Thanksgiving Food for Dogs: What food can I give my dog

    dogs plate

    Thanksgiving is a holiday that usually includes lots of extended family coming over and celebrating the day with lots of laughter, joy and eating! It is one of the days that we always worry about our furry friends.

    How will they react to all the people, how will we keep them safe from food that relatives may want to feed them. Well, this year due to Covid, Thanksgiving may be different. Will you be celebrating it with only a hand full of families? Many people are saying they will skip the big family holiday this year. Or will you continue the big family get together? No judgements from us on how you gather. Whether you are hosting only a hand full of people or the usual gang, it's important to remember our dogs plate and the safe and not safe foods they can and can't enjoy. 

    First, I believe human food consumption for our furry friends is okay in moderation.  Second, know your dog. Some will suggest the dairy is not safe for your dog and if consumed, they will get an upset stomach or diarrhea.  My three dogs have always enjoyed a nice bowl of ice cream on a warm sunny day with no problems. Third, when in doubt, I always suggest checking with your vet. Some breeds can handle certain foods while others can't.

    Here are a few dangerous items for you to remember during the holiday season.  

    Sweet Treats:  chocolate is toxic to dogs.  But not everyone knows about the dangers of xylitol, a sweetener and baking ingredient found in many types of gum, mints, candy and pastries. Consuming a little bit of xylitol can give a dog seizures, low blood sugar and liver failure and can be fatal.

    Poultry Bones: These bones are very brittle and are easily broken into sharp pieces that can puncture your dog’s digestive tract.

    Macadamia Nuts: They can cause limb weakness, pain, fever and tremors. Macadamia poisoning is generally not fatal, but symptoms can last up to 2 days.

    Raw Turkey: Raw meat, particularly poultry, can contain salmonella. Senior dogs and puppies are the most at risk for illness. Symptoms include lethargy, fever, diarrhea and vomiting, however some dogs show no symptoms at all.

    Stuffing with Raisins or Grapes: Both raisins and grapes can cause kidney damage or failure in dogs. Symptoms to watch for include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea.

    Stuffing with Onions or Onion Powder: Onions can cause anemia (a low volume of red blood cells) in dogs, even after being cooked. Symptoms of anemia include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or gums).

    Alcohol: Many adults will be enjoying alcoholic beverages, but it’s important to keep those drinks away from your dog. Dogs are extremely sensitive to alcohol, even in very small amounts. Symptoms of alcohol toxicity are similar to drunkenness in humans and include vomiting, loss of coordination and disorientation.

    Bread/Dough:  Don't spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

    Okay, now lets talk turkey! The stuff our dogs will love to eat this Thanksgiving include:

    Turkey: All of that fat and seasoning is dangerous for our furry friends. The fat content can cause pancreatitis, and the seasonings can irritate your dog's stomach. The great news is, you can feed  your dog turkey meat only! No onions - they are toxic to dogs. No bones - they can splinker and damage your dogs intestines. No garlic - it is potentially toxic in large quantities.

    Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potato is another great item your loved one can enjoy. Sweet potatoes are not only safe for dogs, but they can provide your loved one a range of health benefit. Sweet potatoes are great for digestive health because they're high in dietary fiber. They're also low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. 

    The OTHER Potato: Yes, mashed potatoes are also a great choice for your loved one. Just remember, while the potato itself is not harmful to your furry friend, watch any additional ingredients used to make mashed potatoes. Some dogs have issues with dairy products and some don't. However onions, garlic and gravies are a no-no’s. 

    Green Beans: are a wonderful treat for pets. Vegetables are a great any time of year and Thanksgiving is no exception. Again, watch the added ingredients. If the green beans are included in a green bean casserole, be conscious of the other ingredients in it. 

    Cranberry Sauce: is a GREAT dessert for your furry friend.  When everyone is enjoying the dessert table your furry friend may feel left out. Not so fast, save some cranberries for her. Give her a  small helping and she will love you even more if that is at all possible.

    Now onto dessert. If your loved one is not sleeping from all the fun and turkey and wants a little sweet to finish her day look to the fruit platter or fruit salad for some choices.  Slices of apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon make tasty treats for your dog. Be sure to remove any seeds first, though. Seeds, stems, and leaves can cause serious problems. 

    Just remember, everything in moderation.

    Remember to much human food, even if they’re begging for it is not good for our furry friends. A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. A small amount of safe foods won’t harm your pet; it is a holiday for them too. If you believe your furry friends falls victim to any of the above, contact your vet immediately.

    If you are hosting the holiday and you have guests coming over, in addition to basting your turkey, keep an eye out for doors accidentally left open, garbage not being securely sealed, flowers or plant arrangements that may be in your dogs path.

    Remember that some people may be afraid of your dog, or your dog may be uncomfortable around a large group of people and may become scarred or agitated. To keep everyone including your dog comfortable and safe, you may want to keep your dog in a separate room to keep her happy and safe. But, most of all keep your dog safe from foods they should not eat.