Thanksgiving No Nos for Dogs: Important Do’s and Don’ts

By: Danielle Harris

* This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

thanksgiving no nos for dogs

Thanksgiving is a time for indulging in delicious food and spending quality time with loved ones. However,We need to be cautious about what we feed them during this festive season. Many Thanksgiving favorites can actually be harmful to dogs, posing potential risks to their health and well-being.

We’ll delve into which specific foods can be harmful to dogs on Thanksgiving, highlighting the importance of being mindful of your dog’s diet during this time. By understanding these “no no’s” for dogs on Thanksgiving, you can ensure that your four-legged companion stays healthy and happy throughout the festivities.

So let’s dive in and discover how you can make this Thanksgiving a safe and enjoyable one for both you and your beloved canine companion.

Table of Contents – Thanksgiving no nos for dogs

Safe Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs

Dog-Friendly Foods to Share on Thanksgiving

If you’re like me, you want your furry friend to be a part of the Thanksgiving festivities. Luckily, there are several dog-friendly foods that you can share with your pup on this special occasion. Here’s a list of safe and enjoyable options that won’t harm your dog’s digestive system:

  • Turkey: Your pup can indulge in some lean, boneless turkey meat. Just make sure it’s plain and cooked thoroughly, without any seasoning or bones.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These orange gems are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. You can prepare some mashed sweet potatoes without adding any butter or spices, providing a healthy and tasty treat for your dog.
  • Green Beans: Crisp and crunchy green beans make an excellent addition to your dog’s holiday meal. They are low in calories and high in fiber, offering a nutritious option that won’t upset their tummy.
  • Pumpkin: This fall favorite is not just for pies! Plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) is great for dogs as it aids in digestion and provides essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Carrots: Crunchy carrots are not only good for humans but also for our four-legged friends. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a perfect snack option during Thanksgiving.

Nutritious Alternatives for Your Dog’s Holiday Meal

While we may be tempted to share all the delicious dishes with our dogs, it’s important to remember that certain foods can be harmful to them. Instead of feeding them scraps from the table, consider incorporating these nutritious alternatives into their holiday meal:

  • Homemade Dog Treats: Get creative in the kitchen by baking homemade treats specifically designed for dogs. There are countless recipes available online that use safe ingredients such as peanut butter, oats, or even turkey!
  • Frozen Fruit Popsicles: If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving in warmer weather, treat your pup to a refreshing frozen fruit popsicle. Use dog-friendly fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon, blended with plain yogurt or coconut water.
  • Dog-Friendly Stuffing: Create a dog-friendly version of stuffing by using ingredients that are safe for dogs. Opt for a recipe that includes ingredients like cooked rice, diced turkey, and vegetables such as peas or carrots.

Keeping Your Dog Safe and Happy on Thanksgiving

While it’s tempting to spoil our furry friends during the holiday season, it’s essential to keep their health and safety in mind. Here are some additional tips to ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving:

  1. Avoid giving them foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onions, grapes/raisins, garlic, and anything containing xylitol.
  2. Limit the amount of fatty or greasy foods you share with your pup as they can lead to digestive issues like pancreatitis.
  3. Keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort or distress in your dog after sharing food with them. If they show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  4. Stick to their regular feeding routine as much as possible. While it’s okay to give them small portions of special treats on Thanksgiving, try not to disrupt their usual diet too much.

Remember that every dog is different, so it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods into their diet or making any significant changes.

By following these guidelines and offering safe alternatives for your furry friend on Thanksgiving Day, you can ensure they feel included while keeping them healthy and happy throughout the holiday season!

Harmful Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs

Thanksgiving is a time to indulge in delicious food and enjoy the company of loved ones. However, it’s important to remember that not all Thanksgiving foods are safe for our furry friends. There are certain foods that can be harmful or even toxic to dogs. It’s crucial for pet owners to be aware of these potential dangers and take precautions to keep their dogs safe during the holiday season.

Avoid giving your dog certain foods that can lead to health issues or even toxicity.

