Dogs are amazing beggars. I give in to Sadie with the most ease when she comes to the table looking for a nibble or two of my dinner. Thanksgiving is a feast day for people and our dogs expect to share in the bounty as well. Not everything on the Thanksgiving table is good for you dog though, and some things we like, are downright dangerous for dogs. Here are my tips for a safe and sharing holiday with your dog.
- Scraps are scraps. Don’t scrape the skin and fat from the turkey into your dog’s dish. Eating too much fat can cause serious illness for your dog including pancreas and kidney problems. Turkey properly trimmed can be an excellent protein treat for your dog. NEVER giver your dog bones from the turkey. Bones can cause choking and also splinter which is extremely dangerous often requiring emergency care.
- You can make exceptions for your own diet on Thanksgiving, but not for your dog. Onions, mushrooms, raisins, grapes, and leeks are toxic to pets in large quantities, but why take the chance. Keep in mind that most turkey stuffing recipes contain one or more of these ingredients so don’t feed it to your dog.
- Plain potatoes, mashed or boiled are acceptable for your dog and have taken the place of grains in many dog foods today. Leave off the gravy, butter, sour cream, or anything else. Keep a few cooked potatoes aside for your dog if you plan to include any of these items in your mashed potatoes. Cook an extra sweet potato for your dog! They’re good to them and even Sadie likes them.
- Most of us use Thanksgiving as an excuse to be indulgent and eat sugary desserts. Dogs should not eat desserts and in particular anything containing artificial sweeteners. Xylitol which is in most artificial sweeteners is particularly deadly to dogs.
- Most dog parents know that chocolate should NEVER be given to your dog, but should be extra careful during the holiday. Children often feed dogs anything they have and if chocolate is available, be diligent that it is not given to your dog.
- Green beans are an excellent vegetable for dogs, but not with the usual casserole additions. Keep a few beans aside to mix in your dog’s meal.
- Having wine with you dinner? No problem, but it is for your dog. NEVER give any pet alcohol! Be careful with those half empty glasses and the after dinner involuntary nap while watching the football game. Don’t sit your glass where it is accessible to your pet.
- Pumpkin is OK to share with your dog. Again, just keep a small amount aside when making your pie.
- If you are sure that your cranberry sauce has no raisins or nuts in it, you can give your dig a small bit. My dog Sadie wouldn’t even want any, but just like people tastes differ!
- Use common sense. If you never give your to dog people food then don’t.
Emergency animal clinics see a lot of cases of gastritis, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse following holiday meals. It’s easy to get distracted with meal preparation, talking with family and guests, as well as keeping up with football scores. Don’t let these distractions allow you to make a terrible mistake in what your dog gets to eat.
I prepare Sadie’s special holiday meal before we sit down to eat. Since I feed her a human grade diet and often cook for her, it’s easy for me to know what she likes and what not to give her. My hope always is that she will be very curious about this holiday mean and eat it slow enough that we can get through at least our appetizer and salad before she comes begging. It never happens. Sadie’s done with her bowl of food before I often sit down so dealing with her expert begging tactics is nothing new on a holiday. Be strong! Your dog can present the most pathetic look of deprivation which induces guilt and produces a handout . Have a doglightful and safe Thanksgiving dinner!