Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving with Your Dog

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration of family and, of course, your dog is part of your family.  Here’s a great tip – Puzzle food toys are great distractors for your pet while you enjoy your dinner! If you add a tidbit of table food to your dog’s meal or toy, please keep in mind that not all Thanksgiving food is appropriate for canine consumption.

There is normally an uptick of cases of pancreatitis at animal hospitals and veterinary offices immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday. Be sure to tell Uncle John that he needs to stay strong and resist your dog’s cute face with the pleading eyes looking for a quick bite of the appetizers or a table scrap from dinner. We’ve highlighted these 8 foods from your Thanksgiving table that you should avoid giving to your dog:

1. Turkey Skin .  .  .  
The skin of the turkey holds butter, oils, marinades and spices. Delicious to humans, it’s high-fat content is difficult for dogs to digest and may cause pancreatitis. Look for symptoms of vomiting, abdominal pain and lethargy.


bone2. Bones .  .  . Do not feed your dog turkey and ham bones, regardless if they are cooked. Bones may cause an obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract, they may splinter causing serious damage to your dog’s intestines or they may fatally puncture the stomach.

pie3. Nutmeg .  .  . Sweet potatoes and pumpkin, in moderation, are good for your dog but nutmeg is a huge NO! Nutmeg is not as innocent as it appears – it may cause seizures and central nervous system problems or death. If you feed your dog pumpkin, read the label to ensure it says “100% pure pumpkin” and NOT pumpkin pie filling or mix.

pecan4. Nuts .  .  . Pecans and macadamia nuts should NEVER be given to dogs. These nuts cause digestive obstructions, stomach upset and pancreatitis. Pecan consumption may result in liver damage and bladder stones. Consumption of macadamia nuts may result in weakness, tremors, vomiting, the inability to stand and elevated heart rate.

5. S
tuffing .  .  .  Humans love stuffing; it’s delicious! But onions, garlic and scallions are toxic to animals and may cause destruction of red blood cells aka anemia.

milk6. Mashed Potatoes .  .  .  Potatoes are safe for dogs to eat, but mashed potatoes made with butter and milk may cause diarrhea if your pet is lactose intolerant. If you taste onion or garlic in the dish of potatoes, it should be off-limits to your dog as these two ingredients are toxic to them.


7. Grapes and Raisins .  .  .  
Fruit salads, Waldorf salad, ambrosia – these foods may be your aunt’s special gift for the holiday table but they are not a gift for your dog. Grapes and raisins may cause severe, irreversible and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs.


chocolate8. Chocolate .  .  .  Our thanksgiving tables have expanded beyond pumpkin pie so it bears repeating, chocolate is toxic to dogs. It seems cruel that dogs simply love the smell and taste of chocolate and their eyes plead for it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Avoid giving chocolate to your dog this holiday season.

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