Which Thanksgiving Foods Are Dangerous For Your Pet?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means in two days our beloved family members will be descending upon our homes like a plague of locusts to eat food, drink a bit too much, cause drama, and then do it all over again at Christmas time.


But seriously, in a few days, we will all be gathering together for Thanksgiving dinner and having a great time. And amongst those family members gathered around our tables will obviously be our precious furbabies. And while we love including them in the festivities as much as possible, it is also important to understand all the health and safety questions prior to the holiday in order to be able to safely enjoy the holiday with our pets.

For starters, Thanksgiving is a day for friends and family to gather under one roof. That also means some added stress for our pets as the commotion of people might get them overly stimulated. However, it also poses another danger to pets since some table scraps could end up being toxic to them. So we have done most of the legwork for you regarding what foods might cause serious health problems.

Below is some food do’s and don’ts in order for you to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner with your pets without needing an emergency trip to the vets:


Yes, pets can eat turkey. But there are certain conditions. Firstly, pets can be given small amounts of unseasoned turkey meat that doesn’t have the skin. But only do this if you know for a fact that your pet’s digestive system can handle it. Also, you shouldn’t give them the turkey from the table as it’s very fatty and has seasonings that could be toxic to your pets. And it is very, very important to give them boneless meat. Turkey bones can pose a choking hazard if swallowed, or they can obstruct your pet’s GI tract which would require surgery. Either way, NO turkey bones!


The short answer is no. Now for the longer one – no, because while bread isn’t the harmful part, the stuffing’s ingredients like onions, grapes, or raisins are all extremely toxic to pets, particularly dogs. Plus, the rich flavors and ingredients seriously upset their tummies. So, no stuffing!

Pumpkin Pie

This one is an obvious no. Pets can’t eat pumpkin in its pie form. However, they can enjoy a very small amount of plain, canned pumpkin. Not only is it a delicious treat for them, but it could also actually help their digestion. But again, only in its plain, canned form before it becomes a pie.

Sweet Potatoes

Just like pumpkin, your pet can enjoy a tiny bit of sweet potato but only if it’s plainly cooked. The casserole form with the marshmallows, spices, and brown sugar is for human consumption only.

Anything Else I Should Be Concerned About?

So, now that we’ve covered the basics, you may be wondering if there is anything else you should be aware of, and the answer is yes. Other toxic and harmful food that should be avoided at all costs is chocolate. Always keep any form of chocolate well out of your pet’s reach. Artificial sweeteners like Xylitol are something else you need to keep away from pets since its highly toxic. In fact, just try to avoid it in your cooking all together just in case.

As for non-food items, it is important that as you prepare your house with decorations and such, that everything is pet-proof. This is especially important when it comes to flowers. Cats are at greater risk since they are notorious for munching on greenery. Lilies, in particular, are extremely toxic to cats and cause kidney failure. So these should definitely be removed from any floral arrangements. Also, try to avoid decorations with ribbons or other small parts that could easily be swallowed. While they may look pretty, they can also cause serious obstructions should your pet accidentally ingest them.

When in doubt, you can always create a little safe space for your pets separate from the festivities in order to avoid any unwanted accidents. While you may want your pet to celebrate at a big gathering with you, it may actually cause them anxiety so a safe retreat where they can be at peace might actually be the best thing for them. Also, it is important to remind all arriving guests to refrain from feeding table scraps to your pets. As much as those big puppy dog eyes are hard to resist, the last thing you want is an emergency vet visit in the middle of dinner.

So, just remember to keep your pets safe and happy and that way everyone in your household can enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Anastasia is an American ex-pat living in Ireland. When she's not writing she can be found wandering the Irish countryside in search of inspiration. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @AnastasiaArell5 or Instagram @writeranastasia26
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