thanskgiving food your petThanksgiving is about giving thanks for all the amazing things (and people) we have in our lives…but let’s be serious, it’s also all about the food. Thanksgiving is the holiday for feasting with friends and family. And there’s no doubt about it, this evening of eating is also likely to pique the curiosity of the family pet.

No true holiday is complete without sharing the festivities with our pets – especially ones that include amazing food. Many of us feel a little guilty about not sharing at least a tiny bit of turkey dinner with our furry companions. Unfortunately, some of the things we enjoy are items that can cause everything from tummy upset to a pet poisoning emergency.

To ensure you have a safe, happy holiday, your friends at New Haven Pet Hospital are here to help you remember the do’s and don’ts of Thanksgiving foods when it comes to your pet.

Turkey Day Tips

A little dollop of gravy for Fido…what’s the problem? Actually, there are several rich and savory foods that seem like a good idea to pass to your pet but can cause some harm. And while you may assume a small amount can’t hurt, it’s likely that other people in the family are also passing out these scraps.

To avoid food toxicity, practice some of these safety tips:

  • During meal prep, dinner, and clean-up, keep your pet in a different location. You can even use baby gates so they can see everyone but stay well away from food and drink.
  • Clean up all leftovers and cover trash bags in a secure, lidded container.
  • Ask guests not to feed your pet any items off their plates – including scraps or bones.
  • Double-check all floors, under the table, etc. for any items that were dropped (and triple-check the kids table).
  • Keep alcoholic beverages outside your pet’s reach.

Thanksgiving Foods and Your Pet: The No-No’s

While it’s true that most people food can add extra calories (and pounds) to your pet, there are some foods that can cause toxicity or serious illness. Be on the lookout for these items, and make sure they do not make the rounds to your hounds (or other animals!).

  • Chocolate (dark or baker’s quality is particularly toxic)
  • Xylitol (a sugar-free substitute)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Fruit pits (cherry, apricot, apple seeds, etc.)
  • Avocados
  • Yeast (dough) and hops (found in home brewing supplies)
  • Molded cheeses (or any mold)

Along with these items, it’s important to remember that fatty foods, like sauces, gravies, and turkey skin, can cause gastrointestinal upset and can create a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

While bones aren’t toxic, they can pose a choking hazard if ingested or cause lacerations to the mouth or GI tract. Instead of real bones, opt for Nylabone chews or a veterinary-approved dental treat for your best friend.

Even a used foil package or plastic wrap can cause a chow hound to chow down. Take the time to throw them away after use.

Pass These Instead!

Even though some of these tasty morsels are off-limits to our pets, we have a compromise! You can offer your pet (in very small portions) a bit of the following yumminess:

  • Small portion of turkey with skin and bones removed
  • Dollop of plain pumpkin or yam puree
  • Steamed, unseasoned green beans, corn, or  baby carrots
  • Unseasoned mashed potatoes
  • Unsweetened berries, like blueberries or strawberries

You can also try your hand at making homemade and healthy treats for your pet’s delight.

Including your pet in the holiday gathering can still be safe and oh-so-fun with a little precaution and a lot of love. For more information about toxic foods or your pet’s health, please call us.