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I’m hosting our family Thanksgiving for the first time since getting our dog. With all the delicious food and activity, I’m fairly certain I’ll end up with a begging pooch.

I don’t want to keep her in the crate all day and I’d like to feed her a special meal for the occasion. Is it safe for me to feed my dog turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, and maybe even some pumpkin pie?


Each year around the Thanksgiving festivities, there is an increase in urgent care visits to veterinary practices around the country. The increase is not because turkey is bad for dogs, but dogs cannot often tolerate the “trimmings” and other ingredients included in the dishes on the table, which can sometimes prove toxic.

Labrador Retriever being given a stainless steel bowl of food.
©chalabala -

The simple answer is yes, dogs can eat many Thanksgiving foods if they are cooked plain. That includes turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas, but you should be sure to skip the turkey skin, stuffing, and other dishes that you are serving to humans. These foods often have additional spices, butter, and other ingredients that are too rich for dogs and can cause pancreatitis or other digestive ailments. Onions and garlic, in particular, can be very toxic to dogs. Always confirm that these ingredients are not added to any food that you are considering sharing with your dog.

Also, avoid giving your dog pumpkin pie or products with pumpkin spice. You can give your dog fresh pumpkin that is cooked plain and without seasoning. However, pumpkin pie filling often includes xylitol, which is very toxic and potentially deadly for canines. Instead, make a fresh pumpkin treat for your dog. Just be sure to buy pure pumpkin and confirm that there are no added ingredients.

Dachshund wearing a knit hat and scarf surrounded by pumpkins.
Lilun_Li/Getty images Plus

Consider writing or printing a list of foods you can share with your dog. Inform your guests, as well, so that you and your dog can enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Be prepared. Post the phone number to the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661), as well as the number and address for your local emergency veterinarian, in a place where all household members can see it.

Thanksgiving Foods You Should Not Feed Your Dog

  • Turkey skin
  • Turkey bones
  • Turkey stuffing
  • Turkey gravy
  • Candy and gum (may contain xylitol)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Creamed peas
  • Sweet potatoes and yams with added ingredients
  • Pumpkin pie (may contain xylitol)
  • Chocolate desserts
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Salads with raisins or grapes
  • Onions
  • Scallions
Boy gives Siberian husky treat
kali9/Getty Images Plus
Siberian Husky puppy getting a treat from a boy outdoors.

Thanksgiving Foods You Can Feed Your Dog

  • Turkey meat (no bone or skin)
  • Plain potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Plain, cooked pumpkin
  • Plain peas
  • Apples
Related article: Can Dogs Eat Turkey?
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