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?

In fact, there are a number of Thanksgiving foods that you can safely share with your furry family member. We’ve compiled a list of classic Thanksgiving foods that are safe for dogs, and foods that they shouldn’t eat. So go ahead and put together that special holiday bowl for your pup – in moderation, of course!

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. Due to their smaller body weight, 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, Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie Spice – These classic fall baking spices, if consumed in large amounts, can be extremely dangerous to dogs. If you are cooking with cinnamon sticks or serving them with cider or mulled wine, keep them away from the dog at all times. Meanwhile, a small amount of nutmeg can cause stomach upset in your pet, while large amounts can cause increased heart rate and even seizures. As these two spices are common seasonings used in pumpkin pie, you’ll want to keep your pup away from that desert to be safe.
  • 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 vomiting and 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 Hidden Pet Boundaries. Safe, easy-to-use and customizable, our mobile indoor systems 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 fruit for dogs in moderation. 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!