Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Parents

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Now that the big day has arrived, your dog or cat will inevitably be begging to partake in the big turkey dinner. In a recent poll, 56% of readers admitted to sharing Thanksgiving table scraps with their pets. While this can be a wonderful way to add lean protein and fresh veggies to your pet’s diet, there are also hidden dangers in holiday fare. This year, before you go preparing them a heaping plateful, petMD urges pet parents to consider the following list of pet-friendly foods and which ones should be avoided.

Approved foods include:

  • Turkey: Turkey for dogs and cats can be a wonderful lean protein. You will just want to be sure to remove any excess skin or fat, stick with white meat, and make sure there are no bones.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes are a great, filling vegetable to share with your pet. However, even though the potatoes themselves are not harmful to pets, beware of additional ingredients used to make mashed potatoes. Sour cream, onions and gravies could upset your pet’s stomach.
  • Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce is just fine for pets but watch the amount of sugar in it. It is probably best to only add a small helping to your pet’s plate.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: If you know your pet’s stomach can handle dairy, macaroni and cheese is a safe leftover to share. If you are unsure, however, it may be best to give them the macaroni plain. Lactose intolerance in cats is common when they become adults.
  • Green Beans: Plain green beans are a wonderful treat for pets. Fresh vegetables are a great addition to any diet. If the green beans are included in a casserole, though, be conscious of the other ingredients in it.

Avoid the following:

  • Alliums: Foods containing alliums (i.e., onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions) should not be ingested by your pet. While it is true that small, well-cooked portions of these foods can be okay if your pet is used to them, ingesting these foods in large quantities can lead to toxic anemia in pets.
  • Grapes: Many people are unaware that grapes, and subsequently raisins, can be toxic to pets. The fruit has been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs.
  • Xylitol: While you may think you’re being healthier by cooking with artificial sweeteners instead of the real thing, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous – and potentially deadly – to dogs.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate is a well known off limits indulgence for pets. During the holidays, baking chocolate is used in many recipes and sometimes forgotten about. Make sure to keep your pet away from all forms of chocolate this holiday season.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is definitely a big no for pets. What we may consider a small amount can be toxic to our pets. Also, keep in mind that alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruit cake (the recipe may have called for liquor) as well as unbaked bread.

By keeping these safety tips in mind, you can ensure your pets enjoy a safe, healthful Thanksgiving feast!

4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Parents”

  1. Our dogs got white meat turkey added to their food. They had a great Thanksgiving. The only thing that they did get to share with us was the turkey. But I think that they were very happy about it and some others in the family would have been just as happy to have no vegetables either!

  2. Mischief got her own plate after she politely did a down stay without begging while the humans ate. Fat is nothing to fear for dogs that eat it regularly. It’s only a danger for dogs that get most of their calories from carbs (i.e. kibble fed dogs).

  3. Sure, dogs can eat some of the same foods that people can, but the real quesion is SHOULD they? If you want to keep your pets healthy, choose a healthy and high quality kibble, and keep them on it. Dogs dont require “variety”, and although we like to treat them with people food, we can be doing more harm than good! We see so many pets that have shared the Thanksgiving feast with their families, and end up treating them for severe pancreatits (which can be life-threatening), bloody diarrhea, vomiting and all the other ailments that go along with dietary indescretions. Save your dog the misery of these ailments, and save the fees associated with treatment of these conditions!
    Before feeding something to your pet- anything- check with the professionals at your veterinary hospital for their recommendations. Seeking a professional’s advise is the best care you can give your pet! or seek out your state’s veterinary association webiste….


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