Dog-friendly Thanksgiving Bites for Your Special Pup
For many of us, the holidays serve as the perfect excuse to spoil our furry, four-legged friends. And really, with so many inviting dishes in our Thanksgiving spread—can you blame us?
But what foods are safe for your pup to chow down on, and which ones are “off the table”? Are there any dishes we can serve Fido that won’t result in an unpleasant digestive issue later?
If you’re in the habit of slipping your dog table scraps, you’ll be happy to hear there are a few tasty Thanksgiving morsels your dog can safely enjoy—but conditions apply.
We’ve broken down the main elements of the Thanksgiving meal, so you can see which foods get the thumbs up, and which ones are a no-go. Be sure to share this information with your guests, so no one’s sneaking your dog any potentially dangerous snacks.
Let’s talk turkey. The star of your Thanksgiving dinner is (mostly) safe for dogs—but it must be unseasoned. Skip the skin, which is packed with fat and has likely been prepared with butter and spices that can cause pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs.
Turkey bones, however, are off-limits. While your hungry pooch may love the taste, bones can easily splinter, causing painful intestinal blockages or internal bleeding.
What’s Thanksgiving without a little pumpkin pie? As tempting as it may be to indulge your dog with a tiny slice, all the sugar and spices in this dessert can cause major tummy problems.
That said, plain pumpkin puree is not only safe (and delicious) for Fido, but it’s also a healthy superfood for dogs. Rich in fiber, pumpkin keeps your dog’s digestive system in good working order. It also contributes to healthy skin and fur.
Just make sure you’re feeding your dog fresh, plain pumpkin—not a spiced pie mix. And be prepared for a few extra trips to the yard since this special treat can increase your dog’s erm…regularity.
3. Fly direct
Make life easier by booking a direct flight, if you can. Dragging your poor pooch through a crowded O’Hare is never good for your nerves (or your dog’s nerves, for that matter). If a non-stop flight isn’t in the cards, try booking on a weekday when airports are less busy.
If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, remember that it can get uncomfortably hot or cold in there, depending on the weather. In the sticky heat of summer, fly in the morning or evening. In the winter, travel midday to avoid extreme temperatures.
Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving classic, but it’s one your dog should skip. Most recipes call for mushrooms and onions, which are actually toxic to dogs.
If you don’t want your dog to miss out on the health benefits these crunchy veggies bring to the table, you can serve them up raw and unadorned (ie: zero butter or seasonings). Raw green beans will give your pup a hefty dose of vitamins C and K, manganese, and fiber.
Plain peas are another dog-friendly option—just avoid creamed peas, as the fat can cause a tummy ache.
Apple pie, anyone? Anyone other than the family dog, that is.
While everyone has their own preferences when it comes to apple pie (I’m a crust-lover, myself), this traditional American treat is not one we should be sharing with our dogs. High in fat and filled with bellyache-triggering ingredients such as sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, apple pie can lead to high blood pressure, liver disease, and even seizures.
Instead of pie, slip your dog some plain, fresh apple slices—before they get baked. Your dog will enjoy a healthy serving of fiber and vitamins A and C.
Make sure you ditch the core, too—overconsumption of apple seeds can be toxic to dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
Touted as a nutrient-packed superfood for humans, sweet potatoes also carry some serious health benefits for our canine partners. Consumed in moderation, they’re a great source of vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as potassium and fiber. Vitamin A contributes to healthier skin, fur, muscles, and nerves, so this is one vegetable that’s earned its place on your dog’s Thanksgiving plate.
To take advantage of this seasonal veggie’s benefits, try roasting them without any additional seasonings. Raw is cool, too. This should come as a no-brainer, but never serve your dog sweet potatoes with marshmallows. These sweet confections contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs.
While plain, raw cranberries get the green light here, you need to watch out for cranberry sauce. This tart side can contain ingredients that are dangerous to dogs, such as raisins, sugar, and liquor.
For carb-aholics, a basket of warm dinner rolls is always a welcome sight. If you can’t resist sharing, it’s safe to offer your dog a small amount of plain, white bread—just avoid any bread with add-ins like nuts, raisins, or spices.
One caveat: don’t overdo it. Bread has zero nutritional value for dogs, and it can lead to weight problems.
Image by Bruno via Pixabay
Who doesn’t love corn? It should come as no surprise that dogs love it, too. Thankfully, it’s safe for dogs to consume corn in moderation. Never let your pooch gnaw on the cob, though—it poses a serious choking risk.
For some people, Thanksgiving without the humble potato is unthinkable. But can your pup enjoy this creamy, dreamy sensation too?
Undressed mashed potatoes are safe, but you’ll have to leave out all the things that make them irresistible like butter, cheese, sour cream, and gravy. These additions, while delicious, can lead to pancreatitis and intestinal discomfort in dogs. The AKC recommends serving your dog a boiled or baked potato, without any seasonings.
It may seem harmless enough, but stuffing actually contains several ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Garlic, onions, and leeks can result in an elevated heart rate, pancreatitis, anemia, and kidney failure.
Here’s a dog-friendly tip: save some of the carrot and celery slices from your stuffing prep. These low-cal bites are filled with nutrients. Plus, your dog will love them!
Do you have a special holiday treat prepared for your dog this Thanksgiving? If so, let us know what you plan to dish up!