Good and Bad Thanksgiving Foods for Your Dog

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and folks around the country are preparing for their annual feast to be shared with family and loved ones. Of course, your dog is included among your loved ones. Should he be included in the meal as well?

While we don’t suggest saving a spot at the table for Fido, there are a number of Thanksgiving foods that you can share with your furry family member. Dog Tails has compiled a list of good and bad Thanksgiving foods for dogs, to help you put together that special bowl for your pup.

These tips (collected in our handy recipe card shown below) will also help you keep an eye out for dangerous foods that dogs should NOT eat on Thanksgiving (or any other day). Pay attention to ingredients, keep servings of the “good” people foods small, and don’t leave the food or trash unattended – these are some of the steps to making this a safe and healthy Thanksgiving for your dog!

DogWatch's Thanksgiving Recipe Card for Dogs

Foods you should NEVER feed your dog at Thanksgiving

  • Turkey Skin or Bones – We may love the turkey skin, but it is too high in fat and filled with herbs and spices for Fido. Too much fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Cooked bones are even more hazardous, as they can break in the dog’s mouth or throat and cause serious damage. Stick with the dog toys shaped like bones, not the real thing.illustration of wine and glasses
  • Alcohol – This one should be obvious. We all know how too much alcohol effects people. It takes much less alcohol to have the same effect on dogs. It’s never ok for Fido to drink booze – so keep it far away from him at all times.
  • Nutmeg and Sage – Both of these ingredients, if consumed in large amounts, can be extremely dangerous to dogs. If you are cooking with this spice or herb, keep them away from the dog. Small amounts of nutmeg can cause stomach upset (so no pumpkin pie for Fido), while large amounts can cause increased heart rate and even seizures. Consuming large quantities of sage will upset the dog’s stomach and could harm the nervous system.
  • Walnuts, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts – In general, nuts are not good for dogs, as they are often high in fat. Large nuts like walnuts and pecans are hard for dogs to digest, are high in fat, and can cause stomach upset. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and have been known to cause neurological problems.
  • Onions, Garlic, Scallions and Shallots – Onions contains thiosulphate, which is toxic to dogs as it causes damage to red blood cells. Remember, all foods cooked with these (including foods on our “good” list) should not be consumed by your dog.illustration of grapes
  • Grapes and Raisins – If a dog ingests grapes or raisins, it can damage their kidneys, and even result in kidney failure. Put these on the NEVER list.
  • Chocolate – This one is well known to dog people. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is harmful for dogs. It contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs can’t break down and excrete like humans can.

If the Thanksgiving table is just too tempting for your food-stealing pup, consider a DogWatch Indoor Boundary System. Safe, easy-to-use and customizable, our Indoor Boundaries help keep your pets out of certain rooms in the house or away from trouble spots like kitchen counters or trash cans. Talk to your local DogWatch Dealer today and keep your pet safe and your house under control this holiday season.

Thanksgiving foods that are OK for your dog (in small quantities, of course!)

  • Turkey Meat (light only) – As long as it is boneless and skinless, turkey meat is a good lean protein for dogs. Darker meat is higher in fat, so it should be avoided in favor of lighter breast meat.illustration of pumpkin
  • Pumpkin – Pumpkin is a great addition to a dog-friendly Thanksgiving bowl. Packed with fiber, Pumpkin is healthy for dogs and can help with digestion, which could come in handy if your dog accidentally overindulges on the holiday. As always, pure pumpkin is best, and pumpkin pie filling (with added sugars and spices) is not suitable for dogs.
  • Cranberry Sauce – Cranberries are a safe, healthy fruit for dogs. Cranberry sauce, the traditional side on the Thanksgiving table, is often filled with sugar, so keep Fido’s portions to a minimum.
  • Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are another great people food for dogs, and one that most of them love to eat! They are also a great source of fiber and vitamins. A good tip is to set aside some cooked sweet potatoes before you add any salt or butter (or marshmallows!) to them, and save those for the dog. They’ll love the spuds so much, they won’t miss the added ingredients.
  • Mashed or Baked Potatoes – Regular potatoes, while not quite as nutritious as the sweet variety, are also a safe and yummy treat for dogs. Again, set aside your pup’s serving of potatoes before adding butter, garlic, gravy, cheese, etc.
  • Green Beans – Don’t forget this healthy vegetable when preparing your dog’s Thanksgiving feast. Another great source of fiber and vitamins, green beans are also low in calories, so they make a great snack when those puppy dog eyes are calling you. Again, make sure you feed them the unseasoned kind, and not the buttery green bean casserole that Grandma made.illustration of apple
  • Apple Slices – Apples (minus the seeds) are also a great, crunchy treat for dogs. If you have a guest that loves to share with your dog, having a few of these and other dog-safe treats on hand is a great way to keep everyone happy and healthy. Applesauce is also an acceptable treat for dogs, but stick to the unsweetened variety.

If you have any questions about the safety of foods and ingredients for your dog, contact your veterinarian. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving to all – both human and canine!

8 Comments on “Good and Bad Thanksgiving Foods for Your Dog

  1. Thank you for these helpful reminders and explanations – I had never heard the explanations before! – I printed out your recipe card and stuck in on the refrigerator for my guests to see. Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Diana & “Daisy May”

  2. I was told to add a little garlic to my dogs food to help keep away worms….so I’ve been doing this. Your suggestion is no to garlic….

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Guys! Also, wanted to thank you BOTH for your thoughtfull well wishes as Liz goes though her cancer treatment. You Guys are really very nice people. We wanted a Dog Fence and got that plus meeting real quality folks. God Bless

    • Thank you very much, Kenny and Liz, for your kind message. We wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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