Dogs are a part of the family, and it's only natural to want to include them in the Thanksgiving festivities. I mean, it doesn't seem fair that you're eating turkey with all the trimmings while they're munching down on a bowl full of kibble. If you want to share your Thanksgiving feast or leftovers with your dog, you totally should - you just have to do it safely. Here's a quick breakdown on typical Thanksgiving dishes and how they affect our furry feasters. The goal is to get them plenty of good food without needing to go buy a larger dog harness when they're done eating it!
Dogs love meat, and it's good for them in moderation. If you want to give them some of your leftover turkey, feel free, just stick to the white meat, as it's the healthier option and your dog won't know the difference. 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 know dogs love all bones, but this is one thing you have to be strong about, no matter how cutely they may beg.
Cranberries are great for dogs, containing tons of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. They're also notoriously good for urinary tracts. Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, is often loaded with sugars and other additives that dogs really don't need. If you're making cranberry sauce from scratch at home, give some to the pup, but if you're eating the (admittedly delicious) canned stuff, it's best to keep it off Fido's plate.
When it comes to veggies, most are pretty great for the pooch (although if your dog is as picky as a child, they may not share this sentiment). Things like carrots, green beans, pumpkin, and even potatoes are good in moderation. Just make 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 happily work for scraps.
Onions and other Allium vegetables are the exception to the veggie rule. Large portions of onions, chives, and the like can prove toxic to dogs, so you need to be sure to keep them off your pup's plate.
Bread is fine for dogs, but give them their portion without the butter. If you want to sweeten it up a little for them, a little bit of meat gravy over the top goes a long way. Just 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. Even though we all love company, the holiday bloat is one trip our dogs don't need to take with us!
As a rule of thumb, keep dogs away from desserts. As you know, chocolate is bad for pups, and artificial sweeteners like Xylitol can be even worse. If your dog does get a hold of some chocolate during all the hustle and bustle of the day, use this handy chocolate danger calculator to see if it's an amount you need to worry about!
Many dogs love the taste of alcohol, beer especially, but please don't give it to them. We know that you probably understand this, just be sure to remind that one uncle who thinks it's a riot.
If you are looking to make some special holiday treats for your dog, check out our Holiday Cookbook Just for Dogs.