Dogs and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is such an awesome holiday! It’s all about food. And no doubt your dog thinks so too. Not so fast. If you’ve been following this blog, you already know I have strong feelings about the nutrition and food dogs eat. And your food shouldn’t be it.

I like to give Reggie treats- we all want to give our dogs treats. It makes us feel good and it increases the human-dog bond. Because of Reggie’s food allergies the type of his treats are severely limited and he never receives table food. With a food-centered feel good holiday like Thanksgiving, it can be very tempting to give our dogs table scraps and food and make them part of the festivities (more than they already are!). So what are the pros and cons of Fido partaking in your meal?


While turkey itself is found in many dog foods, the turkey you cook can be very different. It can be seasoned, contain bones, and the skin is very salty. High salt content (of anything) can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Bones can break and lodge in a dog’s system. And anything undercooked or raw can contain salmonella.


Have you ever heard this? Keep your dog away from your baking. Raw bread dough, if ingested, can rise in the stomach due to body heat and cause a reaction similar to bloat according to the ASPCA’s website. This situation requires emergency attention.

Veggies & Sides

Giving your dog a carrot or a green bean is probably ok for most. However, there are some that are not only gastrointestinal nightmares but can be toxic for dogs. And many of these items are common cooking ingredients- every day, not only on Thanksgiving. They include garlic, onions, mushrooms, grapes, raisins, pits from stone fruits, macadamia nuts, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, hops (beer), citrus oil, avocado, xylitol, milk/dairy, and cat food. Is the list longer than you thought? Surprised at the cat food? Cat food is actually high in fat for a dog’s system. Refer to this list for the side effects that can affect your dog.


Xylitol is a common sweetener in desserts. Xylitol is also toxic to dogs and can cause a low blood sugar reaction, and in large amounts can cause liver failure. Also cake batters can have raw eggs which can have salmonella bacteria and lead to food poisoning.


Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where we use seasonings and herbs probably more than any other time. And one of the most popular is sage. The ASPCA reports that sage and other herbs will cause stomach upset. However, the ASPCA’s own list of toxic and non-toxic list of plants does not list sage (or other herbs) and the Continental Kennel Club specifically lists sage, oregano, basil, mint, coriander, dill, and others as non-toxic. I will reference Reggie’s Law and say err on the side of caution and don’t tempt fate. Will Thanksgiving be ruined if Fluffy doesn’t doesn’t have Aunt Bea’s potato gratin?

Thanksgiving is a time for sharing with family and friends, so maybe the way to include your dog is this: get one of those great Kong toys that you can stuff treats, dog food, or peanut butter in. Let your dog play with that while you eat your fantastic turkey dinner.

What other tips or tricks do you have for a great dog-friendly holiday?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s