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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, meaning it’s time to fire up the oven, sharpen the knives, and figure out where you’ll take your inevitable post-dinner nap. Whether you’re hosting or visiting friends and family, odds are your furry friend will be along for the journey. 

While Thanksgiving is a great time to catch up with loved ones and count your blessings, the holiday also tends to coincide with an uptick in vet visits for pet parents.

Why? Well, dogs are often fed Thanksgiving scraps that may not sit well with them. While humans can get away with overeating during the holiday, being a bit indulgent with your dog is a big no-no. Luckily, there are plenty of Turkey Day food options that your dog can enjoy!

To ensure your pet’s wellness, let’s highlight some of the Thanksgiving foods that are bad for dogs, in addition to the dishes that you can safely share with them.

Safe: Turkey Meat

Phew! That’s a relief. The main dish on your Thanksgiving table is perfectly safe for your dogs to eat, as long as it hasn’t been seasoned. That’s an important point to remember, as odds are you’ll likely be preparing your bird with some type of seasoning.

If you want to ensure your dog has some turkey scraps to nibble on, maybe avoid seasoning a small section of the turkey and save that for your pet. However, since the seasoning is usually applied on the outer skin of the turkey, most of the turkey meat, both white and brown, is a-okay to feed to your dog.

Avoid: Turkey Bones and Skin

It’s tempting to offer up the left-behind turkey bones for your dog to chew on, but they can actually upset your pet’s digestive tract. Additionally, the skin of your prepared turkey likely has been seasoned with butter, spices, or other fatty ingredients that can be a real pain for your dog to digest.

To ensure your dog avoids pancreatitis or other digestive problems, stick to giving them the turkey meat and save the bones and skin for the ones sitting at the table, not underneath it.

Safe: Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an especially great source of dietary fiber for your dog, in addition to being rich in vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes make for a tasty treat that can actually aid in your dog’s digestion and provide them with disease-fighting antioxidants. Talk about a win-win! 

When it comes to other types of potatoes (mashed, scalloped, roasted, etc.), they’re typically safe for dogs to eat as well. The one caveat is making sure that no fatty stuff has been added to them. If you plan to load up your potatoes with butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper, try to reserve a small bowl of potatoes for your dog that’s free of these fatty ingredients.

Avoid: Stuffing

Stuffing is typically quite rich and should not be given to your dog even in small amounts. It’s 

usually prepared with onion and garlic, both of which are extremely toxic to your pet.

Onions, scallions, and garlic all contain ingredients that can destroy your dog’s red blood cells. When these guys go down, your dog’s blood can’t bring enough oxygen to all their tissues and organs. Suffice to say, stuffing is definitely one Thanksgiving food that should not be given to dogs.

Safe: Pumpkin

Pumpkin puree is a common remedy for dogs with upset stomachs, so it makes sense that pumpkin is a perfectly safe snack to give your dog. Not only does pumpkin help improve the digestive health of dogs, but it’s also great for their skin and coat. Who wouldn’t want a tasty snack that tastes good AND makes you look good?

Be sure that you’re buying a can of pure pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling. The cans will look almost identical, but pumpkin pie filling will not sit well with your dog.

Again, just make sure the pumpkin you’re feeding them hasn’t been spiced up in any way. Avoid the added ingredients and consider buying some pure canned pumpkin that your dog will be sure to love.

Avoid: Sweets

Sorry, no pies for the pooch! Pie fillings will often include Xylitol, a rather toxic and potentially deadly ingredient for dogs. When it comes to satisfying your dog’s sweet tooth, there are plenty of alternative options that are perfectly safe.

Plain frozen yogurt is a great dessert for your dog that provides them with a whole bunch of calcium, protein, and good bacteria that functions as probiotics. Who knew there was such a thing as a healthy dessert?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

You now have a solid grasp on what Thanksgiving foods are bad for dogs, as well as the dishes they can safely enjoy. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving catching up with friends and family, and enjoy all the delicious meals coming your way!