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The holidays are quickly approaching, but what can dogs eat on Thanksgiving? After two years of socially distant celebrations, your family might be together again for the big meal. While you know what table scraps sit well with your pets, your great aunt Mildred might not.

But before we dig into what dogs can eat on Thanksgiving, we encourage you to create a pet emergency plan and review it often. Save your veterinarian's after-hours phone number in your phone or bookmark the Pet Poison Helpline's website, so you don't waste time in case of an emergency. While your veterinarian's office may be closed for the holidays, the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) is a 24/7 animal poison control center that you can call for immediate assistance. 

Deciding who to call and how to respond to an emergency before it happens is helpful to all parties involved, especially your dog. 

Now that you've got your pet safety plan in place, let's do a quick rundown of what your four-legged friends can eat at Thanksgiving dinner and what to keep out of their reach. 

Dangerous Thanksgiving Dinners for Dogs

Your dog can enjoy many treats on the most thankful day of the year, but let's start with foods your dog should avoid at all costs.

Due to spices, butter, and highly concentrated ingredients, the following foods should stay out of your dog's reach:

  • Turkey skin
  • Turkey bones
  • Stuffing
  • Creamed peas

However, some foods are dangerous to dogs all on their own, like:

  • Raisins and grapes
  • Onions and Scallions
  • Garlic
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Chocolate

And, finally, some foods contain ingredients that your dog's digestive tract can't break down. For instance, most pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol. As we mentioned at Halloween, xylitol is an artificial sugar substitute that can cause significant health issues like pancreatitis, liver damage, and seizures in canines.  

Now, accidents do happen. You might have a niece who makes the raisins she hates disappear by slipping them to your dog. Or your puppy might scarf down the leftover stuffing while everyone is distracted by pie. If this happens, try not to panic. Instead, remove your dog from the situation, monitor them closely, and follow your pet emergency plan. 

Human Foods Your Dog Can Eat

Not all holiday foods are dangerous for animals, so what can dogs eat on Thanksgiving? Some staples on your table are a great source of vitamins, fiber, and protein for people and pets. 

If you want to give your dog a Thanksgiving treat, you can try these in moderation:

  • Apples (without the core)
  • Thanksgiving turkey (no bones or skin)
  • Green beans 
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green peas 
  • Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Remember to monitor your pet while they consume their safe Thanksgiving dinner dog treats. Even, if it’s dog-friendly, too much of a good thing can lead to an upset stomach or other digestive tract issues. 

Going Beyond What Dogs Can Eat on Thanksgiving

Helping pet parents give their dogs the best lives possible is second nature here at Ruffly Speaking. And you can now join our online community exclusively for dog owners! This kind and inviting space on the internet is led by The Dog Gurus, world-renown duo Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs, who have built multiple multi-million dollar pet care businesses and dedicated their careers to helping pets live happier, healthier lives. 

Join Ruffly Speaking's online community to get their expertise on training exercises, productive reviews, and helpful holiday tips (like tying up your trash bags and putting them in a dog-proof bin) so that you can give your dog the best life possible.


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Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, speaker, and expert on dogs. She founded one of the largest dog training companies in Virginia and for the last 30 years has been using her expertise in "reading dogs" to teach families how to train their pets as well as helping others in the pet care industry keep dogs safe.

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