Thanksgiving Treat Safety for your Dog


You already know how difficult it will be to keep your dog away from the scrumptious scent of Thanksgiving dinner. It may be even harder for YOU to resist that look your pup always throws your way when he wants something delicious… you know, the one that melts your heart and has you sneaking a treat under the table without a second thought.

But do you know the truth about which Thanksgiving foods are safe, and which are dangerous for your dog’s health?

There are a lot of options for what you can share with your furry pal on Thanksgiving. After all, it is a day to give thanks for all that you have, including your pets, right? Yes– but some turkey day treats may be more hazards than you realize for your dog.

Table scraps can be very dangerous to pets who are already predisposed to health problems. Be especially careful around animals that are diabetic, have sensitive stomachs, are on a special diet, or are at risk for pancreatitis. Obese pets should not be given any table scraps.

The Barking Lot wants you to be aware of some common Thanksgiving treats that can be dangerous for your dog.

The Turkey: Yes…that big, golden delicious bird can be the most hazardous thing on the Thanksgiving table for your dog. A piece or two of fully cooked turkey meat won’t hurt the average dog, but be cautions with the other parts of the bird you and your guests might not consume.

Turkey Bones: Even when fully cooked, turkey bones can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. Be sure to keep the bones up high, away from where your dog could reach them if you leave the kitchen unattended. Thousands of dogs a year are hospitalized for bone ingestion and it can be a life threatening problem.

Turkey Skin: Of course, this is the most rich and flavorful part of the turkey, but the skin can also be bad news for your pet. All of those oils and spices used to flavor the bird can make a dog’s stomach upset, or even cause pancreatitis.

Food Wrapping Materials: The materials you use to wrap your turkey and sweet potatoes in like plastic wrap and aluminum foil also need to be kept out of your dog’s reach. Your pup may want to help you clean up after a long day of cooking by licking all the grease off, but the risk of chewing on or ingesting those materials is very dangerous.

The three C’s – Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: (Especially dark chocolate or baker’s chocolate) is a no-no for dogs. These foods all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Keep an eye on your fancy desserts– they are not good doggie treats.

Keep a Safe Treat List: Keep a list near your kitchen with all foods that are toxic to your pets. The list includes some common Thanksgiving feast ingredients, like garlic, onion, chives, sage, nutmeg, certain nuts, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, eggs, and salt.

For a full list of foods you should NEVER feed your pet, click here. Ask your guests to read your list, and not to feed your dog table scraps. A good rule of thumb to follow is your gut– if you are not sure if the treat is safe for your dog to eat, don’t let them have it.

Many veterinarians recommend offering fresh vegetables as a treat for your dog, as long as the vegetables do not come from a can full of sodium. Make sure that all treats are cut into sizes that are easy for your pet to chew. If you notice any digestive upset as a result of adding new foods, be sure to discontinue those foods that are causing trouble.

REMEMBER: treats should make up only 5 – 10 % of your pet’s diet–the rest should come from a nutritionally complete pet food.

Safe table treats for your dog: 

  • Green beans
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber slices
  • Zucchini slices
  • Apple slices (without seeds)
  • Cooked lean meats
  • Baked potatoes (no unripe potatoes or potato plants)
  • Bread (no raisin bread or raw bread dough)
  • Unsalted pretzels
  • Bananas
  • Unsalted almonds
  • Plain, cooked pasta

Check with your veterinarian for their recommendations on the best treats for your pet.
Be sure to keep your trash receptacle where the dogs can’t reach it. Throwing yummy food and wrappers in the trash can won’t deter a dog from trying to get it.

If you think your pet may have ingested something dangerous, contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control immediately (1-888-426-4435).

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving from the Barking Lot! If your dog needs grooming before the big Thanksgiving dinner, book a grooming appointment with us here.


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