Feeding Fido Holiday Foods

November 20, 2019

What better way to show your furry babies that you’re thankful for them this holiday season than with delicious treats on Thanksgiving?  While many of the foods that we enjoy for Thanksgiving pets love as well, there are some things to keep in mind when letting our four-legged friends take part in the festivities. Here are 5 foods Thanksgiving foods that your pets can enjoy and 5 to avoid. 

5 Thanksgiving Foods to Enjoy with Pets

  • Turkey: This Thanksgiving staple is a great source of lean protein that your pets will gobble up.

TIP: Turkey’s skin and bones are unsafe for pets. Fatty skin and bones should be removed to prevent any digestive issues. Cooked turkey bones are especially dangerous, as they could break and splinter when dogs try to eat them. 

  • Mashed Potatoes: Pets will love noshing on plain mashed potatoes. 

TIP: Butter, cheese, sour cream, whipping cream, bacon, and other rich items may be too heavy for your pet. Share potatoes with your dog before dressing them.

  • Sweet Potatoes: Like mashed potatoes, a small, undressed helping of sweet potatoes is a delicious treat for your canine and feline friends. 

TIP: Adding brown sugar and marshmallows to sweet potatoes makes this holiday food unhealthy for pets. Sugar-free marshmallows are especially dangerous for dogs since they contain xylitol, which is a serious toxin. 

  • Green Beans: Cats and dogs love delicious green beans. High in nutrition and low in calories, green beans are a part of Thanksgiving that everyone can enjoy. 

TIP: Leave out butter and fried onion toppings when sharing with your furry friends. 

  • Carrots: Raw or cooked, these root vegetables are the perfect addition to your pet’s Thanksgiving spread. 

TIP: Skip the glaze. While delicious to humans, sugary glazes can be too heavy for your pets.         

5 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid


Thanksgiving plates may seem empty without this holiday favorite. However, with ingredients like onions, garlic, scallions, various spices, raisins, and grapes, the dressing can be a real health hazard for dogs and cats. In fact, ingesting grapes can actually cause your dog’s kidneys to shut down. 


This might seem like the perfect way to top off your pet’s Thanksgiving feast. Unfortunately, most traditional gravies are too rich for your best pal. Low-sodium chicken broth is a delicious gravy alternative that’s safe for cats and dogs, alike.

Cranberry Sauce

While this tart topping is a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving meal, it’s filled with sugar and, occasionally, bourbon, which can lead to health complications for Fido. 


Although it’s not as common at Thanksgiving as turkey, even a small amount of this high-fat, high-calorie meat can lead to pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Make sure your pet passes on pork. 

Pumpkin Pie

The benefits of pumpkin for pets are often touted, so pumpkin pie would seem like the perfect dessert for your dog’s Thanksgiving celebration. Unfortunately, pumpkin pie, whether from a filling or made from scratch, contains spices like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves that can be toxic for pets when consumed in large amounts. 


When planning your pet’s Thanksgiving dinner, the safest way for them to enjoy the holiday is with food and treats made for pets. In a Popular Science article (make sure this opens in a new tab), Dr. Erica Reineke, a professor of emergency and critical care medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, stated, “We would discourage pet owners from giving table food at any time because it can cause GI to upset if it has a lot of fat in it and they’re not used to eating it.” If your dog or cat does ingest any foods that may be harmful to them, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.