The Dog Days of Thanksgiving

It’s the time of year when the aromas of turkey, gravy, rolls, and pies fill Americans’ kitchens. It’s the time of year to give thanks and enjoy the company of family and friends.

What does this time of year mean for the veterinary community? Time to stock up on hydrogen peroxide, surgical tools for obstruction removal, and preparation for pancreatitis.

As we sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, let’s not forgot what the dog can and cannot partake in during this holiday.

NO NO Foods

  1. Cooked Bones. Bones can cause severe indigestion in dogs and cats, potentially causing vomiting and obstructing the bowel. Bones may also splinter and cause damage to the inside of the stomach and intestines. In some cases, bones may even puncture through the stomach and cause a potentially fatal abdominal infection. If you want Fido to enjoy a bone, stop by and grab a raw bone from Fetch.
  2. Onions/Scallions/Garlic. Thanksgiving dressing is often made with onions, scallions or garlic. These ingredients, however, are extremely toxic to dogs and cats and can cause a life-threatening anemia (destruction of the red blood cells). It’s best to avoid feeding any amount of stuffing to pets.
  3. Grapes/Raisins. There are many salads served at Thanksgiving that include grapes or raisins as an ingredient, from fruit salad, to Waldorf salad, to ambrosia. However, grapes and raisins are very virulent and potentially deadly. Grapes can cause severe, irreversible and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all dishes that include grapes and raisins away from pets at all times.
  4. Chocolate Desserts. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, yet dogs love the smell and taste of it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Keep all chocolate desserts out of the reach of pets to prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
  5. Xylitol (artificial sweetener). This can be found in candies or desserts, and it can lower a dog's blood sugar and result in liver damage. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and is found in many human foods. Be sure to read labels carefully.
  6. High Fat Foods. Foods that have a high fat content — butter, gravy, turkey drippings, bacon, potatoes, dressing, stuffing — can cause gastrointestinal distress in your dog. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, and they usually don't show up immediately.

If your pets ingest any of these foods this Thanksgiving, be sure to call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) immediately. The most important part of holiday pet safety is early action, which may prevent more costly and serious complications from developing. Remember to bring your veterinarian some pumpkin pie as a thank you for saving Fido!

Just because your pup can’t enjoy all of the Thanksgiving feast doesn’t mean you have to banish him to the laundry room for safety. Here is a list of foods your pup can enjoy this holiday season.


  1. Turkey. The main course is a dog’s ultimate dream dish. Cooked turkey is safe for both cats and dogs, but it must be unseasoned.
  2. Sweet Potatoes. This seasonal superfood is packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and many other much-needed nutrients.  Feed your pup raw or dried pieces of sweet potato, not the canned mix. Never give your dog marshmallows, which contain xylitol– an artificial sweetener dangerous to pets – as well as large amounts of sugar.
  3. Green Beans. Green beans are a Thanksgiving staple for some families, but dogs prefer these snappy veggies raw. High in fiber and vitamins C and K, toss your pup a handful before you add Grandma’s secret seasoning.
  4. Pumpkin. This signature gourd is perfect for pets raw or cooked, but always use fresh, pure pumpkin. Never canned pie filling! Full of fiber, pumpkins aids in digestion.
  5. Carrots. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins and fiber. This root vegetable is also high in antioxidants, making it beneficial for pets with cancer.
  6. Apples. Making an apple pie this Thanksgiving? Slip your pup some sliced apples before you sweeten the pie filling! Apples are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fiber, and they also help keep a dog's teeth clean along with freshening the breath.

If you have any nutritional questions stop by Fetch and chat with one of our Nutritional Specialists today!