Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips


With Thanksgiving just one week away and all of the winter holidays also right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind pet owners about food safety for pets during the holidays. What do you need to know about keeping your dogs and cats safe around all that yummy people food this holiday season? Here’s some practical advice, courtesy of


Turkey: A small amount of plain, white meat turkey is OK to give to your dog or cat. But don’t give them too much, and make sure they don’t eat things like skin, bones, drippings, seasonings, or gravy. Too much of these rich foods can result in intestinal upset (gastroenteritis) or even pancreatitis. Make sure cats don’t get on the counter or dogs in the trash to eat undercooked turkey or the turkey carcass.


Stuffing: The biggest danger of stuffing is the onion and garlic used to season it. These foods can be toxic to dogs and cats, especially large quantities. Also make sure to keep your pets away from raisins, grapes, or currants used in stuffing, these can be highly toxic to dogs.


Mashed Potatoes, Candied Yams, and Other Side Dishes: Traditional sides are dangerous for pets because they contain significant amounts of things like butter, cream, and other types of fat. Consumption of rich, heavy foods can lead to pancreatitis. Certain breeds of dogs (miniature schnauzers and silky/Yorkshire terriers) and dogs with preexisting health conditions like diabetes or endocrine disorders are especially at risk. Plain green beans and carrots are safe for pets.


Corn on the Cob: Keep corn on the cob and discarded corn cobs away from your dog. Dogs that swallow corn cobs are at risk of dangerous intestinal obstruction.


Homemade Bread and Rolls: It’s OK for your pet to eat a little plain bread, but the danger comes when you’re baking bread that contains yeast and your pet ingests the rising raw dough. The warmth of your pet’s stomach will trigger the fermentation that occurs when yeast and starch mix. Fermentation releases dangerous alcohol and gas into your pet’s system, leading to both alcohol poisoning and an obstructed stomach. Never leave dough out on the counter to rise overnight. Place any dough well out of reach of pets, such as in a turned-off oven.


Pumpkin Pie and Other Desserts: While a little plain pumpkin puree is fine for pets and can even help with their digestion, most prepared desserts are too rich for pets. Be especially careful about keeping your pets away from chocolate, which is toxic to dogs and cats, and sugar-free desserts containing the sweetener Xylitol, which is very harmful to dogs.


Cooking and Leftovers: Make sure to protect your pets from ingesting things like aluminum foil, kitchen twine, rubber bands, and similar food prep or wrapping items that could pose a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage.


Pets and Thanksgiving Dinner


With Thanksgiving just a few days away, you may be wondering if it’s OK to share some of your Thanksgiving feast with your dog or cat. Here’s some guidance to help you give a thumbs up or thumbs down to some traditional holiday foods, courtesy of Catster and Dogster.


Turkey: Yes. Skinless, boneless white meat is safest, as too much fat could upset their stomachs.

Gravy: Only in moderation, because of the fat and salt.

Mashed potatoes: No. Cats have difficulty digesting dairy, and they should never eat garlic, onion or shallot.

Stuffing: No. Keep cats away from bread, garlic and onion.

Cranberry sauce: OK for cats to eat, some like the taste, but some don’t.


Turkey: Yes. Make sure it’s skinless, boneless and fully cooked. White meat is best.

Gravy: Fine in moderation, as it is rich.

Mashed potatoes: Only if cooked very plainly, skip if they have lots of butter, cream, garlic or onion.

Stuffing: Only in moderation, and only raisin-free, as raisins are toxic to dogs.

Cranberry sauce: Yes, as long as it’s the alcohol-free type.

Make sure your pets don’t get into the Thanksgiving trash filled with turkey bones and meat trimmings. Bones are dangerous if swallowed and too much fatty meat and skin could lead to an upset stomach and even pancreatitis.

Happy Thanksgiving!