn’t toxic to your dog, but we don’t encourage it either. Simple cranberry sauce is one of those don’t-need-to-call-poison-control-but-maybe-don’t-intentionally-feed-it human foods. The main issue is that it has a ton of sugar in it, which is less than ideal for your dog.
Cranberry sauce with other fruits though, such as grapes, raisins, or currants, is when it gets trickier. All of these fruits contain toxin that can damage the kidneys of dogs, and even be fatal. Make sure your dog does not eat any fruit sauce with these ingredients.
7. Pumpkin Pie
For dessert, you certainly don’t want your dog to feel left out! Actual pumpkin and pumpkin puree are superfoods for your pup, but a slice of pumpkin pie has too many harmful ingredients in it. Save some of the puree before you make your pie, so your dog can enjoy their own version without any harmful side effects. On the positive side, you won’t have to share! (The same goes for apple pies. Apple slices are healthy and suitable for dogs, but don’t share any actual pie with your pup.)
Last but not least, a classic topper that makes any holiday meal feel like fall. Unfortunately, nuts are all over the board in terms of toxicity (or nutritional benefits) to dogs, that if you’re worried about keeping track, we recommend steering clear. For the record, peanuts, and hazelnuts are safe for dogs, whereas almonds, walnuts, and pecans are better avoided.
An easy way to remember?
Print this infographic out so everybody in the family knows which Thanksgiving foods are safe or toxic to slip under the table this holiday!
If your dog does ingest anything toxic, or exhibits symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or pale gums, you can contact one of these pet poison hotlines 24/7 for assistance.
For a turkey dinner you know your pup can safely eat, order a home-cooked meal in advance to receive this dish for the holidays.