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Your Ultimate Guide to Treating Your Dog at Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Here are a few things to remember to keep the holiday stress-free and safe for your dog. Whether it's feeding traditional Thanksgiving food (yes, there are things on the menu dogs can eat!) or making sure your pup feels included in the festivities, these tips will help make your Thanksgiving a day that everyone in the family enjoys.

Thanksgiving is For Family - Even the Furry Kind

When I was growing up in Key West, there were no dog treat bakeries near me. As a kid, no one provided natural dog treats or told me what dogs could safely eat during the holidays. Everything I learned about providing healthy treats and a loving environment for the dogs in my family was gleaned through research and course work.

I'm happy to share what I've learned about keeping these important members of our family safe as we celebrate one of my favorite holidays. So, here's your Ultimate Guide to Treating Your Dog at Thanksgiving:

Can I Share My Thanksgiving Meal with My Pup?

What Thanksgiving Foods Should My Pup Avoid?


Can I Share My Thanksgiving Meal with My Pup?

The short answer is yes - with modifications. The long answer will help you avoid those dreaded trips to the emergency vet.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), feel free to make a plate for your dog with Thanksgiving staples like turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans and pumpkin. But follow these tips to avoid making your dog sick:

  • Turkey: Unseasoned cooked turkey is a great treat for your pup! Do not feed seasoned meat, turkey skin or bones.

  • Sweet Potatoes: A baked, mashed sweet potato is a yummy addition to your dog's meal. Leave off the sugary syrup, spices and marshmallows to make it dog-friendly.

  • Green Beans: Steamed, canned or raw green beans are perfectly safe for your dog to eat as long as they are plain. Avoid the fatty cream sauce found in casseroles - especially the fried onions, which are toxic to dogs.

  • Pumpkin: While pumpkin has great health benefits for dogs, the sugar and spices typically found in pumpkin pie are not safe. In fact, nutmeg is toxic for them and should be avoided at all costs. If you want to make a sweet pumpkin treat for your pup, stir a teaspoon of honey into 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling).

What Thanksgiving Foods Should My Pup Avoid?

According to the AKC, say no to sharing these Thanksgiving staples with your dog, no matter how hard they beg (ha! see what I did there?):

  • Stuffing or Dressing: This holiday dish is delicious, but dangerous. It tends to be filled with onions, which are toxic to dogs. If you suspect your dog has a case of onion poisoning, contact your vet right away.

  • Mashed Potatoes: One of my faves, but the milk, cream, butter and garlic sometimes added to these should be avoided.

  • Cranberry Sauce: It's not Thanksgiving without the cranberry, but the sheer amount of sugar added to make it taste great also makes it a no-no for your pup.

  • Desserts: Apples are great for dogs (minus the toxic seeds), but not slathered in sugar, spices and ice cream. Leave the apple pie and other desserts (especially the chocolate!) for the two-legged family members.

  • Anything Known to be Toxic: Avoid feeding your pup all dishes that contain things like grapes, onions, chocolate, alcohol, raisins, artificial sweeteners (especially Xylitol which is fatal to dogs), yeast dough, ham, almonds, spinach and fatty or creamy foods. These are known to be unhealthy for your dog. For a more comprehensive list of foods that are toxic to dogs, rely on credible sources such as the AKC and your veterinarian.

Can I Really Resist Those Puppy Dog Eyes?

Yes! You can stand firm and feed only what's healthy for your dog to eat on Thanksgiving. You're now armed with the knowledge to safely allow your dog to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal without incurring harm.

Remember, your dog is clueless when it comes to what's safe to consume. Your furry family member relies on you to keep sickness and those nasty vet visits away.

Plus, you always have Henry's Barkalicious Dog Treats on hand to give your good boy or girl a little extra love this Thanksgiving. And don't forget that our Goodie Box Sampler is the perfect hostess gift!

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