Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings and all types of foods. It’s difficult to turn down that adorable begging face under the table, but it’s best to just say no for your pets’ safety. Some types of foods can be harmful or even toxic for pets.

Turkey: It’s ok to give your pet a small piece of turkey as long as it’s well-cooked and boneless. Undercooked turkey may contain Salmonella bacteria. Bones can not only put your pets at risk for choking, but can also cause digestive issues. Splinters from bones can cause damage to the stomach and intestines.

Pork: Stay away from ham. Pork products can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.

Bread Dough: Raw yeast bread dough can cause serious health problems for cats and dogs. When eaten, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in an upset stomach or even a life-threatening emergency.

Dressing/Stuffing: Dressing and stuffing usually contain scallions, garlic, and onions, which are toxic to pets.

Mashed Potatoes: Some mashed potato recipes also contain scallions, garlic, and/or onions. They also contain milk and butter, which can cause diarrhea, especially in pets that are lactose intolerant.

Sage: Cats are very sensitive to Sage. It can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression.

Cake and other sweets: Raw eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria.

Grapes and Raisins: Grapes can potentially be deadly for pets.

Chocolate desserts: Chocolate can be toxic to pets.

Food Wrappings: Properly dispose of plastic wrap, aluminum foil and other wrappings. Pets will lick and sometimes ingest wrappings, which can lead to intestinal obstructions.

Use caution with any human foods when it comes to your pets.

Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pets’ health and safety.


Dr. Chelsea Foglia, DVM at Best Friends Animal Hospital, shares some helpful information about keeping your pets safe and healthy during the Thanksgiving holiday:

It’s important to remember that family members who are visiting for the holidays may find your pets’ faces irresistible and want to offer them treats. There are several holiday treats that would be okay for pets to have. These include sliced apples (no apple core), raw carrots, raw green beans, and even celery sticks.

Do remember though, that new foods can disrupt your pet’s gastrointestinal tract and cause stomach upset. If your pet has diarrhea or vomiting, please contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian immediately. Some cases of vomiting or diarrhea can lead to pancreatitis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or other disorders and need to be treated aggressively in the hospital. Pet’s stomach upsets can sometimes be treated at home if mild with small doses of Pepto Bismol. If your pet is having an issue, call your veterinarian for a dosage based off your pets weight. Also, withholding food and offering ice cubes instead of water can prevent further problems while you are waiting for care from your veterinarian.



Photo by US Department of State

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