What Thanksgiving foods are safe for your dog/cat to eat? How to include pets in holiday feast

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with friends and family, and beloved animals, but what food is safe for your animal to eat when they are begging for a festive treat?

The American Kennel Club released a few tips on what foods to avoid and what foods are safe to give your dog and (or) cat this Thanksgiving.

Here are key tips provided by the American Kennel Club:

  • Vets tend to see many patients on Thanksgiving, due to dogs being fed unsafe human foods.
  • Turkey meat, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all safe, healthy foods to share with your dog.
  • Bones, sweets, alcohol, and fatty foods are all things that should be avoided by dogs.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping turkey bones away from your dog as they can cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract.

Gary Richter, MS, DVM author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide: Breakthrough Nutrition and Integrative Care for Dogs and Cats and Veterinary Health Expert with Rover, Sara Ochoa, DVM and small animal and exotic veterinarian in Texas, and American Kennel Club’s Jerry Klein, CVO and emergency and critical care veterinarian, provided a list of safe foods for your dog to enjoy on Thanksgiving via the American Kennel Club.

  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene,” says Dr. Richter. “Sweet potato treats can be as simple as a dehydrated sweet potato chew.” Just remember not to give your pet sweet potatoes containing any added ingredients.
  • Potatoes are a great option for your pet, but give only boiled or baked potatoes with no butte, sour cream, salt or peppers, and served in moderation.
  • Apples are full of vitamins A and C and contain lots of great fiber, making them a healthy Thanksgiving treat for your pet,” says Dr. Richter. “However, if you’re sharing an apple with your pooch, be sure to cut around the core, as large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic.”
  • Turkey meat (no bones, no skin). For those that wonder if dogs can eat turkey at Thanksgiving, the answer is yes. The main dish is okay to offer up “as long as it has not been prepared with any seasoning,” says Dr. Ochoa. It is important to avoid bones as discussed above, and Dr. Klein advises to skip feeding the skin because the meat is likely to be prepared with butter and fatty ingredients.
  • Green beans. “With ample amounts of plant fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and K, plain green beans are great for dogs,” says Dr. Richter. The key here, as with turkey, sweet potatoes and other options mentioned in this list, is the bean dish should be plain — without any added ingredients like butter or spices. Creamed peas should be avoided.
  • Pumpkin itself is a very healthy snack,” explains Dr. Richter. “Pumpkin helps with digestive health and it’s great for a dog’s skin and coat. Also, if feeding canned pumpkin, make sure it’s just pumpkin and not the pre-spiced pie mix.”
  • Dessert like frozen yogurt, with the calcium, protein, and live bacteria is a healthy option for an after dinner treat for your pet, according to Dr. Richter.

According to Dr. Richter, Dr. Ochoa, Dr. Klein and the AVMA, the following list of foods should not be served to your dog at Thanksgiving due to unsafe or unhealthy ingredient:

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Casseroles
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Creamed peas
  • Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (especially anything containing xylitol)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Onions, scallions, and garlic
  • Ham
  • Yeast dough
  • Fatty foods
  • Foods containing spices

Click here for additional information on the best and worst Thanksgiving foods for cats.

If your pet eats something that is unsafe contact your local vet or the Pet Poison Helpline.

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