The holidays are fast approaching, and before long, your favorite canine companion will be at the table begging for a bite of your Thanksgiving turkey. While many pet parents admit to sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs, certain hidden dangers could lead to disaster.
Before you prepare a heaping plate for your four-legged family members this Thanksgiving, check out these dos and don’ts.
Sharing Thanksgiving Food With Dogs: Dos
Giving your dog the right foods from your Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to supplement his protein and vegetable intake. Let’s start with the big one: the turkey.
Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein for dogs. If you’ll be sharing this holiday favorite, stick with white meat, and remove any excess fat, skin, and bones.
It just wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes on the table. As long as your potatoes don’t contain a lot of extra ingredients like cheese, garlic or gravy, giving your pup a spoonful is perfectly acceptable. Remember, sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs is fine as long as the ingredients are appropriate for their stomachs.
Fresh vegetables are a great addition to your pet’s diet. Plain green beans make an excellent treat for your furry friend. In fact, many dogs love them as a snack year-round.
If you are serving green bean casserole, consider the other ingredients before sharing. If it contains onions or other potentially hazardous ingredients, keep it off your pup’s plate. Also, it’s important to know your pet’s eating habits before sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs.
Macaroni and Cheese
If this comfort food favorite will be gracing your table this Thanksgiving, it is fine to share a bit with your four-legged buddy. If you are unsure of how well your dog’s stomach handles dairy products, though, you may want to only share plain noodles.
If you would like to give your dog a little something sweet, try a small helping of cranberry sauce. Just be mindful of how much sugar is in this Thanksgiving staple.
If your dog can’t help himself, however, and you’re not able to resist his big sad eyes, you should steer clear of cranberry sauce when sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs. Too much sugar is never a good thing.
Sharing Thanksgiving Food With Dogs: Don’ts
Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but it never hurts to restate it. While all types of chocolate are off-limits for dogs, baking chocolate is especially dangerous. This holiday season, make sure all chocolate is kept well out of reach of curious snouts.
Alliums like garlic, onions, scallions, and leeks may be a tasty part of your holiday meal, but they should never be given to dogs. If ingested in large quantities, they can result in toxic anemia.
If any of your appetizers, desserts or other foods contain grapes or raisins, keep them away from your dog. Many pet parents don’t realize the dangers of these seemingly innocent fruits, but they can cause kidney failure in dogs.
Your dog may love sweets, but artificial sweeteners, like Xylitol, have no place in his diet. Any sweetener containing Xylitol is poisonous to pets and may be deadly to your dog. Pay close attention to what types of sweeteners are in any pre-bought treats before sharing a helping with your pet.
Sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs can be acceptable, but alcohol is a big no-no for pets. What may seem like a small amount to you may be enough to be toxic to your furry best friend.
In addition to keeping wine, spirits, and beer out of reach, remember that certain holiday treats may contain alcohol. A fruitcake baked with rum, for example, could cause alcohol poisoning in pets.
Fat and Bones
Your canine companion may love devouring fat or gnawing on a bone, but both could result in serious health complications. Whole bones may become lodged in the intestines and need to be removed surgically.
Poultry bones are notorious for splintering, and when this occurs, they can cause serious irritation to the esophagus or gastric lining.
Fatty foods, butter, and gravy may also cause gastrointestinal distress. While the outcome may just be a simple belly ache, it could also turn into a life-threatening case of pancreatitis. Simply put, it just isn’t worth the risk.
This holiday season, keep the tips listed above in mind to include your pup in the festivities without risking serious health complications. Sharing Thanksgiving food with dogs can enhance their diet while truly them feel like a part of the family, but only if you share the right foods and don’t overdo it.