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10 thanksgiving foods to keep off your dog's plate

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you aren’t the only one licking your chops! The delicious aromas from your oven make your dog (and you) drool, but be careful: a Thanksgiving feast for your pets could leave them with pancreatitis and food poisoning (AKA not the holiday either of your wanted).

There’s people food you can feed your pupper, and there’s people food that you definitely shouldn’t. Avoid a trip to the emergency pet clinic this Thanksgiving by keeping these 10 Turkey Day meal favorites out of your pet’s mouth.

1. Turkey skin or cooked bones

It’s tempting to cave in to those puppy-dog eyes (believe us, we’ve seen them!) and give your dog a bone, but cooked turkey bones should really be avoided. Cooked poultry bones can splinter off in the esophagus or intestines, requiring surgery to remove. And, the skin of the turkey is too fatty for your pet’s digestive system.

The turkey meat itself, however (raw or cooked), is just fine!

2. Corn on the cob

While a few kernels of corn are generally not harmful to dogs (except if they’re allergic), the cob can be dangerous (and ultimately expensive) meal. Whole cobs of corn are very difficult to pass through your dog’s digestive system, causing a bowel obstruction that could result in a Thanksgiving trip to the vet. Hey, maybe they offer Black Friday deals on surgery?

3. Alliums

Onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions, all fall under the category of “allium”. When a dog ingests any of these in large quantities, it can lead to toxic anemia. Since most stuffing recipes includes garlic and/or onion, it’s best to keep it off your pet’s holiday dinner plate. 

4. Sweet Potatoes

Are your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes covered with marshmallow? Spices? Candied nuts? If so, these sweet additions can lead to a very upset stomach for pooch (and occasionally some stinky, stinky gas as a result).

If your sweet potatoes are unseasoned and ungarnished, they’re a perfectly safe side dish for your pet’s dinner!

5. Gravy

Since homemade gravy is usually made with the fatty drippings left over from the turkey, gravy can have too high of fat content to be consumed by your dog. Beyond gastrointestinal distress, high-fat foods can lead to life-threatening inflammation. Not only that, but gravy is often thickened with corn starch or flour. Best to avoid!

6. Mashed Potatoes

Were they made with copious amounts of garlic? Topped with a couple dollops of butter? It’s usually safer to rule our mashed potatoes entirely, as garlic is an allium (ok for dogs in small amounts only) and butter is a high-fat food.

BUT if you want to save your doggo some of the mashed ‘taters before all the extras are added, he’ll love you even more for it.

7. Pumpkin Pie

Straight pumpkin (from a can) is perfectly safe for dogs — in fact, pumpkin aids in digestion and helps to firm up stool. Pumpkin pie, however, is too sweet and can contain harmful additives and may not be safe for pets to enjoy. 

8. Ham

Not serving turkey this year? Unfortunately, ham can be off the table fo pets too. Most Thanksgiving hams are topped with sugar and spices, deeming them a less-than-stellar protein option for your loyal floofer.

9. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs. When eaten, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, kidney failure. If you see your dog eating grapes or raisins. contact your vet immediately.

10. Alcohol

Pets can suffer from alcohol poisoning just as humans can, except it takes a lot less alcohol to lead to intoxication in a dog. Even in small doses, alcohol can lead to seizures, respiratory failure, and death. Avoid alcohol and any treats that include it (like rum cake). 

… and one that certainly won’t have any leftovers, try out our Chicken & Turkey recipe! Featuring turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin seeds, this food is a dog-friendly Turkey Day feast that requires no extra prep from you.

From our dogs to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Lindsey Stluka: Content Writer, Marketing Overlord of The Simple Food Project

About the Author

Lindsey is the marketing coordinator for The Simple Food Project. You can also find her writing some blog content and connecting with both retailers and consumers. She loves her white Staffordshire terrier mix, Willie!



1823 Executive Drive
Oconomowoc, WI 53066

The Simple Food Project
1823 Executive Drive
Oconomowoc, WI 53066