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Thanksgiving Foods: OK to feed to pets?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there is certain to be begging and puppy-dog eyes from our four-legged friends who pick up on the delicious smells of cooking food wafting through the kitchen.

Whether you’re a pet owner who likes to hand out the occasional table scrap, or has a crazy uncle who thinks your pet should enjoy the night’s meal, we want to make sure you’re aware of which foods are safe. While we don’t condone table feeding as its regularity can lead to obesity and encourages begging behaviors, the following will give you an idea of which foods are okay to feed:

Turkey: In moderation
A small amount of lean, light meat is okay to treat your pet, but try to steer away from skin, fat, and dark meat. Cooked bones are a definite no-no as they can splinter and cause choking or damage to your pet’s digestive system.

Turkey Gravy: Avoid
Gravy usually contains high amounts of fat which is not healthy for your pet. Fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal upset in your pet.

Mashed Potatoes: In moderation
Mashed potatoes that are prepared bland and light (read: without heaps of butter and heavy cream) can be an okay snack to slip to your pet, but if they are loaded with fat and salt, then it’s best to avoid feeding mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes prepared with garlic, onions, scallions, or chives should definitely be kept away from pets as these foods are toxic to dogs and cats.

Stuffing: Avoid
Stuffing often contains those ingredients that are toxic to pets such as onions, chives, garlic, and scallions. Plus, with the added butter, stuffing is likely a fatty treat that your pet does not need.

Cranberry Sauce: Avoid
Plain cranberry sauce is usually quite high in sugar which pets just do not need in their diets. Others may contain raisins or grapes which are toxic to pets, so it’s best to keep the cranberry sauce away altogether.

Homemade Rolls: In moderation
A bit of bread here or there is okay to toss to your pet, so long as it’s not slathered in butter.

Green Bean Casserole: Just the beans
Like many other vegetables, green beans can be a great snack for dogs. However, casseroles often contain onions and creamy mushroom soup which are not good for dogs, so skip the casserole and stick to the beans when treating your pet.

Corn: just the corn, no cobs
While some pets may have corn allergies, others can manage munching a few cooked corn kernels just fine. Just be sure to keep the cobs away, as it can cause an obstruction if your dog attempts to eat the entire cob.

Candied Sweet Potatoes/Yams: Avoid
Candied, sugary, buttery goodness is a delightful dessert for humans, but does not offer any nutritional value to pets and is best not to be shared.

Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, oh my!
Just like the above, it’s best to avoid sugary sweet desserts when sneaking food to pets under the table. It’s not the end of the world if a bite accidentally falls off your fork, but it’s best not to purposely feed pie to your four-legged friend.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

About Stacy @Trupanion

Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

One Response to Thanksgiving Foods: OK to feed to pets?

  1. Hairless Cat says:

    Hi Stacy,

    Good point on “cooked bones” being a no-no. Lots of people are used to giving their pets uncooked bones so they might not think about cooked bones as being any different.

    What they don’t realize is that when the bones are cooked they get dried out and as you mentioned, they splinter when they are chewed.

    I’m also willing to bet that relatively few pet parents realize that garlic, onions, scallions, and chives are all toxic to cats and dogs. I didn’t realize this myself until somewhat recently. Who would have thought, right?

    I agree that too much sugar or butter can cause gut trouble and disease over time. A little bit here and there probably wouldn’t harm.

    Dogs and cats love Turkey breast and I’m always happy to give it to them.

    Good Thanksgiving food tips for pets,

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

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