While it may be tempting to share your Thanksgiving feast with your four-legged companion, there are some foods that should never be given to dogs. Certain ingredients commonly found in traditional dishes can cause digestive issues, organ damage, or even poisoning in dogs. It’s essential to resist the urge to share every dish with your pup and prioritize their well-being instead.

Be aware of common ingredients in traditional dishes that are dangerous for dogs.

Some common ingredients used in Thanksgiving recipes can pose a threat to our canine friends. Onions and garlic, often present in savory dishes like stuffing or gravy, contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. Grapes and raisins, which may appear in desserts or side dishes, have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate is another ingredient found in many Thanksgiving desserts that is highly toxic to dogs due to its theobromine content.

Learn about specific food items that should never be fed to dogs on Thanksgiving.

To ensure the safety of your furry friend, it’s crucial to know which specific food items should never be fed to them on Thanksgiving (or any other day). Here are some examples:

  • Turkey bones: While cooked turkey meat is generally safe for dogs when served plain without any seasoning or sauces, turkey bones pose a significant risk. They can splinter easily and cause choking hazards or internal injuries.
  • Alcohol: Keep alcoholic beverages out of reach from your pets. Even small amounts can lead to alcohol poisoning in dogs, resulting in vomiting, disorientation, and even coma.
  • Nuts: Macadamia nuts and walnuts are particularly harmful to dogs. They can cause muscle weakness, tremors, and even neurological issues if ingested.
  • Onions and garlic: As mentioned earlier, these ingredients should be avoided entirely as they are toxic to dogs.

Understand the potential risks associated with feeding inappropriate foods to your pet.

Feeding inappropriate foods to your dog during Thanksgiving can have serious consequences. It’s important to understand the potential risks involved:

  • Digestive issues: Dogs have sensitive stomachs, and consuming high-fat or spicy foods can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea or pancreatitis.
  • Toxicity: Certain foods like chocolate or grapes can be toxic to dogs and may result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, or even seizures.
  • Choking hazards: Small bones or food items that are not suitable for dogs can pose a choking risk if swallowed whole or if they get stuck in their throat.

As responsible pet owners, it’s our duty to prioritize our furry friends’ health and well-being. By being aware of the harmful Thanksgiving foods for dogs and taking necessary precautions, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for everyone.

We need to be cautious about the foods we offer them. While bread and cookie dough may seem harmless, they can actually pose serious risks to our dogs’ digestion and overall health. Let’s dive into why these seemingly innocent treats should be off-limits for our four-legged companions.

Raw Bread Dough: A Dangerous Delight

Raw bread dough contains yeast, which can be extremely hazardous if ingested by dogs. Yeast is a type of fungus that causes the dough to rise when it ferments. If a dog consumes raw or uncooked bread dough, the warmth of their stomach can activate the yeast, causing it to expand further. This expansion can lead to bloating and potentially life-threatening conditions such as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat.

The dangers don’t stop there. As the yeast ferments in a dog’s stomach, it produces alcohol as a byproduct. This alcohol can quickly enter their bloodstream, leading to alcohol poisoning symptoms like disorientation, vomiting, tremors, and even seizures.

Just like raw bread dough, raw cookie dough poses significant risks for our canine companions. It often contains ingredients that are harmful to dogs such as eggs and chocolate chips. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine that dogs cannot metabolize effectively. Ingesting even small amounts of chocolate chips from cookie dough can result in symptoms like increased heart rate, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, seizures or even death.

Moreover, raw cookie dough frequently includes other ingredients that are harmful or toxic to dogs:

  • Xylitol: This sugar substitute is commonly found in sugar-free desserts and baked goods. Xylitol consumption can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels in dogs.
  • Butter: High-fat foods like butter can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Raisins or Grapes: These seemingly harmless additions to cookies can be toxic to dogs and may cause kidney failure.

Safe Alternatives for Thanksgiving Treats

To ensure the safety of our furry friends during Thanksgiving celebrations, it’s important to offer them dog-friendly treats instead. Here are some safe alternatives that your pup will love:

  • Plain Cooked Turkey: Remove the skin and bones before offering small pieces of cooked turkey meat to your dog.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Cooked sweet potatoes without any added seasonings are a healthy and delicious option for dogs.
  • Carrots: Raw or cooked carrots make excellent low-calorie treats for dogs.

