Thanksgiving feasts full of fabulous dishes will surely make your dog give you sad and wanting stares. No matter how cute or convincing your dog may be, proceed with caution when you decide to share those tasty morsels. While some foods are fine, others are not. Let's talk about what not to feed your pets on Thanksgiving.
Vets see a large spike of poisoning in dogs during the holidays. This is because different types of dangerous foods are freely available for your dog to steal off the table. Before we dig deeper into the traditional Thanksgiving food and how it might affect your dog, you should consider making some Thanksgiving treats just for your pup so you're not tempted to give them table scraps. You can find plenty of recipes online for full homemade Thanksgiving dog food meals.
You might feel like giving turkey to your dog should be fine, and if you do it carefully it can be, because plain turkey meat itself is good for dogs; it's no different than giving them any other type of meat without additives. However, avoid feeding your dog to turkey skin since it is almost always seasoned and therefore, hazardous. Keeping your turkey basted in things like garlic, onion and sage makes it toxic for your dog (as well as your cat).
Beware of salmonella, which becomes a real threat if you feed your dog undercooked meat or raw meat. Not only that, cooked bones can break in your dog’s throat or mouth and choke him to death. Raw bones are fine for your dog, but cooked bones are dangerous – always remember that.
Feed your dog small pieces of white turkey meat, since their stomach will not have issues with lean meat. Avoid giving them drumsticks or any other red meat from your holiday turkey since fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
- Stuffing and Gravy
Where there is turkey, there’s bound to be gravy and stuffing. Both of these things can cause harm to your dog. Most of the ingredients that go into stuffing and gravy – like onions, sage, garlic, mushrooms, leeks, peppers, chives and scallions are toxic for dogs. For example, onions contain thiosulphate, which can cause damage to red blood cells. Sage can upset your dog’s stomach and could even harm his nervous system.
- Green Bean Casserole
Green beans are a very healthy vegetable for your dog and you should definitely include it in his Thanksgiving feast. They are a good source of vitamins and fiber. However, if you made a green bean casserole, which has been seasoned, skip it. Green bean casserole includes mushroom soup or onions, which are not good for your dog.
- Cranberry Sauce or Applesauce
Even though cranberries and apples (without seeds) themselves are not harmful, they can be bad when in the form of sauce, which is loaded with sugar. Excess sugar can cause an upset stomach for dogs while artificial sweeteners like xylitol are downright toxic. Even the homemade cranberry sauce or applesauce is usually full of sugar, and it might even include other harmful ingredients.
- Bread or Cookie Dough
Eating raw bread or cookie dough can be especially harmful for dogs. This is one of the most important foods to note on this list of what not to feed your dogs on Thanksgiving. They often include raw eggs, which is a shortstop on the way to getting salmonella.
Also, if your pup eats the dough, he will most likely have serious abdominal bloating that can be very painful and lead to vomiting. The reason lies in the well-known feature of any dough type that rises when it gets warm. If that happens inside the stomach of your dog, it can result in a trip to the vet.
- Fruit Salad
You can feed your dog certain fruits, but there are some fruits that should be avoided. Most fruit salads contain grapes, and grapes can cause pretty serious kidney problems. If you made the fruit salad yourself and you didn’t include grapes or raisins and there's no added sugar or syrup, then it might be fine to give fruit salad to your dog (in moderation).
- Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts and Pecans
There are certain nuts that are fine for your dog in moderate amounts. Since they contain a lot of fats, feeding your dog any nut in excessive amounts can cause problems. However, some nuts do make the list of what not to feed your dogs on Thanksgiving because they are especially toxic to pets. Walnuts and macadamia nuts are definitely not fine. Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, vomiting and other neurological symptoms while walnuts can cause gastric issues and might even cause seizures if they contain mycotoxins.
- Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie
Pumpkin pie is another example of a food that is generally good for your dog, but in processed form should definitely be avoided. For example, feeding your dog raw pumpkin can help calm down an unsettled digestive system. Pumpkin seeds are also good for dogs.
Pumpkin pie is a different story, since it usually includes nutmeg and cinnamon. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a toxin which can cause seizures and problems with the dog’s central nervous system in large amounts. Cinnamon can cause vomiting, low blood sugar, liver disease or diarrhea if ingested in large amounts. It can even be fatal in some cases. The same thing goes for sweet potato pie. Even though sweet potatoes are perfectly fine for your dog, in combination with cinnamon or nutmeg they can cause all kinds of issues.
We hope this helps you have a safe and happy holiday. We’ve included a reference chart below from the American Kennel Club for foods you should and shouldn’t feed your dog. Happy Thanksgiving!