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A Thanksgiving Feast for Your Dog


Submitted by Nilla’s Tub DIY Dog Wash & Health Food Store

Thanksgiving is a holiday most famous for the abundance of food and the traditional dishes made especially for the annual feast. So, it is no wonder that you will be greeted with sad and wanting eyes from your dog when you sit for your meal. Can your dog enjoy some Thanksgiving goodies too?  Absolutely! Contrary to popular belief, many human foods are beneficial and healthy for dogs and should be given to them all year round, but it’s important to be aware of what not to feed your dogs on Thanksgiving — or any day.

Let’s start with the good

Turkey: Your dog can enjoy turkey, but you need to be careful. Turkey is often seasoned with things like garlic, onion, sage or other spices which can be toxic to dogs, so be sure to only feed him unseasoned turkey. Turkey skin contains a lot of fat, so you better leave that for your human guests. Stick with white meat as the dark meat is much richer and has a higher fat content. Never feed turkey bones as they can easily break in your dog’s mouth and throat or puncture his stomach.

Pumpkin: Pure pumpkin is super healthy for dogs. It aids in digestion and the fiber and vitamins it contains are a wonderful addition to a dog’s diet. So plain, unseasoned, canned pumpkin or fresh raw pumpkin is terrific. Pumpkin pie is a different story as it usually contains nutmeg and cinnamon, which can cause problems.

Sweet potatoes: Like pumpkin, plain sweet potatoes are terrific and are often included in commercial dog food. But humans usually add all sorts of sweeteners to a sweet potato dish, so pass on the marshmallow and brown sugar concoctions.

Cranberries: Fresh, raw cranberries are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cranberry sauce — homemade or from a can — is high in sugar and should be avoided. Dried cranberries typically contain sugar or other chemicals, so don’t give those to Fido either.

What about the bad?

Besides the less healthy versions of the foods mentioned above, some Thanksgiving dishes can be harmful to your pet no matter how they are prepared.

Gravy and stuffing: The ingredients in gravy and stuffing can include a cornucopia of toxic foods for dogs. Common ingredients including mushrooms, onions, sage, pepper, chives, garlic, scallions, and leeks can all have a negative effect on your dog’s health. It’s best to keep your dog away from stuffing and gravies all together.

Green bean casserole: Plain, fresh, or frozen green beans are a very healthy vegetable for your dog and you should definitely include it in his Thanksgiving feast. The same holds true for broccoli and carrots. However, the traditional green bean casserole includes seasonings, mushrooms, and onions which are not good.

Mashed potatoes:  Plain potatoes — either cooked or uncooked — are okay for dogs. Mashed potatoes include high amounts of butter and salt.
Fruit salads: Many fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and apples (without seeds) are beneficial, but do not ever give your dog grapes or raisins. They can cause very serious problems. Some nuts are okay, but some aren’t, so it’s best to just avoid nuts.

Bread or cookie dough:  Raw dough isn’t good for humans, but for dogs, it can cause serious abdominal bloating which may be painful and lead to vomiting.

Chocolate: Hopefully every pet owner knows that chocolate is very bad for dogs — especially dark chocolate. Chocolate ingestion is one of the leading causes of food poisoning for dogs and can cause diarrhea, seizures, and, in extreme cases, can be fatal.

Alcohol: While pet owners surely know that alcohol is never okay for your pet, if you have a houseful of guests on Thanksgiving, someone may set their alcoholic drink down where your dog can reach it.

Making sure that your dog doesn’t eat anything harmful might not be so easy on Thanksgiving with so many people around. Be sure to emphasize to guests — especially children — the importance of not giving anything to your dog and to put their plates and glasses out of reach. Many pet owners keep their dog in a crate or in a separate room to avoid this possibility. Remember that just because a food is okay to feed your dog, that doesn’t mean that he should be eating it in large quantities. Sharing Thanksgiving dinner with dogs should be done sparingly.

Nothing would ruin a Thanksgiving gathering faster than a trip to the emergency veterinary clinic or cleaning up diarrhea or vomit from the carpet!

Information for this article taken from, a website that helps new and veteran dog owners make informed decisions about their pets’ health, care, and products based on advice from the experts.

For more information about keeping your pet in optimal health, visit Nilla’s Tub DIY Dog Wash & Health Food Store for Dogs & Cats, located at 211 Landmark Dr. in Normal. They have everything you need to bathe and groom your furry friend in a fun, relaxing environment. They also offer a large selection of dietary supplements, treats, and the highest quality dog and cat food, including frozen and freeze-dried commercial raw. No appointment necessary, call 309-451-9274 or visit them online at