Thanksgiving Do’s & Don’ts for Dogs


It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and that means an abundance of delicious food. However, before you sneak your four-legged canine a handful of holiday foods, make sure to know what is harmless and harmful to your dog. Many food items that people enjoy aren’t healthy for pets to consume. Let’s start with what your dogs can safely indulge in this Thanksgiving holiday.

Note: All of these items should only be given to your dog in small quantities, especially if you don’t regularly supplement their diet with these foods; an influx of unfamiliar items can upset your dog’s stomach.

  1. Turkey

The obvious choice. Turkey is a great lean protein that your dog can enjoy in small doses. It’s best to give them skinless meat to cut down on the grease, as well as meat that isn’t drenched in juices — also be sure to check thoroughly for bones! Turkey bones are one of the worst things your dogs can eat, but we’ll get to that later.

2. Potatoes

While sweet potatoes (not yams) are preferred for their high fiber and beta carotene content, as well as being stocked with Vitamins C & B6, dogs can enjoy both sweet and regular potatoes. If mashed potatoes is your choice of complex carbs for your pup, make sure the batch isn’t made with any cream, butter, garlic, or other seasonings. Butter and milk can cause diarrhea in pets that experience lactose intolerance. Additionally, some recipes call for onion powder or garlic, which are very toxic to pets. And steer clear of the gravy!

Make Sweet Potato Dog Treats
Here’s a recipe for homemade sweet potato chews. Delicious and safe treats for your dogs!

3. Green Beans

If your dog enjoys vegetables, green beans are an awesome, healthy treat. Pups can’t indulge in the heavy, creamy casseroles but plain green beans are packed with nutritional goodness — score!

4. Apples

An apple a day would be a little excessive for your dog, but a small serving can be a delicious snack that’s rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. Just don’t give them any apple pie!

5. Pumpkin

Canned natural pumpkin (not pie filling) or cooked fresh pumpkin has numerous health benefits for your dog, which explains why pumpkin is often a top ingredient in high quality kibbles. Pumpkin can help regulate your dog’s digestive and urinary health and substituting pumpkin for a portion of their regular diet can be a healthy way to help your pet lose weight without feeling hungry.

dog-thanksgivingRuxin’s Recipes has created a few recipes that are both safe and yummy dishes for your dogs. (BONUS: her  dishes include three of the safe foods — potatoes, apples, and green beans — on the CAN EAT list!) I’m sure your pup would definitely appreciate a mini Thanksgiving feast of their own. 😉

Now that we’ve gone over what you CAN feed your dogs this holiday season, let’s go over what you CAN’T give your dogs. To ensure your pets remain healthy this Thanksgiving, below are six dishes to keep away from your pets.


1. NO Stuffing

Stuffing is often made with onions, scallions or garlic. These ingredients are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause a life-threatening anemia (destruction of the red blood cells). It’s best to avoid feeding any amount of stuffing to pets.

2. NO Ham

Ham and other pork products can cause pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Ham tends to be high in fat as well, which can lead to obesity in pets. Even a small amount of ham can contribute a very large amount of calories in a small dog or cat.

3. NO Turkey Bones

Bones can cause severe indigestion in dogs, potentially causing vomiting and  obstructing the bowel. Bones may also splinter and cause damage to the inside of the stomach and intestines. In some cases, turkey bones may even puncture through the stomach and cause a potentially fatal abdominal infection.


 4. NO Salads with Grapes/Raisins

There are many salads served at Thanksgiving that include grapes or raisins as an ingredient, from fruit salad, to waldorf salad, to ambrosia. However, grapes and raisins are very toxic and potentially deadly. Grapes can cause severe, irreversible and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all dishes that include grapes and raisins away from pets.

5. NO Chocolate Pie

While pumpkin pie is the most famous Thanksgiving dessert, many people offer a variety of pies available at Thanksgiving, including chocolate pie. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, yet dogs love the smell and taste of it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Keep chocolate pie, and all chocolate desserts for that matter, out of the reach of pets to prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian.


If your pets ingest any of these foods this Thanksgiving, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately. Early action may prevent more costly and serious complications from developing. Make sure to keep an eye on our dogs during the holiday feasting! So beware of that cute puppy begging face. Set aside the safe food selections for your dogs. Once everyone has stuffed themselves — and then had seconds — it’s time to find a comfy spot on the couch and let the inevitable food coma take over.


Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Nappy!

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