The Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Can and Can’t Eat
Dogs are omnivores like us, so nearly everything on a Thanksgiving table may be appetizing to your pup. But a traditional turkey dinner includes things that can be harmful to dogs in large amounts. So if you plan to treat your pet to some leftovers, here’s what to be aware of.
Turkey meat is fine
Meat is an appropriate food for dogs, and that includes both white and dark meat from a turkey. Make sure you don’t give your pup any scraps with bones, though—cooked bones can easily splinter and pose a danger to their digestive tract.
Also avoid turkey skin. It’s fatty, and a large amount of fat in a meal or a single day can cause acute pancreatitis. Vets tend to see an increase in pancreatitis around the holidays for exactly this reason.
Onions and garlic should be off limits
Onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks are considered unsafe for dogs, since they can irritate dogs’ digestive systems and potentially cause anemia. A little bit of onion or garlic in a food may not cause any notable illness, but onions are one of those things that we tend to forget is in food. How much onion is in the stuffing, for example? How much garlic is in the gravy? Better to avoid these foods entirely.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs; you probably already knew that. Xylitol is a common sweetener, especially in sugar-free foods, and the American Kennel Club notes that it sometimes turns up in canned pumpkin pie filling.
Sugary foods aren’t toxic, but neither dogs nor humans should eat a ton of sugar all at once. Some dogs are lactose intolerant, so ice cream and other dairy desserts are probably not a great idea.
Plain potatoes and (some) vegetables are good
Besides turkey meat, the other dog-safe foods include plain potatoes, plain sweet potatoes, and other plain vegetables like peas. Once again, avoid anything that is seasoned with onions or garlic, and anything that’s full of butter, fat, or oil. So a helping of buttery garlic mashed potatoes should be considered purely human food, but a plain baked potato would be fine.
The dose makes the poison, as the saying goes, so a tiny amount isn’t an issue for most of the dangerous foods. At a busy family dinner though, it’s possible that each person incorrectly thinks they’re the only one sneaking the pup a small treat—so if you’re hosting, make it known that the dog is only allowed to have certain foods (or none at all). And if it’s not your dog, be aware that pets may have digestive or health issues you may not know about—so always ask before giving a treat.