Thanksgiving Pet Safety


By Tricia Roberts

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. This special holiday usually means quality time with family and friends and overindulging in a bountiful meal. While that can leave us uncomfortable and  possibly wishing for an elastic waistband, partaking in the family feast can be even worse for our pets. Here is a list of foods usually served at Thanksgiving and advice on whether or not you should share them with your furry family member.


In general, white turkey meat is safe for your dog or cat. Once it’s seasoned, though, it becomes unsafe as it is usually too rich for pets. Avoid feeding your pet turkey skin or dark meat as the higher fat content can cause an upset stomach or even pancreatitis. Never give your pet a turkey bone as it can shatter or splinter which can cause stomach or esophagus damage.


Avoid giving your fur baby ham altogether as it contains high levels of sodium and fat. As with turkey bones, keep ham bones away from your pets as well.


Since Thanksgiving dressing is often made with onions, scallions or garlic, avoid giving this filling side dish to your pet as those ingredients are extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

Mashed Potatoes

Although potatoes are safe for pets to eat, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk which can cause an upset tummy and diarrhea. Additionally, some recipes include garlic and onion powder which, as mentioned above, are both toxic to pets. So no mashed potatoes for the pets.


Cranberries on their own are non-toxic and high in antioxidants. While your pet might not crave this type of treat, if their tastebuds approve, feel free to feed them a few, but in moderation. Anytime a pet gets a treat he or she doesn’t usually get, too much of that treat can end up causing a belly ache.

Sweet Potatoes

As long as you steer clear of sweet potato casserole and serve your pet plain, cooked sweet potato, you could actually be doing them good. Again, moderation is key, but small amounts of this sweet snack option are full of nutrients and vitamins. Once anything like butter, cream, sugar or seasonings are added, though, keep this food to yourself.

Green Beans

Green beans are a great, safe option for both cats and dogs. Cats may not beg for the, but dogs usually love them. A great source of nutrition and rich in fiber and lots of vitamins, they can be fed to your pet either raw or cooked. As with all other pet-safe foods, avoid any extra ingredients like butter or oil.


For so many reasons, this is a big no. Sugar can hinder the digestive process and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol are toxic to animals. If you’d like to give your furry family member a Thanksgiving “dessert,” you could offer them some plain pumpkin (not the pie filling), carrots, or washed and toasted pumpkin seeds. Honestly, though, they’ll probably be just as happy with one last bite of plain white turkey meat.