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What Foods are Safe for Dogs on Thanksgiving?

In the veterinary world, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States is considered "pancreatitis Friday". Why? Because so many foods we eat on Thanksgiving are not safe for our dogs. It's important to understand not only which foods are safe for dogs on Thanksgiving, but also why dogs should avoid the dangerous ones.

Safe Foods for Dogs on Thanksgiving

Before we dive into the dangerous foods, let's talk about what celebratory dinner you can actually make for your dog on Thanksgiving. Your pup can enjoy:

  • Unseasoned, fully cooked turkey

  • Cranberries (not sauce)

  • Plain, unseasoned sweet or white potatoes

  • Green beans

  • Cooked or canned pumpkin

  • Apples

  • Unseasoned corn (no cob)

  • Rice or quinoa

  • Small amounts of cheese

  • Small amounts of baked, unseasoned bread

You can make a feast fit for your furry family member with these foods!

Dangerous Foods for Dogs on Thanksgiving

Now, let's get into the dangerous foods that can land your pup in the hospital on the busiest day of the year for veterinary ERs. There are three main dangers to dogs on this holiday: pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), intestinal obstruction (a blockage in the intestinal tract), and toxic foods.

Foods that may cause pancreatitis

  • Foods cooked in butter or other fats

  • Turkey skin

  • Ham

  • Gravy

  • Foods high in salt content

Foods that may cause intestinal obstruction

  • Corn cobs

  • Turkey or ham bones

  • Turkey twine or string

Toxic foods

  • Onions and garlic

  • Nuts

  • Mushrooms

  • Raw bread or dough

  • Artificial sweeteners (xylitol)

  • Sage and nutmeg

  • Grapes and raisins

  • Chocolate and other sweets

Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

There are similar signs and symptoms for each of these dangers on Thanksgiving. Take your dog to the vet right away if he shows the following symptoms after Thanksgiving dinner or the next day:

  • Vomiting

  • Lethargy

  • Diarrhea

  • Bloody stool

  • Excessive panting

  • Restlessness

  • Not wanting to eat

  • Loss of coordination or tremors

Pancreatitis, intestinal blockages, and toxic foods can all be life threatening. It may be tempting to wait until Monday to see your regular veterinarian and avoid long wait times and expenses at the ER, but you should go right away. If you catch your dog eating one of the toxic foods, stop what you are doing and take them to the ER right away. Many of the foods listed above can cause serious issues such as seizures and kidney or liver failure in small amounts very quickly.

Safety Tips

Be sure to warn each of your guests not to feed your dog table scraps as they may not be aware of some of the dangers these foods can cause. If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach, avoiding new foods altogether may be best. Instead, offer them a celebratory treat that they are used to, especially one that will keep them away and distracted from the kitchen and dinner table. New toys can also be a great distraction!

Martha's Garden wishes you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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