by Soojin Um
Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is here at last! For many Americans, this is their favorite holiday of the year. What’s not to love? There’s family, friends, and cheer, and of course the star of the show: Thanksgiving dinner. It could very well be our dogs’ favorite holiday of the year as well. All that delicious food and more delicious food, and then the delicious leftovers for the next three days. As we’ve said, what’s not to love?

Well… (you had to know this was coming) there could be a few things that you and your dog wouldn’t love. If the wrong foods are eaten, or eaten too much, your poor pooch could feel some unwelcome side effects. It wouldn’t exactly be lovely for the rest of the household either. Here are some tips on what to give and what not to give your dog on Turkey Day. Hopefully, these tips will help your dog enjoy Thanksgiving, and the leftovers for the rest of the weekend.

Foods you can give
Turkey breast
Turkey breast is a good treat for dogs because it’s high in protein, low in fat, and dogs just love the taste. Properly cooked, it’s a healthy snack for dogs. However, even though it’s fairly healthy, it is still a human food, so you should go easy on the portions. Perhaps you could dice it up and mix it with wet food or dry kibble for a more filling meal.

Green beans
Green beans can be a healthy snack for dogs, just watch out for spices and flavorings. Plain green beans are best because they contain healthy nutrients without additives like salt, sugar, and oils. Remember that these are snacks as well, and a whole bowl of green beans might not be the best idea for your pooch. Moderation is key.

Even though they contain carbohydrates, potatoes are surprisingly digestible for most dogs. Obviously if your dog shows signs of allergies or intolerance, you don’t want to feed them potatoes, even a little bit. However, for most dogs, potatoes in moderation is perfectly acceptable. Just make not to overdo it. The starch content could spike blood sugars if consumed in large amounts.

Foods you shouldn’t give
Turkey skin
While turkey breast meat is fine for dogs, you should not give them turkey (or any poultry) skin. The reason is that they’re full of fat, which is not exactly healthy, and because oftentimes they’re usually coated with oils and spices. When we cook turkeys, we impart flavors through salt, fat (oil or butter), and a variety of seasonings. These ingredients can cause harm to dogs and are best avoided entirely.

Pumpkin pie
Pumpkins can be a source of fiber, vitamins, and other healthy nutrients for dogs. Pumpkin pie, on the other hand, is not. Pumpkin pie is made with a lot of sugar, which dogs should not consume, and can contains spices that are harmful if ingested. Those spices include nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. These are toxic for dogs and should never be allowed for consumption.

Onions and garlic
Even though turkey and green beans and potatoes can be safe for dogs, they’re not safe if they’ve been seasoned or cooked with onions and garlic (and all in the Allium family, e.g. leeks and chives). In larger amounts, these ingredients can destroy red blood cells and cause anemia. So much so that in certain quantities, it can be fatal. Avoid giving your dogs any foods that have been cooked with these ingredients. A very small amount might be harmless, but it’s always best to err on the side of safety.
Have a safe Thanksgiving
You want your dogs to be happy. During our favorite holiday, where we share wonderful food with friends and family, it’s difficult to not include our precious pups. However, we must use some caution. It’s not that our dogs can’t eat anything from our Thanksgiving meal, we just need to be careful so as not to harm them while we give them treats. All things in moderation is a good rule to follow, as well as being mindful of what dogs can and cannot eat. If we are cognizant of what we’re feeding our beloved creatures, they can enjoy the wonderful foods of Thanksgiving without having to pay the price. It’s what we can do for our animals, to keep them safe and happy.

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