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Thanksgiving Food: Do’s and Don’ts for Dogs

Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with family and friends, it is important to pay attention to what your dog eats during the holidays, especially on turkey day. Know what kind of food is safe and what treat you have to say no.

Happy thanksgiving against young family with a dog

Thanksgiving is a time to have a good time with family and friends. For many people, the celebration also includes the family dog. But then, it’s important to pay attention to what your dog is eating during the holidays, especially on Turkey Day. So, which types of holiday foods are safe for your pooch to snack on and which traditional treats are a big no-no?

Every pup loves the occasional treat. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-risk dog-friendly food options to keep your dog satisfied at home this Thanksgiving. Are you considering which pooch-approved foods you need to keep your pup engaged throughout this fun day?

Here’s everything you need to know about the dos and don’ts regarding feeding your furry friend during Thanksgiving.

Safe and Healthy Foods to Feed Your Dog During Thanksgiving

There are a variety of treats you can feed your dog during the holiday. To stay safe, stick with soft foods made for dogs, such as low-fat turkey or low-fat roast beef. Avoid items such as sauces or gravies that could be dangerous if ingested. Be careful not to leave out any leftover treats that might be tempting for your dog.

girl petting her dog during the Thanksgiving Food

You can also give your dog some treats that are more suited to the holiday, like pumpkin or cranberry-flavored treats. These foods will help stimulate your dog’s appetite while still staying within safe limits.

With all those extra dishes on the table, it’s easy to overdo it. This can be especially problematic for dogs who aren’t used to eating so much. Make sure your dog snacks on something throughout the day. Offer them some treats or small servings of their regular meals throughout the day to keep them from getting hungry. This way, they can still enjoy Thanksgiving even if they don’t get as much food as usual.

Some of the treats and food you can give your dog include:

Turkey

Dog Hungry for Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey is a great holiday food for dogs. It’s low in fat and high in protein, which are both essential nutrients for a dog’s diet. Turkey also contains taurine, an amino acid that can help regulate your dog’s water and electrolyte balance. It’s also a good source of vitamin B12, which helps support brain and nerve function.

When feeding your dog turkey, watch your dog’s reaction to ensure it doesn’t have any adverse reactions (like diarrhea or nausea). If you notice any changes in behavior, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. 

Turkey Stuffing 

Turkey stuffing is a tasty, traditional side dish—but the fact that it contains some animal-based ingredients can make your dog very uncomfortable. The best way to prevent potential digestive issues is to feed turkey stuffing only occasionally, so your dog does not become accustomed to this new food regularly. 

When feeding your dog turkey stuffing, consider these tips:

  1. Avoid hot stuffing. While the typical American Thanksgiving meal includes hot stuffing, most dogs are not comfortable with the idea of eating hot foods. If your dog is among those who do not love hot foods, you may want to avoid giving them any part of the stuffing at all.
  2. Avoid commercial stuffing mixes as they often contain excessive preservatives, which may cause digestive upset in dogs.
  3. Limit serving/size.

Vegetables

One of the best ways to prevent bloat is by feeding your dog a diet low in fat and high in fiber. Fiber helps to keep your dog’s stomach small by slowing down digestion. Some good choices are fresh fruits and vegetables, green beans, plain peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. 

You can also give your dog plenty of water, keep them on a leash, and limit their activity level.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene and make for an excellent source of carbohydrates, which dogs need to maintain ideal energy levels. These food sources are rich in manganese, help maintain healthy skin, and aid in the production of collagen, which supports skin formation and promotes healthy vision, brain function, heart health, cell growth, bone health, and normal growth.

To keep your dog’s belly full during the holiday season, feed them a small amount of potatoes and sweet potatoes. They can be boiled or baked as regular vegetables to add flavor and texture to your meal. Or try mashed potatoes flavored with parsley and onion as another tasty option.

Bread

Bread is an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving meal. But bread can be dangerous for your dog. Dogs are susceptible to the risk of choking, which can be deadly. Bread dough is a foreign substance in their stomachs and can cause irritation or pain due to grain particles. 

dog eating bread

Make sure the bread doesn’t have any crust on top that your dog could choke on before giving it to the pup. And if you choose to break it up into small pieces, watch the pet closely or keep them away from small children who may try to feed them pieces of the bread. Always keep a close eye on your dog while they are eating.

More safe foods and treats for dogs to enjoy

Other foods and treats you can share with your dog while you enjoy the Thanksgiving festivities include:

  • Salmon: Small amounts of unseasoned fish without additional fats and oils can provide a tasty, high-protein snack. Just don’t let your cat catch a whiff or they may try to snag a sneaky bite!
  • Cheese: Served in moderation, cheese is a delicious snack. Just avoid feeding your dog too much cheese or they may experience intestinal distress and sour the holiday fun. 
  • Apples: Crunch and full of vitamins, Be careful to remove stems, seeds, and cores which can be toxic to pets. 
  • Pumpkin: While your pup shouldn’t join the family for a slice of pumpkin pie, the seasonal orange fruit can make for a stomach-soothing and nutritious treat. Make sure you’re only serving plain pureed pumpkin and not heavily spiced and sugared pie filling. 
dog eat pumpkin

Most dogs love to eat table scraps and treats, but they may not be as excited about sharing their food bowl. So, if you want to share Thanksgiving meals with your dog, consider keeping two bowls and feeding the pup one meal at a time. 

Keep an eye on how much the pup eats and try not to offer too much food at once.

Foods to Avoid

You should avoid sharing some foods with your dog as they can pose problems. For example, raw turkey, bones, gravy, and skin pose a risk because they can contain bacteria that can cause severe illness if ingested by dogs. 

Other foods that you should avoid giving to your dog include:

  • Onions, garlic, and scallions
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Pumpkin pie as it contains xylitol
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Yeast dough
  • Fatty foods
  • Overly spiced foods
  • Gum
  • Mashed potatoes and creamed peas

Also, be sure to wash your hands after handling any of these foods before serving them to your dog.

Just like with humans, managing a dog’s diet can be somewhat tricky. That said, there are many ways you can enjoy the deliciousness of Thanksgiving with your dog. Make sure that any food or treat you give your dog is healthy and safe for dogs to eat, and do not let your dog eat too much on Turkey Day. Plus, remember to clean up any food left at the end of the day and take care of any resulting messes immediately.

Enjoy Thanksgiving Fully Knowing Your Pet is Well Protected

Got a pooch? Get pet insurance from Animalia today. Take advantage of our custom policies and enjoy Turkey Day knowing that your furry friend has adequate coverage for any medical complications or emergencies.


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