Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs: What’s safe?

There are safe Thanksgiving foods for dogs and Thanksgiving foods for dogs that are toxic. From turkey and pumpkin to pie and raisins, find out which ones to avoid and which are fine to feed in moderation during the holidays.

joyful multicultural family holding glasses of white wine while celebrating thanksgiving near golden retriever
Even foods that are listed safe for dogs to eat on Thanksgiving need to be given in moderation. Examples are light meat turkey, yams and plain pumpkin. © LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

Dog parents love to share the holidays with their four-legged family members, especially the food. Dr. Sarah Nold, a veterinarian for Trupanion pet insurance, knows that sharing Thanksgiving food with your dogs can be fun, but parents need to know what foods are safe for dogs on Thanksgivings and which foods are toxic to dogs, so you don’t end up at the emergency vet. Here are her recommended Thanksgiving foods that are safe for dogs and those you should avoid.

Safe Food for Dogs on Thanksgiving

  • Turkey: small amount of lean, light meat
  • Pumpkin: a small amount of plain – no butter, salt or other seasoning – canned or cooked pumpkin
  • potatoes or yams: cubed or mashed in small amount, plain – no butter, salt or other seasoning
  • Green beans: canned, frozen or trimmed fresh in small amount, plain – no butter, salt or other
  • Corn: canned, frozen or fresh off the cob in small amount, plain – no butter, salt or other seasoning
  • Marshmallows: small amount

Toxic Thanksgiving Food for Dogs

  • Anything with garlic, chives, onions or scallions including most stuffing
  • Raisins, currants, grapes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Fatty or dark turkey meat
  • Pie

Remember that everything should be in moderation and for most of us, our dogs are much smaller than we are. Just a 5-ounce serving of dark meat turkey for your small dog can be the caloric equivalent of an entire 8-inch pumpkin pie for humans, shares Dr. Nold. Data from Trupanion reveals that pet parents with overweight pets can spend as much as five times more in veterinary expenses than pet parents with average-sized pets, she adds. So, keep to the safe foods for dogs on Thanksgiving and just give small bites. With maybe a nice long walk afterward — it’s good for human and canine!

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