These Thanksgiving Foods Are Dangerous for Dogs to Eat, Experts Say

If you're cooking for or hosting the holidays at your house, crumbs and scraps of food are bound to splatter onto the floor at some point. However, at Thanksgiving, many of those morsels can be harmful to pets.

According to the American Kennel Club, although traditional Thanksgiving foods -- like a turkey bone -- may seem like tasty treats to dogs, a handful of them are unsafe. The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and poultry bones can damage a pet's digestive tract.

Additionally, while sweets and desserts may be a human's favorite item on the menu, for a dog, they can be deadly or poisonous.

These Holiday Foods Are Unsafe For Dogs:

  • Turkey bones, skin and gravy: The AVMA notes that even a small amount of turkey or turkey skin can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Yeast dough: While bread is not typically harmful for pets, yeast dough can lead to painful gas and dangerous bloating. "When a dog eats bread dough, the yeast continues to make the dough rise, distending your pup’s stomach and releasing toxic levels of ethanol into the bloodstream," the AKC says.
  • Desserts that ontain chocolate or Xylitol: Chocolate is toxic to dogs, the AKC says. Signs of chocolate poising, which include vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination and restlessness, usually appear within 6-12 hours.
  • Onions, Garlic: According to the AKC, onions and garlic contain toxins that can lead to anemia in dogs.
  • Raisins, Grapes: Both are known to be highly toxic to dogs, the AKC says.

Additionally, stuffing, casseroles, mashed potatoes, creamed peas, ham and alcoholic beverages are all considered unsafe due to fat content, or unsafe or unhealthy ingredients.

So how can your dog participate in holiday eating? The AVMA and AKC suggest these holiday-safe alternatives to offer your furry friends.

These Holiday Foods are Safe For Dogs

  • Apples: As long as you are cutting around the core, the AKC says, since "large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic."
  • Plain Turkey: According to the AKC, plain turkey is ok to offer your dog "as long as it has not been prepared with any seasoning."
  • Green Beans: Similar to turkey, green beans are a healthy option for dogs as long as they are plain, and without added ingredients like butter or spices.
  • Pumpkin: "Pumpkin helps with digestive health and it's great for a dog's skin and coat," Dr. Gary Richter, MS, DVM says. However, "make sure its just pumpkin, and not the pre-spiced pie mix."
  • Carrots: "While carrots are generally safe, it is important to cut whole carrots and even carrot sticks into bite-size chunks before feeding them to your dog," the AKC says.
  • Sweet potato: Another great option, as sweet potatoes without any added ingredients contain "dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and beta-carotene," Richter says.
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