A dog eyeing a turkey

Whether your holiday celebration is a grand gathering or an intimate affair, chances are there will be at least one or two pets on the guest list. It’s only natural that we would want to give thanks with those we are grateful for; and, let’s face it, we are certainly grateful for our pets.

Celebrating this cozy holiday with furry family members doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you’re mindful of which Thanksgiving foods a pet can eat, and what they need to stay away from. Thanksgiving pet safety comes in many forms, and the doctors and staff at Androscoggin Animal Hospital want to share our tips with you for a pet-friendly Thanksgiving!

Planning Ahead for Pets and People Food

There is no doubt that noms and nibbles abound for curious snoots and sneaky snatches. From unattended appetizers and miscellaneous morsels found on the floor, to guests slipping your pet a bite or two of something delicious, there are all sorts of ways your four-legged friends will snarfle down goodies galore at holiday gatherings. 

Keeping that in mind, it’s not only important for you to know what your pet can and cannot eat, but for you to educate and set boundaries for your guests when it comes to which foods are off-limits to pets. This is important, since many holiday food favorites have ingredients that can be harmful to pets. There are certainly foods on the menu that are safe for pets; but again, many are not. 

The Big No-Nos

When it comes to pets and people food, you can never be too careful, especially because many of our favorite Thanksgiving treats are toxic or otherwise unhealthy for our pets. These foods include:

  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is found in many sugar-free foods, such as those for diabetics, and some peanut butters 
  • Onions and garlic
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts
  • Alcohol 
  • Fat-based foods, such as butter, gravy, and cheese sauce
  • Avocado
  • Yeast-based doughs 
  • Fruit pits

Fatty or greasy foods, while not toxic per se, can cause GI upset and/or pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a serious inflammation of the pancreas that requires immediate veterinary care.

Other items that cause problems if ingested are plastic wrap, strings, tin foil, skewers, meat bones, tin pans with drippings, and skimmings from trash or compost.

Further recommendations for holiday pet safety include:

  • Opting for battery operated candlelight to avoid singed whiskers and tails
  • Avoiding flowers such as Amaranths, lilies, winter bulbs, and other seasonal plants, which can be poisonous to pets
  • Securing your guests’ bags and purses, as they might contain toxins like medication, e-cigarettes, Xylitol-sweetened candy and gum, etc.
  • Making sure your pet has a current identification tag and is microchipped

Thanksgiving Foods a Pet Can Eat

We know that including your pet in the holidays is important to you, and there are plenty of ways to give them safe and healthy Thanksgiving treats. 

Opt for:

  • A dollop of unseasoned pumpkin, sweet potato, or yam
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Small amount of skin-free, deboned turkey
  • Steamed green beans or carrots
  • Berries like strawberries and blueberries

 Remember to be mindful of moderation and do not give your pet too many scraps or allow them to lick more than one plate.

Questions About Thanksgiving Pet Safety?

The holidays are a time of sharing love, food, and appreciation for those in our life, including our pets. It is understandable to want to include them in the day of thanks. To do so safely, just use a bit of precaution and follow the recommendations above for a Thanksgiving that truly is magical for all. Please let us know if you have questions.