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Thanksgiving Foods: What Can Your Pet Eat?


The autumn canvas unfolds in vibrant shades, the air carrying whispers of nostalgia. And as Thanksgiving approaches, our homes are filled with the aroma of culinary masterpieces. Yet, as you prepare to dive into a turkey-laden platter, you might catch your pet’s pleading eyes, silently begging for a morsel. The question then arises: which Thanksgiving delights can you safely share with your furry friend?

The Savory Shareables

1. Turkey: It’s not just humans who can enjoy the star of the Thanksgiving show. Pets too, can relish plain, well-cooked turkey. Ensure it’s boneless and skinless, as bones can splinter and cause internal injuries, and the skin can contain harmful residues of spices and marinades.

2. Sweet Potatoes: A favorite in many households, sweet potatoes are a nutritious treat for pets when served plain. Mash them without butter or seasoning, and you have a pet-approved side dish.

3. Green Beans: Rich in vitamins and minerals, green beans can be a crunchy treat for pets. Just be sure they’re unsalted and without any added butter or garlic.

4. Carrots: Whether steamed, boiled, or raw, carrots can be a delightful crunchy treat for many pets. Rich in vitamins and fiber, they’re both nutritious and palate-pleasing. Just ensure they’re chopped to a manageable size to prevent choking.

5. Peas: When served without added salt or seasonings, these little green gems can be a healthy treat for pets. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals and can be mixed with their regular food for a festive touch.

6. Apples: Apples, without seeds or core, can be a refreshing and crunchy treat. They’re packed with vitamins A and C, making them a wholesome choice. Remember to serve them in bite-sized pieces to ensure easy consumption.

Each of these shareables can be a lovely way to allow your pet to partake in the Thanksgiving festivities. However, always ensure to introduce any new food in moderation and observe for any adverse reactions.

Treats to Tread Lightly With

1. Cranberry Sauce: While cranberries themselves can be beneficial for pets, the sauce often contains high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, making it a risky proposition. If you’re thinking of sharing, ensure it’s a homemade version with minimal sugar.

2. Pumpkin: Pumpkin is often a hit among pets and can be beneficial for their digestive health. However, avoid the pie filling variety, which contains sugars and spices. Instead, offer plain canned pumpkin or small pieces of fresh pumpkin.

Foods to Forbid

1. Onions and Garlic: Common ingredients in stuffing, onions, and garlic can be toxic to pets. Even in small amounts, they can cause gastrointestinal distress and more severe conditions if consumed in larger quantities.

2. Grapes and Raisins: Found in some traditional dishes, these should never be given to pets. They can cause kidney failure, especially in dogs.

3. Desserts: While tempting, most desserts are laden with sugar, chocolate, or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, all of which can be harmful to pets.

4. Alcohol: This might seem obvious, but with the festivities in full swing, it’s easy for a pet to sneak a lick or two from an unattended glass. Even small amounts can be toxic.

Safe Celebration, Happy Pets

Thanksgiving is a symphony of love, gratitude, and togetherness. In the whirlwind of festivities, our pets often become eager participants, reveling in the family gatherings and hoping for a stray treat. While it’s tempting to indulge those puppy eyes or the gentle nudges of your feline, it’s crucial to be discerning about what goes into their bowls.

Sharing the feast can be a beautiful gesture of inclusion, but it’s essential to prioritize their health over momentary indulgence. Set aside pet-friendly portions before you add seasonings or sauces. It ensures they get to partake in the feast without any associated risks.

As Thanksgiving draws near and your kitchen becomes a bustling hub of culinary wonders, remember that Happy Tails Animal Hospital is always here to guide you on pet nutrition and safety. Don’t hesitate if you’re unsure about a particular dish or ingredient or simply wish to discuss the best festive treats for your pet, don’t hesitate. Reach out to our dedicated team. Let’s ensure this Thanksgiving is filled with joy, gratitude, and wagging tails. Book an appointment today, and let’s celebrate responsibly!


  1. “Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips.” American Veterinary Medical Association. [www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/thanksgiving-pet-safety]
  2. “Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets.” Humane Society of the United States. [www.humanesociety.org/resources/foods-can-be-poisonous-pets]
  3. “Holiday Safety Tips.” ASPCA. [www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips]
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