The holiday of thanks is celebrated with a large meal of Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin and more. Of course, your dog will be present for the festivities and people will be inclined to give them some snacks from their plate. However, not all Thanksgiving foods are good for dogs. In fact, several are extremely toxic, so before everyone starts giving the family pet handouts, it is good to set guidelines for what is acceptable and what is not.
Let’s start with healthy Thanksgiving food for your dog.
Turkey is a great protein for dogs. Hungry Hound carries many turkey products in raw, freeze-dried, canned and kibble form. It’s easy to digest and has a lower caloric and fat content than chicken.
That doesn’t mean turkey should be flowing freely from your table. Turkey is best for dogs unseasoned so make sure they aren’t getting any of the skin, where the seasoning normally lies. And keep them away from the turkey bones!
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber which aids the digestive system in functioning properly. They are one of the best dietary sources of Vitamin A which promotes a healthy skin, coat, eyes, nerves and muscles. It can almost be considered a superfood for dogs.
Unfortunately, sweet potatoes prepared at Thanksgiving are usually filled with extra sugar and dairy products. All of these things can cause tummy trouble in your pet. A delicious baked potato with no butter or seasonings is best for your pooch.
Like sweet potatoes, green beans are also loaded with fiber, but they also contain a large amount of Vitamins C and K which prevents anemia and promotes a healthy heart. Just make sure they aren’t cooked in heavy oils or butter or blended with onions and/or garlic – both which are toxic to dogs.
Pumpkin contains Vitamins A, C and E as well as minerals like iron and potassium. It can boost your dog’s nutrition and is great for their digestion. It’s a bonus for the skin and coat as well. Remember there is a difference between canned pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie – mostly strong spices. Those aren’t the best for dogs, so stick to canned pumpkin or supplements mixed into their food.
Cranberries are full of antioxidants and can improve bladder health along with supporting the immune system. Both raw and dried cranberries are safe, but it is best to feed them to your pet in prepared treats or supplements. Traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce is loaded with large amounts of sugar and alcohol or in some cases, grapes, which are highly toxic to dogs. This includes cranberry jelly out of a can.
Now let’s talk about the big NOs to Thanksgiving Dinner for your dogs…
Stuffing is extremely bad dogs. If you could overlook the fact that it is carb heavy and loaded with sodium and fat, and why would you do that, it is prepared with sage, onions, and garlic… all toxic to dogs.
Ham is a fatty meat (why it tastes so good) and it is very difficult for your dog to digest. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis and other digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Your dog will be miserable and so will you.
As stated before, turkey bones are NOT meant for your dog, so this bears repeating. They can cause indigestion and vomiting and can obstruct the bowel. Even worse, turkey bones (like chicken) can splinter and pierce your dog’s digestive tract.
Most mashed potatoes include a large amount of dairy, and that can cause diarrhea in lactose intolerant dogs. Furthermore, they’re starchy, which make them hard to digest, and full of carbohydrates and calories which can pack on the pounds for your dog.
While grapes and raisins aren’t necessarily sitting on the dinner table, they are included in A LOT of Thanksgiving dishes. They are DEADLY to dogs. Do not let them ingest any food that has them included.
While not always fatal, chocolate has a chemical, theobromine, that is toxic to dogs. That combined with the caffeine that is also in chocolate, along with the sugar and fat can give your pup stomach troubles at a minimum.
Finally, remember that even foods that are good for your dog in large amounts will make them sick. You don’t want to be a party pooper, but if you know people can’t resist giving your pooch a treat, maybe keep them from the table and bring them out later.
Here’s to safe and delicious Thanksgiving 2022!