Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Can & Can’t Eat

Written by: Hope Bobbitt

November 18, 2022

Once November 1st hits, we collectively begin a mental drool thinking about feasts of turkey, countless side dishes, and pumpkin pie—followed by a tryptophan-induced food coma. Just don’t fall asleep with a turkey leg still in hand, or your dog will be the first to claim it!

Once that turkey hits the oven and dogs set up camp in the kitchen, they’ll start quietly calculating the perfect time to transform into leg-tripping road blocks, your arms conveniently full of food. *Casserole dish goes flying*

pitbull underneath a table

Take Precautions With Your Dog Around Potentially Harmful Foods

A lot of households can get hectic on Thanksgiving. Friends or family piling into the house, kids running around, and lots of food getting passed around can easily lead to your dog getting ahold of foods they shouldn’t be eating. Here are a few ways you can keep your pup safe this Turkey Day:

  • Use a pet/baby gate to keep them out of the kitchen.
  • Don’t place cooked dishes near edges of tables of counters. Furry counter surfers level up their food swiping skills around the holidays.
  • Ask guests to refrain from feeding your dog scraps.
  • Block off the “kid’s table,” or confine your dog to a separate room or their crate during mealtime.
  • Keep your trash can out of reach or secure it from being pillaged.
  • In addition to food safety, if guests will be coming and going throughout the day, make sure your dog has their collar on with tags in case they manage to slip out the door.
golden retriever on a welcome mat

Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Should NOT Eat

If it helps, keeps a list of these foods on the fridge so the whole family knows to be diligent with scraps. Some foods may just cause stomach upset, but others can be toxic or deadly.

  • Turkey Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and break into sharp pieces that can pierce your dog’s mouth or digestive system, causing serious injury.
  • Turkey Skin: The fat and seasoning on turkey skin can cause severe stomach upset or even pancreatitis. 
  • Onions/Scallions/Garlic: These are all toxic to dogs, and can cause a breakdown of red blood cells leading to anemia. Watch out for them in stuffing, casseroles, mashed potatoes, and other dishes.
picture of onions
  • Raisins/Grapes: These two may be hanging out in salads or hors d’oeuvres during Thanksgiving. They may look harmless enough, but they can actually cause acute kidney failure in dogs. This includes wine!
  • Mashed Potatoes: Although plain potatoes are fine for your pup, mashed potatoes usually have loads of butter, dairy, and seasoning that could lead to digestive upset later on.
  • Ham: Not only can the salt and high fat content add way too many calories to your pup’s diet, but pork products can cause stomach upset or pancreatitis in serious cases. One or two tiny pieces won’t hurt, but avoid plating up a serving for your dog that’d you’d also give to yourself.
  • Raw Dough: Uncooked dough used in pies can ferment and lead to ethanol poisoning.
  • Corn Cobs: Although corn itself is safe, never toss them an entire ear of corn. Dogs can bite right through the cob, allowing them to swallow it whole, which can lead to an intestinal blockage.
  • Chocolate: This is the usual suspect that most dog owners know about, but vet offices usually see increased cases of sneaky, chocolate-sampling dogs around the holidays.
  • Alcohol: Dogs can get alcohol poisoning just like humans, only it happens with much smaller amounts. Keep the booze to yourself (yay! More for you!).
picture of thanksgiving table spread

Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog CAN Eat

Some dog parents like to make a special dog-friendly plate for their pup on Thanksgiving, and there are plenty of safe Turkey Day foods you can share in moderation. Feel free to make up a plate for them with any of the following:

  • Turkey: Woohoo! The star of all Thanksgiving dinners is ok for your dog to gobble up! Make sure the skin and bones are removed first. White, unseasoned meat is the best choice.
  • Carrots/Celery/Green Beans: Cooked or raw, these veggies are low-calorie and full of nutrients. They get a thumbs up, but make sure to skip the sauce or seasoning.
  • Corn: Corn is ok in small amounts, just make sure it’s taken off the cob.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These are usually a pup favorite! Only serve plain with no seasoning or butter.
  • Pumpkin: Both fresh and canned pumpkin (plain, not pumpkin pie filling) are great choices, and can even help with upset tummies or less than perfect poops.
  • Cranberry: Small quantities of cranberry are an ok treat to share, but avoid cranberry sauce (canned or homemade) as it contains high amounts of sugar.
  • Rice/Bread: As long as your dog isn’t allergic, unseasoned rice and bread are ok in small quantities.
  • *Toy/Plush “Food”: If your dog has sensitive stomach and can’t partake in any actual Thanksgiving delicacies, they can still enjoy the squeaky versions of their favorite foods. Sign up for BarkBox today and get a free extra toy in our “Home Fur The Holidays” box!
dog looking at toys in the air
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Written by: Hope Bobbitt

November 18, 2022

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