It’s tempting to share holiday foods with our pets because everyone is indulging, but some are downright dangerous for dogs. Find out which Thanksgiving foods are safe and unsafe for your dog,

Our dogs are part of the family, so naturally, we want to share the Thanksgiving holiday with them. And that tends to mean sharing bits and pieces of all of the wonderful holiday food being served. It’s tempting because everyone is indulging, so pet parents need to know: What Thanksgiving foods can your dog enjoy, and which are dangerous?

Keep reading to learn how to keep your dog safe with all the goodies at the holiday table, but first, a few general safety pointers if you’re hosting the Thanksgiving feast:

  • Read Woof Report’s past tip on getting your dog ready for guests in your home.
  • Let your guests know that feeding your dog is off-limits. When you stress it’s for your pup’s safety and well-being, you’ll help them get past those fine-tuned persuasive tactics your dog employs.
  • Dog-proof your kitchen trash to keep your dog’s super sniffer from scavenging edible and not-so-edible holiday goods.

If you must offer your dog a Thanksgiving treat…

  • Make it a small sampling, and reduce the amount food in your dog’s regular meal and treats so there’s no increase in total calories.
  • Offer her a small amount of cooked turkey without skin and gravy, and do not include any bones since turkey bones do splinter.
  • Offer her cooked vegetables – sweet potatoes, green beans, and squash are safe for pups, as is cooked or canned pumpkin since it’s low in calories and high in fiber. (Note: cooked or canned pumpkin is not the same as pumpkin pie!)
  • Consider giving your dog a fun Thanksgiving treat or toy instead of food – see Woof Report’s Store for some of our favorite picks.

For foods to avoid feeding your dog (and cat), we turn to PurinaCare’s “chief vet,” Dr. Bill Craig, DVM, who has provided the following list of traditional Thanksgiving foods that are dangerous to pets. In addition to the list below, avoid feeding your pets any foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar, or those with heavy or greasy sauces.

• Bones

Many pet owners want to hand over leftover bones from the turkey, ham or steak to the dog, but these small bones can become lodged in the throat, stomach, or intestinal tract or break into splinters, causing extensive damage to the stomach and gastrointestinal tract if swallowed, even puncturing the small intestines.

• Dough and Cake Batter

The combination of raw bread dough and the pet’s body heat can cause the dough to rise inside the stomach, resulting in vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating. The batter used in cakes and pies usually contains raw eggs which could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

• Onion and Garlic

These ingredients contain sulfides, which are toxic to animals and can cause the destruction of red blood cells, especially in cats, causing Heinz body anemia.

• Sage

This, as well as many other herbs, contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets, especially in cats.

• Raisins and Grapes

They are a choking hazard to pets and ingestion of either can cause significant kidney damage.

• Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts

These can cause weakness, depression, incoordination, and tremors. In addition, the high-fat levels of these nuts may cause pancreatitis in dogs, resulting in severe vomiting and diarrhea.

• Chocolate

Chocolate can be toxic for pets, or even fatal, due to a substance called theobromine found in chocolate.

• Mushrooms

These can produce damage to a number of internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and the central nervous system. If a dog eats mushrooms, seizures, coma, vomiting, even death can occur.

• Chewing Gum and Candy

Many contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause a severe drop in blood glucose in dogs and As soon as 30 minutes after ingestion, dogs can begin to show signs of depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. Xylitol may also lead to delayed onset damage to the liver occurring days to weeks after ingestion. Xylitol toxicity in pets may be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.

• Beer

Alcohol, especially the hops in beer, can be particularly harmful to dogs, causing intoxication, panting, fever, racing heart, liver damage, even coma, seizures, and death.


The Scoop:

Thank you to PurinaCare’s “chief vet,” Dr. Bill Craig, DVM for the food safety tips.

Woof Report wishes you and your fur family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Thank you to Robert Terrell on flickr for the photo of Montana.

Originally published October 2010; reviewed and updated November 2016.