Food plays a major role in the Thanksgiving festivities. The smell wafting through the family or dining room from the kitchen can be just as inviting to your dog as it is to your guests. Safety is of great importance during this season as your dog will be underfoot while food is being prepared and brought to the table. This is a good time for a guest, who is not helping with cooking or kitchen duties to spend quality time with your dog. Have them go for a walk, play outdoors/indoors, or take some selfies! Your dog will be too distracted to sneak into the kitchen if they have the focus of somebody’s attention.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or you do not feed them table scraps, let your guests know which healthy dog treats they can give your dog. Let them know that your dog is well fed, and the puppy dog eyes are nothing but a ploy. If your dog does enjoy human food in moderation, here are some safe and unsafe human food options to pick up during grocery shopping.
Raw and cooked carrots are healthy add-on to their meals. Be sure to cut whole and sticks to bite- size pieces to prevent choking.
Plain potatoes or sweet potatoes (no added ingredients)
Baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes should only be given to dogs on occasion. But be sure to start off with small amounts. If you want to mix sweet potato into their dry kibble for extra nutrition, try steaming or boiling the sweet potatoes, whichever works best for you.
A peeled slice of raw apple won't do any harm. Just be sure to avoid the stem, core, and seeds as those can be a choking hazard and the seeds contain cyanide.
Canned, cooked, and pureed pumpkin in its purest form (with no additives, avoid pumpkin pie filling) is the easiest way to serve your dog squash. Check the ingredients before you buy.
Fresh and frozen peas are the best option. Avoid canned peas as they can be high in sodium.
Freshly chopped, frozen or steamed green beans are a great low calorie treat. Avoid canned green beans as they can be high in sodium.
Bread (no butter)
Small pieces of white or wheat baked bread (free of nuts, seeds, and raisins) are safe for dogs to digest in moderate proportions.
As long as your dog isn’t allergic to rice or diabetic, cooked brown or white rice is perfectly safe in moderation.
Unseasoned corn kernels are healthy for your dog. Never give them the cob as this could lead to choking or intestinal blockage if consumed.
Cheese is packed with nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and B12. opt for low or reduced fat varieties and don’t overfeed. If thinking about making a charcuterie board for the holiday, incorporate dog friendly cheeses such as soft goat’s milk cheese, mozzarella, Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese. Goat’s cheese will be a healthier option since it is better for lactose intolerance.
Turkey and Turkey skin
It is best to avoid turkey meat on Thanksgiving because the dry brine rubbed inside and outside of turkey may include seasonings that are toxic to dogs. The skin is high in fat which may cause pancreatitis.
Stuffing typically contains garlic and onions which is toxic to dogs. It is also high in fat and sodium which you will want to avoid as well.
Gravy has additional spices, butter and other ingredients that might be too rich for your dog and toxic.
Canned Cranberry Sauce
Jellied cranberry sauce is high in sugar and may include other ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as grape.
The reason pecans are considered toxic is that they contain a compound called juglone, also found in walnuts, that is harmful to dogs. Like walnuts, pecans are also susceptible to mold, which contains tremorgenic mycotoxins, which are harmful substances produced by some types of molds. If consumed by a dog, these toxins can lead to tremors, seizures, and even damage a dog’s neurological system.
Even the preservatives used in ham are loaded with nitrates and nitrites, which are sodium-based. This may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and urination. Traditionally baked ham during the holidays will have a sugar glaze. Table sugar and modern sweeteners are not natural to dogs.
Best to avoid all casseroles as many include garlic and onions and are typically high in sodium. Too much salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, incoordination, and seizures in dogs.
We know it’s Thanksgiving, but a good number of people have already put out winter holiday plants. Poinsettias, holly berries, mistletoe and cedar Christmas trees are all toxic to dogs.
Slightly less well-known, nutmeg can wreak havoc on your dog’s body. Unfortunately, dogs are often attracted to the scent of this spice. Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, which adversely affects a dog’s health. Tremors, convulsions, seizures, and even death can result if a dog ingests nutmeg. Less serious side effects include dehydration, body pain, and nausea.