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Apr 4, 2024

A Guide to Thanksgiving Food That Is Safe for Dogs

A Guide to Thanksgiving Food That Is Safe for Dogs
5 Minute Read

A Guide to Thanksgiving Food That Is Safe for Dogs

The Thanksgiving holiday season is a time for family, feasting, and showing gratitude for all the good things in life. It's also a time when your furry friend wants to join in on the fun (and human food)! However, not all Thanksgiving foods are safe for dogs to eat.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer common questions about what Thanksgiving dinner food your dog can eat, foods that are dangerous for dogs and tips on how to keep them safe around the dinner table.

Dog with woman at dinner table

What Thanksgiving Foods Are Generally Safe for Dogs?

Since the very first Thanksgiving centuries ago, man's best friend has had a seat at the table.

Pilgrims and Indians Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving is synonymous with a hearty meal, and you can share some of it with your dog, but with caution. Here's a list of Thanksgiving foods your dog can safely enjoy:

  • Turkey: Turkey meat (boneless and skinless) is generally safe for dogs. It's a good source of lean protein. Look for products that use white meat turkey as it has lower fat content than dark meat varieties. Avoid turkey skin, bones, and excess fat.
  • Plain Vegetables: Plain-cooked vegetables like carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes (without seasoning or added butter) can be a healthy addition to your dog's meal.
  • Plain Mashed Potatoes: Plain mashed potatoes without butter, cream, or seasoning are okay in moderation.
  • Plain Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are safe, but skip the cranberry sauce, which often contains added sugars.
  • Green Peas: Plain cooked green peas, when offered as a treat, can provide fiber and vitamins.
  • Apples: Apples (without seeds or cores) make a crisp and refreshing snack.
  • Pumpkin: Plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) is packed with fiber and is good for digestion. Check out Nutri-Vet's Switch Transition Supplement 100% plain pumpkin food topper for dogs as a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving treat.
  • Broccoli: Small, cooked broccoli florets are safe in moderation, offering vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Green Beans: Plain, cooked green beans can be a healthy addition to your dog's Thanksgiving meal. They are low in calories and can provide some dietary fiber. Just make sure they are plain, without added seasonings or butter.
  • Squash: Some types of squash, like plain, cooked butternut or acorn squash, can be a safe and nutritious treat for dogs. Squash is rich in vitamins and fiber. However, avoid squash dishes that are prepared with butter or seasonings that may not agree with your dog's stomach.
Dog at table with turkey

Thanksgiving Food that is NOT SAFE for Dogs:

  • Dinner Rolls: Dinner rolls are generally safe for dogs in small quantities. They are made from simple ingredients like flour, water, and yeast. However, uncooked dough is very unsafe for dogs, as the dough expands in pups' stomachs when ingested. Rolls and other forms of bread are not nutritionally significant for dogs and should be given sparingly. Avoid buttered or garlic rolls, as the butter and garlic can be harmful.
  • Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie is a tempting dessert during Thanksgiving, but it's not an ideal treat for dogs. Most pumpkin pie recipes contain sugar, spices, and often even dairy, which can be problematic for dogs. Instead, offer your pup some plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) as an occasional treat. Pumpkin is low in calories and can help with digestion.
  • Pecan Pie: Pecan pie is a no-go for dogs. Pecans themselves can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities due to a substance called juglone. The pie also typically contains sugar or artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Keep this dessert well out of your dog's reach.
  • Stuffing: Traditional stuffing recipes often contain ingredients like onions, garlic, raisins, or grapes, which are harmful to dogs. It's best to skip sharing stuffing with your furry friend.


Remember that while some of these foods may be safe in moderation, it's important to consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog's diet.

Keep in mind that each dog's tolerance for different foods can vary, so it's essential to monitor your dog for any adverse reactions when offering them these treats.

Safe Thanksgiving food for dogs

How Do I Keep My Dog Safe on Thanksgiving?

Ensuring your dog's safety on Thanksgiving is essential. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Food Safety: Keep Thanksgiving dishes out of your dog's reach to prevent them from helping themselves to potentially harmful foods.
  2. No Scraps from the Table: Discourage guests from feeding your dog table scraps, especially those with harmful ingredients.
  3. Create a Safe Space: If your dog gets anxious or overwhelmed with guests, create a quiet, safe space for them to retreat to during the festivities. You can also provide a dog-calming chew prior to guests' arrival to encourage serene behavior.
  4. Exercise: A good walk or play session before your Thanksgiving meal can help your dog burn off energy, making them less likely to beg for food at the table.
  5. Provide Dog-Friendly Treats: Prepare some dog-friendly treats or toys to keep your pup occupied during dinner.
Dog on chair at Thanksgiving table

Give Thanks in Abundance and Table Foods in Moderation

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate with your loved ones, including your four-legged family members. By understanding what Thanksgiving foods are generally safe for dogs and taking preventive measures, you can promote a peaceful and joyful holiday for both you and your canine companion.

Remember that moderation is key, and when in doubt, it's always best to consult your veterinarian for specific dietary advice. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!