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Which Thanksgiving Foods are Safe for Dogs and Cats?

golden blogThanksgiving is a wonderful time for coming together with family and friends to share a big meal and some memories. It’s only natural to want to share some of that holiday cheer and food with your four-legged family members, but use caution. While there are some Thanksgiving foods that are safe for pets (depending on the exact ingredients), others are downright dangerous.

Sometimes Safe:

Turkey: A small amount of white meat is typically safe for dogs and cats. Just be sure to remove skin, excess fat, and bones.

Cranberries: A few cranberries or a small helping of cranberry sauce is okay, but steer clear if it’s loaded with sugar.

Green Beans: Fresh green beans make a healthy treat for pets. However, if your Thanksgiving green beans are in a casserole, be mindful of the other ingredients before sharing with your pet.

Potatoes: A few nibbles of plain mashed potatoes make a filling snack for pets. Just know that butter, sour cream, onions, and gravy are all off-limits. Sweet potatoes are also safe as long as any additional ingredients are pet-friendly.


Onions: Ingestion of even a small amount of onion can be very dangerous for pets, causing damage to red blood cells and leading to a condition callved hemolytic anemia. Symptoms of toxicity include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathlessness.

Gravy: Fatty foods like gravy can lead to pancreatitis, especially in dogs. Common symptoms of pancreatitis include lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and difficulty breathing.

Bones: Bones from your Thanksgiving turkey or ham can cause your pet serious injury. Chewing on bones can lead to broken teeth and mouth injuries. Fragments can also get stuck in the esophagus, windpipe, stomach, or intestines. Choking, constipation, rectal bleeding, and infections are all possible consequences.

Alcohol: It doesn’t take much alcohol to cause toxicity in a small animal. Since alcohol is so common at many family gatherings, it’s important to keep an eye on pets during the holidays. Signs of alcohol toxicity in pets include drooling, vomiting (or attempting to vomit), weakness, elevated heart rate, and a distended abdomen.

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