What Thanksgiving Food is Safe for Dogs?

Updated On: Wednesday, December 16, 2020 14:26:27 PM America/Los_Angeles

It’s that time of the year again--Thanksgiving will soon be upon us and the tantalizing aromas of roasted turkey, candied yams, and buttery potatoes will fill our homes. But this year might be a little different. With the pandemic in full effect, you may have fewer people gathering around the table, which could mean less people taking stuff home and more leftovers in your fridge. Lucky for your dog, this means more food for them! 

Photo by Claudio Schwarz 

Most of us are familiar with those irresistible puppy dog eyes that come with the serving of Thanksgiving dinner. They crowd the table in hopes of getting some scraps and you may feel unsure about whether or not your dog can eat the same things as you. Or, you might be wondering what Thanksgiving leftovers are safe to give to your dog after you’ve had your fill of leftover turkey sandwiches. Below, we discuss some of the more common Thanksgiving foods that are safe for dogs, along with their benefits and dangers.

  • Turkey: It should come as no surprise that our furry friends love turkey just as much as us. However, there is a very important caveat. Cooked boneless turkey is entirely safe for consumption but seasoned turkey is not. Garlic and onions are toxic for dogs and many turkey seasonings include garlic and onion powder. If you simply can’t resist giving your dog turkey, we suggest setting aside a smaller portion of the turkey (such as a leg or wing) to be cooked unseasoned. 
  • Turkey bones: It might be tempting to give the leftover bones to your dog after the turkey is done. Vets strongly advise against this. The splinters from the bones can cause intestinal obstructions or even internal punctures that can lead to fatal abdominal infections.
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy: The garlic and onion caveat applies here as well. Gravy almost always will contain these seasonings in addition to being high in fat. Experts suggest staying away from giving your dogs gravy. Mashed potatoes, on the other hand, can be okay as long as it hasn’t been made with garlic and there isn’t a ton of butter or cream in them.
  • Yams or sweet potatoes: These veggies can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet because they contain fiber and have antioxidant properties. Unfortunately, the sugar and butter found in Thanksgiving dishes, such as candied yams, can cause an upset stomach. If your dog enjoys these delicious veggies, be sure to bake plain uncoated yams and potatoes on the side. 
  • Pumpkin: Like yams and sweet potatoes, pumpkin is safe as well as nutritious. Pumpkin is also high in fiber and can aid in the digestion process. Adding a little pumpkin puree to your dog’s food is one of the easiest ways to include your pup in the festivities. Just be mindful of the different kinds of pumpkin puree that are common at this time of the year. You want to make sure the puree you feed your dog contains only pumpkin and does not include sugar or spices, such as with purees that are made specifically for pumpkin pies. 
As with any change in diet, new or different foods may affect your dog’s digestive system even if they are safe. Having a pee pad handy will help minimize accidents and ensure that your dog will have a place to go if you’re distracted and they have an upset stomach. 
Given that you’ll be busier (or perhaps lazier) than usual, having an indoor dog potty can be useful during the holidays. Whether you choose to sign up for a DoggieLawn subscription or want to make a one-time purchase of our fresh grass potty, our unique pet potty can help make holidays smoother for you and less stressful for your dog.