Safe Foods for Your Pet at Thanksgiving

Safe Foods for Your Pet at Thanksgiving

Your pet is part of the family, so it’s natural you want him or her to share in Thanksgiving celebrations but turkey bones and sweet desserts are just a few of the hidden dangers that could harm your pet.  

What Thanksgiving food can my dog eat?

As much as you’d love to indulge your cat or dog, your pet’s health should always come first and not all human foods are safe for pets. In fact, many human treats may be toxic for dogs and cats.  Even a small piece of some foods may cause havoc with your pet’s digestive system and could lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and a serious condition known as pancreatitis – an inflammatory condition of the pancreas.  To avoid emergency trips to the veterinarian, you need to know what you can and can’t feed your dog from the Thanksgiving feast. Also, don’t forget to explain the difference between potentially poisonous scraps from the table and Thanksgiving foods that are safe for pets to your guests. Overindulging in the family feast is even worse for pets than for humans, so be sure to keep even healthy treats to a minimum.  The good news is that there are simple ways to include your pet in your celebrations. Here are some foods that can be safely shared with your pet always in small amounts:

Vegetables and fruit 

You can feed your pet healthy vegetables and fruits such as:
  • Sweet potato
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin 
  • Green beans 
  • Potatoes 
  • Apple – but not the apple seeds, which could be toxic in large amounts.
Cooked vegetables are fine – but they must be without gravy, cream, butter, or any other trimmings. The vegetables should not have any added ingredients or spices and should always be given in moderation.  


A small amount of turkey provided it’s well cooked and boneless, can be a good source of lean protein for your pet. Only give your pet meat – without bones, fat, garlic, onion or butter. 

Special pet desserts

Desserts for humans are totally off-limits, but frozen yogurt could be an alternative option if you really want to give your dog a sweet treat.  

What Thanksgiving food can my cat eat? 

The list of food safe for your cat from the Thanksgiving dinner table is the same as for dogs above.   

Thanksgiving foods that can be dangerous for pets

  • Raw turkey – don’t risk giving your pet salmonella by feeding him or her undercooked turkey.
  • Turkey bones and the carcass – these may cause problems in their digestive systems.
  • Turkey skin, stuffing, and gravy – the skin and gravy are too fatty for pets to digest.
  • Garlic and onions –.these are toxic to both dogs and cats and ingestion of significant amounts can cause anemia.
  • Mashed potatoes – which usually contain butter. 
  • Raisins and grapes – these are highly dangerous and could even cause kidney failure in dogs
  • Cake, bread or dessert – the batter for dessert often contains raw eggs, which again could be a salmonella risk. Ingestion of yeast dough can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas and can be life-threatening.
  • Chocolate and sweets – keep chocolate and sweets well away from your pet. Chocolate, particularly baking chocolate, contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be dangerous for your pet. Also note, the artificial sweetener called xylitol – often used in gum and sugar-free foods – can even be deadly for dogs. Cranberry sauce is another no-no for your pet. 
  • Alcohol – just a few sips from an unattended glass of wine could be really harmful to your dog or cat. Also watch out for scraps from the table that could contain alcohol, such as fruit cake. 
  • Trash – Remember to keep scraps, including the turkey carcass and meat and other leftovers, well out of the way of curious pets.
  • Plants and decorations – Some festive plants and flowers may also pose a risk to your pet’s health – including amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, and other types of flowers and plants. 

What are signs my pet may have eaten something he or she shouldn’t have?

Watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, choking, or any other sudden changes in behavior. These are all symptoms that should not be ignored.  

What to do if you suspect your pet has eaten something he or she shouldn’t have eaten.

Even if you’ve been super careful, there is always a risk your pet may eat or drink something they shouldn’t. Your quick reaction here could be the difference between life and death. If you suspect your dog or cat may have eaten something toxic, call your local veterinary clinic, emergency clinic, or the pet poison helpline immediately.   The best way to be 100% certain your pet is not eating anything he or she shouldn’t is to give them healthy, nutritional dog food or cat food and treats designed for pets. At CANIDAE® your pet’s health is our priority. For example, Canidae Pure Grain-free Limited Ingredient Formula Premium Wet Dog Food formula offers your dog a well-rounded meal, crafted specifically with them in mind.  Choose from a variety of formulas made with real meat, poultry, or fish first, paired with whole ingredients such as sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, or chickpeas. We also have wholesome turkey-based recipes, perfect for Thanksgiving! With such a healthy and delicious meal on offer, your dog won’t feel left out during Thanksgiving.   We also have a variety of cat food formulas to keep your cat thankful and healthy this Thanksgiving.  Check our transition guide and remember to always check with your vet if you have any doubts about how to switch to Canidae’s delicious recipes today!