11 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pooch

After the self-induced turkey comas and second helpings of pumpkin pie, there’s always that one guest that longingly looks up into your eyes and utters a plea for the leftovers. That’s right, your favorite pooch wants in on the Thanksgiving festivities, too. While many Thanksgiving dishes are safe to feed your dog, your Thanksgiving spread has many foods that are potentially toxic to your favorite four legged friend. Read this list of dishes to avoid feeding your dog this Thanksgiving so you aren’t spending your turkey day at the vet’s office.

Turkey skin is very high in fat, which can lead to pancreatitis in animals. In addition, it holds marinade, spices, butter, and oils, which are all very difficult for your dog to digest. All in all, steer clear of the skin. Feed your dog skinless, light meat pieces of your turkey leftovers. Because dark meat is higher in fat, it’s best to avoid it. In addition to pancreatitis risk, foods that are high in fat can lead to a major stomach upset. And you don’t want to deal with that when you already have to clean up after your Thanksgiving guests.

These are not safe for your dog. Cooked bones can potentially splinter your dog’s digestive tract, and ruin your Thanksgiving dinner. If your dog has a hankering for bones, make sure to feed him the uncooked bones or the bones you can buy at the pet store. 

Illustration by Erik Mace

While cranberries are perfectly fine to feed your dog, canned cranberry sauce often contains a high amount of sugar and raisins. Raisins can be particularly toxic to your pets and have been shown to cause kidney failure. 

Walnuts and macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous to your dog and can cause “macadamia nut toxicosis.” Within 12 hours of eating, your pooch could be unable to stand, vomiting, having tremors, experiencing fever, weak, and have an elevated heart rate.

This beloved fall spice can cause your dog to have seizures and central nervous system problems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. On the Thanksgiving table, nutmeg is typically found in sweet potato casseroles and pumpkin dishes. Both sweet potatoes and pumpkins, when plain, are good for dogs in moderation. Make sure to only feed your dog, the leftover pumpkin puree and sweet potatoes that have not been sauced up for your celebration. 

Gravies and stuffings typically call for this herb. Unfortunately, sage contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset. Steer clear of feeding your dog anything containing this herb. 

While green beans are great for your dog, once you sauce your greens up, that vegetable becomes dangerous for your dog. The classic Thanksgiving casserole, which typically contains mushrooms and fried onions, is highly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, seizures, coma, and even possibly death. You don’t want to feed your dog anything with heavy cream in it because it may cause stomach upset. Also avoid feeding mushrooms to your dog — because there are so many species of the fungus, it’s hard to know which are safe and which aren’t, so just skip them all together. 

Potatoes are great for your dog, but mashed potatoes contain a slew of extra ingredients like alliums, cheese, sour cream, butter, and gravy that won’t sit well in your dog’s system. Make sure to keep the mashed potatoes for yourself!

You may be watching your waistline, but make sure you also watch to not feed your dog anything made with artificial sweeteners, which contain xylitol. This ingredient is poisonous to animals and potentially deadly!

As we all know, chocolate is highly dangerous for your dog. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what you put chocolate in when creating a major feast for your family and friends. Make sure to only feed your guests chocolate, not your dog.

Just like how dough rises when put into a hot oven because of the yeast, it has the same reaction to your dog’s warm stomach. This can cause bloating and severe stomach pain. In addition, dough and batter contain raw eggs which may contain salmonella. For a fun Thanksgiving, make sure to skip your dog’s dessert course. 

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