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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 because the “trimmings” and other ingredients included in the dishes on the table are often not tolerated by dogs and in some cases are toxic.

The simple answer is yes, dogs can eat many Thanksgiving foods including 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. Plain cooked fresh pumpkin is fine to feed to dogs, but pumpkin pie filling often includes Xylitol which is very toxic and potentially deadly for canines. It is better to be safe and stay away from the pie and instead, make a fresh pumpkin treat for your dog. Just be sure to buy pure pumpkin and confirm that there are no added ingredients.

Consider writing or printing a list of foods you can share with your dog and inform your guests as well, so that you and your dog can enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Food Dos and Don’ts for Dogs

DO NOT Feed:
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

DO Feed your Dog:
Turkey Meat (no bone or skin)
Plain Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Plain cooked Pumpkin
Plain Peas

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.