Thanksgiving Dinner Dos and Don’ts For Your Dog

Thanksgiving dishes are everything we need for festive mood, but some of our favorites may be toxic for dogs. Check out what are those!More

Thanksgiving Dinner Dos and Don’ts For Your Dog

When we stop to think of what we are truly grateful for during Thanksgiving and the holiday season, our dogs' undying love and devotion is generally at the top of the list. Including Penny and Kiki in my family’s celebrations is an important and fun tradition in my home year after year. Having some safe and delicious treats that we can all share at the dinner table is something I like to plan ahead for.  Because having a wet, needy nose in my lap isn't the way I want to spend my holiday, I like to have designated Thanksgiving platters that my pups can enjoy. Preparing your pet’s plates ahead of time and feeding them separately, will not only keep your festive attire slobber free, it will also keep them safe from harmful foods that can leave their tummies upset or worse. Because as you may or may not know, not every food we eat during Thanksgiving is safe for your pup!

Safe and healthy Thanksgiving food for your pup:

Sweet potato (and potatoes)

dog eating potato

Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber. Keep the preparation simple, either bake or steam them with no added ingredients. Dogs shouldn’t have butter, spices, or the marshmallows that we humans typically add.

If regular potatoes are on your menu, the same rules apply. Make sure to give only boiled or baked potatoes with no butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper, and always serve in moderation.


dogs with apples, can dogs eat apples

Apples are full of vitamins A and C and contain lots of great fiber, making them a healthy treat. Be careful to cut around the core, as large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic. Save the apple pie for the humans though; dogs do much better with the fresh kind.


dogs on thanksgiving, turkey for dogs

What about the main event? The answer is YES, minus the skin and bones. The healthiest cut is the white meat that is towards the center of the turkey, away from the seasonings.  

Green beans

Green beans are super healthy and contain plant fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and K. Plain green beans are great for dogs, so before you saute them in butter sauce and cover them with garlic, set a portion of simply steamed beans aside for your pup, (and your super fit cousin).


dog with carrots

While you’re preparing the Thanksgiving stuffing, slip your furry friend some spare carrots which are low in calories and full of nutrients and vitamins and can even have benefits for oral health. Cut into bite-size pieces to make them easier to digest and to prevent choking.


dog eating pumpkin

Pumpkin is a very healthy snack that aids in digestive health and is great for a dog’s skin and coat. Pumpkin is even used to treat stomach problems in pups. Make sure to set aside some canned, organic, plain, pureed pumpkin, before making your holiday pumpkin pie.


If your dog has a sweet tooth, turn your pumpkin pie ingredients into a holiday Puppuccino.  Combine some whip cream, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, canned pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a delicious and safe dessert dogs will love. 

Thanksgiving dishes that are unhealthy or toxic for your dog:

dog eating bones



Thanksgiving stuffing is usually full of onions, scallions, leeks or garlic. These ingredients are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause anemia (destruction of the red blood cells). This traditional dish is best left for the humans.


Ham and other pork products can cause pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.  So no matter how much they beg, the answer is still no.

Turkey bones

dog with turkey

Bones can cause severe indigestion, vomiting and bowel obstruction. Bones can also splinter and cause damage or even puncture the inside of the stomach. Make sure to let all of your guests know,  so they don’t slip something under the table by accident!

Mashed potatoes

While plain potatoes are safe for pups, mashed potatoes are not!  They are usually full of butter, salt and milk, which can cause diarrhea. Even worse, some recipes call for onion powder or garlic, both of which are toxic to dogs.

Salads with grapes and/or raisins

dog with grapes

Lots of Thanksgiving sides and salads have grapes or raisins.  Both can cause severe and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs. It's hard to believe, but important to know, that such innocent snacks for humans can be so toxic to our pets.


chocolate for dogs

Most people know about the danger of Chocolate for dogs. Chocolate is extremely toxic, the darker the more harmful.  However, the smell of chocolate is extremely tempting to pups, so be sure to keep your dessert in a place that they can't reach.

The best way to make sure that everyone enjoys their holiday, is to plan ahead with food that is safe and delicious dishes for your pup. If your dog does have anything that makes them sick, be sure to see a veterinarian as quickly as possible.  Acting quickly can be a life saver in these situations.