Thanksgiving Foods and Dogs

By Elizabeth Racine, DVM

Sharing the holiday spirit with your dog is fun! Many dogs love holiday gatherings with family and friends, especially because there’s a good chance someone will be slipping them some snacks under the table. Before you sit down to enjoy your favorite fall meals, make sure you and your guests know what’s safe to share with your dog.

Turkey

Turkey is a great fall treat for your dog! Only give your dog the cooked white meat, because the dark meat and the skin are high in fat which can make your dog sick. Also be careful not to give your dog any meat which has been seasoned with onions or garlic, both of which are toxic for dogs. Turkey bones should never be given to your dog because they can cause damage to the digestive tract.

Cranberries

Fresh cranberries are fine to give to your dog, although most pups dislike the bitter taste! Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, is very high in added sugar and should not be shared with your dog. The same goes for any other holiday side dishes which may have an added sugary glaze.

Vegetables

Your favorite fall vegetables — like carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash — make perfect low-calorie snacks for your dog! Try offering your dog slices of carrot or a bit of roasted sweet potato. Just make sure there’s nothing added in, like glazes or flavorings.

Apples

Pieces of apple make a great snack and dogs love them! Try dipping slices of apple in peanut butter for an extra tasty treat your dog will go nuts for. And while many pet care websites are quick to caution owners about the dangers of apple seeds, the truth is that your dog would need to eat a large volume of crushed apple seeds to experience any toxic effects. Still, it’s best not to feed your dog the apple core, which may cause a gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed whole.

Bread and Rolls

It’s safe for your pup to have a small piece of bread or roll as long as it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients such as onions or raisins. However, be careful to keep raw bread dough out of your dog’s reach. When ingested, raw bread dough ferments rapidly in the stomach, releasing carbon dioxide gas and ethanol, which cause severe bloating and alcohol toxicity.

Desserts

You may be tempted to pass your dog a slice of pumpkin pie, but it’s best to save this fall dish for your human guests. Most fall treats — like candy, cakes, and pies — have too much added sugar for your dog. Some varieties of candy and gum also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs. If you really want your dog to enjoy a sweet treat with you, try offering a small dish of homemade whipped cream.

With these healthy fall snacks, your dog will love joining in on the holiday festivities with you!