A lot of pet owners want to spend the holiday with their pets. After all, our pets are really part of our families. However, many pet owners run into an issue on holidays: looking down at those puppy dog eyes begging for scraps from your scrumptious holiday meal.
Most human holidays are celebrated with some sort of food or another, and a great many of those include chocolate in the celebrations, a food which is widely known to be toxic to dogs.
So a lot of pet owners want to know what is or isn’t okay with their pets to eat on the holidays. Well not to worry, in this article we are going to talk about what should or shouldn't be on your menu for your pets on Thanksgiving. So check out the article below to find out what the experts say is ok for your pets to eat this holiday season, including:
- General rules of thumb about feeding pets from the Thanksgiving table
- Pet-safe menus for dogs, cats, pocket critters, and other pets
- and more!
It’s Totally Normal To Want To Celebrate With Your Pet
But Thanksgiving Is Too Much Trouble to Make A Special Pet Dinner Too
I’ll be honest, if your house is anything like mine, you are absolutely sick and tired of preparing food by the time it’s time to have dinner at 2PM? For some reason that has never been satisfactorily explained to me. But regardless of that, the fact of the matter is, you probably want your pet to celebrate the holiday with you, but you don’t want to go through the trouble of preparing them their own special meal. And there’s good news if that's the way you feel about it.
There are some foods on your Thanksgiving dinner plate that you can share with your pet, but be careful because there are some that can actually make your pets very sick!
Thank Goodness Thanksgiving Is A Pre-Set Menu
Makes It Easy To List What's (Generally) Safe to Share with Your Pets
The nice thing about Thanksgiving dinner is that it’s usually a pretty set menu. Turkey obviously. Probably mashed potatoes. Biscuits or rolls. Gravy. Some sort of vegetable. Maybe MacN Cheese. And cranberry sauce. Probably followed up with either apple, sweet potato, or pumpkin pie. The good news is a lot of this menu can be shared with your pet.
In general it is ok for most pets to have some of the white meat from the turkey, but don’t give them the skin that's covered in seasoning because certain ones are not good for them.
Additionally, try to avoid giving them dark meat or allowing them to have turkey bones. Turkey bones, like all bird bones, are primarily hollow which allows the bird to keep their density low enough to be able to achieve flight. But because of this, their bones are very brittle and will splinter and shatter when chewed on by an animal. Which poses not only the risk of injury to the dog’s mouth, but also poses A HUGE CHOKING HAZARD for your pet. So whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE THEM THE BONES.
In addition to plain white meat, it is also safe to give your pet a small serving of potatoes as long as you serve them up plain and leave all the seasoning and butter off of them.
Any vegetables that you are preparing are also likely to be fine to serve to your pet as long as you serve them up plain. Most things like peas, carrots, corn, and green beans are all okay for the standard house pet. As long as you don’t cover them in seasonings first.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to keep the pie itself off the menu for your pets. But it is okay to give them some fresh apples, pumpkin, or sweet potato, so make sure you set a little aside for them before you begin preparing your dessert.
There’s Some Things You NEVER Want To Feed Your Pet
What To Avoid Sharing on Thanksgiving Night
One of the most important things to remember is that sodium is bad for your pets.
Yeah its bad for you too, but it's bad for them in a whole different way. So anything you prepare with salt that you might want to share with your pet, leave a little bit of it aside ein its own bowl and keep it free from getting dashed with salt.
This means the gravy is off limits for your pets too. Gravy is always very high in salt, which is probably why it is so delicious, to be honest. So even though it probably seems like the perfect thing to give your pet, you unfortunately shouldn’t give them gravy when you are preparing their thanksgiving plate.
Additionally anything that you prepare with garlic should be set aside if you want to save some for your pet. Garlic is bad for many animals so you’ll want to avoid feeding any of it to them.
And although it’s not traditionally associated with Thanksgiving, remember to never feed your pet, dogs or cats, chocolate. It is toxic to both of them and causes them to become quite ill and possibly even die if they eat enough of it.
Additionally, do not share coffee or coffee grounds with your pet after the meal is over and you are enjoying a cup yourself. Coffee is bad for animals and they wouldn’t know what to do with a hot beverage anyways.
To Recap: Here's What Can Be on the Menu For Your Furry, Feathery, and Scaly Friends This Thanksgiving
Vet-Approved Menus for Your Pets
Now that we've got over general rules about what pets can and can't eat, what do we have left? If you're looking for a list of foods that are specifically okay for pets to indulge in this holiday, you're in the right spot.
☝️Keep in mind that all of the rules above still apply -- like no bones, no butter, no garlic, and no salt.
Thanksgiving Food That's Safe for Dogs & Cats
✅ White meat turkey (no bones, no skin)
✅ Potatoes and sweet potatoes
✅ Plain peas, green beans, and pumpkin
Foods to Avoid Giving to Pets
❌ Dark meat turkey
❌ Seasonings, especially salt and garlic
❌ Coffee or coffee grounds
❌ Anything with lots of added butter, sugar, or fat
Well there you go. There’s a list of all the things you can, or can’t share with your pet this thanksgiving. And remember, just because your pet will eat something, doesn’t mean it's an appropriate thing to feed them. Follow the rules in this list and try to keep anything you are feeding your pet free from salt and other seasonings. Animals haven’t evolved the way humans have to consume such a wide variety of seasonings and spices so their bodies don’t know how to process it. This is why some foods are toxic to our pets that are totally fine for us to consume.