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A Guide to Thanksgiving Leftovers for Dogs

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Most furry friends we know will be hoping for an invitation to the table for the Thanksgiving Day eat-a-thon. Who can blame them? With all the delicious aromas wafting out of the kitchen, they will be eagerly awaiting something to drop on the floor or better yet to end up in their bowl. It’s easy to understand why turkey with all the trimmings is more appealing than a bowl of kibble. If you want to share your Thanksgiving dinner or leftovers with your dog, you can, but it’s important to do it safely. If you choose to share your food with them, you do not want them to gain unnecessary weight or even worse, become ill. We recognize that what you feed your dog is a personal decision. Some dog owners never stray from a strict diet for their pooch while others are less rigid. What we've provided below is only a guide and we always recommend discussing any specific dietary needs or concerns with your veterinarian.

Meat: Dogs love meat, and it's good for them in moderation. If you want to give them some of your leftover turkey, stick to the white meat, as it's the healthier option. Also, make sure to never give your dog any bones from anything that you've cooked, especially from birds. They can splinter and cause life-threatening injuries. We all know dogs love bones, but this is one thing you need be extremely vigilant about.

Cranberries: Cranberries are good for dogs and contain lots of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. They're also notoriously good for urinary tracts. If you're making cranberry sauce from scratch at home, that’s the best kind to offer your dog. However, if you're serving it from a can, it's best to keep it off Fido's plate as it likely contains unhealthy additives and higher levels of sugar.

Vegetables: When it comes to veggies, most are healthy options for your pooch (although many dogs are selective about which ones they will eat). Things like carrots, green beans, pumpkin, and even potatoes are good in moderation. Be sure your dog gets their portion before you add butter or salt or make it into a casserole. Dogs are great sous chefs when you're chopping raw veggies, because they'll keep the ground clean and they will happily work for scraps.

Some vegetables such as onions are the exception to the rule when it comes to safety. Large portions of onions, chives, and other allium vegetables can prove toxic to dogs, so you need to be sure to keep them off your pup's plate.

Bread: Bread is fine for dogs but skip the butter. If you want to sweeten it up a little for them, a bit of meat gravy over the top goes a long way. Be aware that bread is essentially the same as a treat for dogs, so don't give them more than a roll or two or you'll risk weight gain.

Dessert: When it comes to desserts, it’s best to keep dogs away from them because most of them are loaded with sugar. Additionally, chocolate is especially bad for pups, and artificial sweeteners like Xylitol can be even worse. If your dog does get into chocolate during all the hustle and bustle of the day, use this chocolate danger calculator to see if it's an amount you need to worry about.

Alcohol: Many dogs love the taste of alcohol, beer especially, but please don't give it to them! We owe it to our dogs to care for them. Stick with water!

Again, it is always best to contact your veterinarian directly with any questions or concerns surrounding food safety and intake for your dog.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving celebration for humans and dogs alike!

Brooke Spater runs Social Media Marketing at Kurgo. Amongst other things, she manages the Kurgo blog and enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and their 90 lb. Goldendoodle named Baxter.

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