Remember, it’s always essential to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods into your dog’s diet. Every dog is unique, and what may be safe for one may not be suitable for another.

Hazards of Nuts: Macadamia, Walnuts, Pecans

Nuts are a popular ingredient in many Thanksgiving dishes, but it’s important to be aware that not all nuts are safe for dogs. Some nuts can be toxic and pose serious health risks to our furry friends. Let’s take a closer look at the hazards of macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans.

Know which nuts are toxic for dogs

Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans are among the nuts that can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities. These nuts contain certain compounds that can be toxic to our canine companions. It’s crucial for dog owners to familiarize themselves with these hazardous nuts and take precautions to keep them away from their pets.

Understand the symptoms they can cause

If your dog ingests macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pecans, they may experience various symptoms that indicate toxicity. These symptoms can include weakness, tremors or shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and even changes in heart rate. It’s essential to recognize these signs as early as possible and seek veterinary assistance promptly.

Hidden sources of nuts during Thanksgiving celebrations

During Thanksgiving celebrations, there may be hidden sources of nuts in various dishes that could pose a risk to your furry friend. Foods like stuffing or desserts might contain chopped or ground-up macadamia nuts or other hazardous varieties without you even realizing it. It’s crucial to read ingredient labels carefully and ask about potential nut content before sharing any food with your dog.

The dangers of ingestion

When dogs consume macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pecans in large quantities or on a regular basis, it can lead to severe health issues. These harmful substances present in the nuts affect their nervous system and overall well-being. As responsible pet owners, we must ensure that our four-legged companions do not have access to these dangerous nuts.

Keeping your dog safe

To keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving, it’s essential to take the necessary precautions. Here are some tips to help you prevent any mishaps:

  • Keep all dishes containing nuts out of reach of your dog.
  • Inform guests about the hazards of certain nuts and ask them not to share any food with your dog without your permission.
  • Store nuts securely in a closed container, away from your pet’s reach.
  • If you suspect that your dog has ingested macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pecans or is showing any symptoms of nut toxicity, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Remember, prevention is key. By being proactive and knowledgeable about the hazards associated with certain foods like macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for everyone in the family.

Beware of Bones, Turkey Skin, and Drippings

It’s important to remember that not all foods are safe for our furry friends.

Avoid giving your dog turkey bones as they can splinter and cause choking or internal injuries.

Cooked bones may seem like a tasty treat for your pup, but they pose serious risks. When cooked, the bones become brittle and can easily splinter when chewed on. These sharp fragments can cause choking hazards or even puncture your dog’s throat or digestive tract. To keep your furry friend safe during Thanksgiving festivities, it’s best to avoid giving them any cooked bones altogether.

Understand why turkey skin is high in fat and can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

While many people enjoy the crispy skin on their Thanksgiving turkey, it’s not suitable for our four-legged companions. Turkey skin is loaded with fat content that can be difficult for dogs to digest. Feeding your dog fatty foods like turkey skin can potentially lead to a condition called pancreatitis. This inflammation of the pancreas causes discomfort and digestive issues in dogs. It’s crucial to resist those puppy eyes begging for a nibble of crispy skin and opt for plain turkey instead.

Be cautious with fatty drippings from cooked meat, as they may upset your dog’s stomach or cause a condition called pancreatitis.

As tempting as it may be to share those delicious meat drippings with your pup, it’s best to refrain from doing so. Fatty drippings from cooked meat can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system. They have the potential to upset their stomachs or trigger pancreatitis due to the high fat content. While a small amount might not cause immediate harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid sharing these drippings with your furry friend.

By being mindful of these Thanksgiving “no no’s” for dogs, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday for your four-legged family members. Stick to feeding them plain turkey without the skin, and avoid giving them any cooked bones or fatty drippings. Instead, consider preparing some dog-friendly alternatives like cooked carrots or green beans as a healthy treat option. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Garlic and Onion: Harmful Ingredients

Garlic and onion, although commonly used in many Thanksgiving recipes, can be harmful to our furry friends. These ingredients contain toxic compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells and lead to serious health issues. It is important for dog owners to understand the potential risks associated with feeding dishes containing garlic or onion to their pets.

