Keeping Thanksgiving Safe for Our Pets

Summer is now officially over and Fall is upon us. Crisp mornings, leaves changing colour and warm sweaters; this season certainly has a lot to offer. The thing I always look forward to most during fall is Thanksgiving!

Nothing beats spending time around the dinner table with your family enjoying a well-cooked meal. The family pets certainly don’t want to be left out of the festivities either, but what is safe for them and what food should be avoided around the Thanksgiving table? To help out I’ve listed off some of the more common Thanksgiving foods and whether they are safe for our furry friends or not.

Certainly, the number one food when it comes to Thanksgiving on many people list. Turkey is a good source of protein, however, caution is still recommended. You will want to make sure that there are no bones in any piece you give your dog as they can break them and potentially choke or swallow them. Any excess fat, as well as skin, should also be removed since these can lead to digestive problems, in particular, a condition called pancreatitis. The best thing to give is just a small piece of meat, no bones, fat or skin.

This should never be fed to your pet as there are many potentially harmful ingredients. The garlic found in some stuffings can destroy red blood cells leading to anemia. Onions are toxic as well and work in a similar way.

Mashed potatoes:
A small amount of plain, undressed mashed potatoes is ok, however, don’t feed them if they are garnished with anything, especially garlic or bacon bits as this can lead to anemia (see stuffing above) or gastrointestinal issues.

Green Beans/Carrots:
These can be good if they are plain, however like mashed potatoes above they should be avoided if there is any sort of glaze/topping or if they are mixed with other foods.

Bread Rolls:
If you are baking your own bread never give your dog the dough! Because of the yeast in it, the dough has a tendency to expand and if swallowed can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues.

After they are baked plain bread rolls shouldn’t be an issue, although they have limited nutritional value and therefore turkey or green beans/carrots would be a healthier option.

Pumpkin Pie:
Everyone’s favourite Thanksgiving dessert! For our furry friends though it should be avoided (just means more for you!). The pie filling can lead to an upset stomach which I’m sure no one wants to deal with when the family is over.

There are many foods that are fine for your dog to eat, but many as well that can be harmful! Even when feeding something healthy the key is to not overindulge as even small quantities can lead to weight gain or gastrointestinal issues in dogs.

Written by Dr. David Baker