Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be a time to watch out for your dog's health and safety. Some of the foods that we enjoy on this holiday can be harmful or even toxic to our canine companions. Here are some of the foods that you can safely share with your dog, and some that you should avoid.
- **Turkey meat**: Turkey is a good source of protein for dogs, as long as it is cooked, unseasoned, skinless, and boneless. Turkey bones can splinter and cause choking or damage to your dog's digestive tract, and turkey skin can be too fatty and cause pancreatitis. Avoid giving your dog any turkey that has been prepared with butter, spices, garlic, onion, or other ingredients that may upset their stomach or be poisonous to them.
- **Sweet potatoes**: Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene for dogs. They can help with digestion and support your dog's immune system. However, you should only give your dog plain boiled or baked sweet potatoes, without any butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, marshmallows, or other toppings that may be harmful or too sugary for them.
- **Pumpkin**: Pumpkin is another healthy food for dogs that can provide them with fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants. It can also help with diarrhea or constipation. You can give your dog cooked or canned pumpkin, but make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which may contain sugar, spices, or xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
- **Green beans**: Green beans are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals for dogs. They can also help your dog feel full and prevent overeating. You can give your dog plain green beans, either fresh or cooked, but avoid any that have been seasoned with butter, salt, garlic, onion, or other ingredients that may be harmful or too salty for them.
- **Cranberries**: Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and can help prevent urinary tract infections in dogs. However, you should only give your dog fresh or dried cranberries, not cranberry sauce or juice, which may contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other additives that may be bad for your dog's health.
Some of the foods that you should never give your dog on Thanksgiving include:
- **Bones**: Bones can pose a choking hazard or cause damage to your dog's mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines. They can also splinter and cause infections or perforations. Never give your dog any bones from turkey, ham, chicken, or any other meat.
- **Chocolate**: Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are stimulants that can affect your dog's nervous system and heart. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, or even death in dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Keep all chocolate out of your dog's reach.
- **Grapes and raisins**: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even a small amount can be fatal. The exact mechanism of toxicity is unknown, but it seems to affect some dogs more than others. Avoid giving your dog any food that contains grapes or raisins, such as fruit salad or stuffing.
- **Onions and garlic**: Onions and garlic belong to the Allium family of plants, which can damage your dog's red blood cells and cause anemia. Onions are more toxic than garlic, but both should be avoided. They can be found in many dishes on Thanksgiving, such as stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, or casseroles. Check the ingredients before giving your dog any food from the table.
- **Alcohol**: Alcohol can affect your dog's liver and brain much more than yours. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, or even death in dogs. Never give your dog any alcohol or any food that contains alcohol.
Remember to feed your dog only small amounts of safe foods on Thanksgiving and keep them away from the unsafe ones. Too much of anything can cause stomach upset or worse. Also make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times and monitor them for any signs of distress. If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic or is showing symptoms of poisoning , contact your veterinarian immediately.