It contains a compound called thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. This compound can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, leading to a condition known as Heinz body anemia. Similarly, onions also contain a substance called N-propyl disulfide that can have the same harmful effects on a dog’s red blood cells.

It is crucial for pet owners to be aware of hidden sources of garlic and onion in Thanksgiving recipes. Many dishes may include these ingredients as seasonings or flavor enhancers without explicitly mentioning them. For example, stuffing often contains onions, while gravies and sauces may have garlic added for taste.

The toxicity of garlic and onion varies depending on the amount consumed by the dog relative to its size. However, it is best to avoid giving any amount of these ingredients to your furry friend as even small quantities can be detrimental. Symptoms of garlic or onion toxicity in dogs include weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, rapid breathing, and elevated heart rate.

To keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving festivities:

  • Avoid feeding them any dishes that contain garlic or onion.
  • Be cautious about sharing leftovers with your pet if you are unsure about the ingredients used.
  • Educate your family members and guests about the potential dangers of feeding these ingredients to your dog.
  • Opt for alternative herbs and spices that are safe for dogs when cooking their meals.

Instead of using garlic or onion in your Thanksgiving recipes:

  • Consider using other safe alternatives such as parsley or basil for flavoring.
  • Stick with plain vegetables like green beans or carrots as side dishes for your dog.
  • Ensure that any potatoes or sweet potatoes you feed your pet are plain and free from added seasonings or ingredients.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. By being aware of the harmful effects of garlic and onion on dogs and taking precautions to avoid these ingredients, you can ensure a happy and healthy Thanksgiving for everyone in your family, including your beloved pets.

Ensuring a Safe Thanksgiving for Your Dog

Now that you’re aware of the safe and harmful foods for your furry friend on Thanksgiving, it’s time to put this knowledge into action. Remember, your dog’s health and well-being should always be a top priority. When planning your Thanksgiving feast, think about how you can include your pup in the celebration without compromising their safety.

To ensure a safe Thanksgiving for your dog, consider preparing a separate meal just for them using dog-friendly ingredients. This way, they can enjoy their own delicious feast while you indulge in yours. Keep tempting but dangerous foods out of reach by securing trash cans and keeping countertops clear. And don’t forget to give them plenty of love and attention throughout the day to make them feel included in the festivities.


Can dogs eat cooked turkey?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked turkey as long as it is plain and free from any seasoning or additives. Remove the skin, bones, and excess fat before serving it to your furry friend. Also, make sure the turkey is fully cooked to avoid any risk of bacterial contamination.

Is it safe for dogs to eat pumpkin pie?

While pumpkin itself is safe for dogs and even beneficial for their digestion, pumpkin pie may not be the best choice. Most pumpkin pies contain added sugar, spices like nutmeg or cinnamon, and other ingredients that could upset your dog’s stomach. It’s best to stick with plain canned pumpkin if you want to treat your pup with some seasonal goodness.

Can dogs have cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce in small amounts is generally safe for dogs. However, store-bought cranberry sauce often contains high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners that can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities. If you want to share cranberries with your furry friend, opt for fresh or unsweetened dried cranberries instead.

Are mashed potatoes okay for dogs?

Plain mashed potatoes without any added ingredients like butter, salt, garlic, or onions can be safe for dogs in moderation. However, it’s important to remember that potatoes are high in carbohydrates and should only be given as an occasional treat rather than a regular part of their diet.

Can dogs eat green beans?

Yes, dogs can eat plain cooked green beans. They are low in calories and a good source of fiber and vitamins. Green beans can be a healthy addition to your dog’s meal or served as a standalone snack. Just make sure they are cooked thoroughly and free from any seasonings or sauces that could be harmful to your pup.

Photo of author


French Bulldog
Find Everything You Need on Chewy!

Leave a Comment