How to Have a Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving! 🦃

We all want our pets to enjoy Thanksgiving as much as we do — they are a part of our family, after all! While we love and embrace treating your pets for the holiday, we highly urge you not to go overboard in feeding your pet table food. Common Thanksgiving dishes are full of ingredients that are toxic to dogs and cats or cause digestive upset. Here are a couple of infographics to show you what food is best for your animals to be given as a small-portioned quick treat and what is unsafe, and you should avoid giving your pets!

We highly encourage you to ask your vet if any of these foods are safe to give your pet before giving since all animals are individuals, and some foods may not be safe for your unique dog or cat. 

Quick notes to keep in mind:

  • Turkey: Skinless, white turkey meat is a high-protein treat, but NOT the bones! If your turkey is dressed with garlic, onions, or shallots, avoiding feeding turkey is highly recommended.
  • Green Beans: Raw, green beans are full of iron. They are great, healthy treats for your pups!
  • Pumpkin Puree: Sugar-free canned pumpkin is great for your pup’s gut!
  • Apple Slices: Apple slices without the seeds are a great treat!
  • Mashed Potatoes: The added butter and cream can cause diarrhea for dogs.
  • Stuffing: Onions, garlic, salt, and other spices can be harmful to dogs.
  • Raw Dough: The yeast in unbaked dough causes problems when ingested.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Steamed or boiled sweet potatoes are great for canine digestive health. Just make sure not to share any version of sweet potatoes mixed with butter and brown sugar.

The following foods are safe to share with most cats on Thanksgiving and some you should avoid at all costs.

Quick notes to keep in mind:

  • Turkey: Try to stick to white meat. If your turkey is heavily dressed with garlic, onions, or shallots, avoiding the turkey is highly recommended. Herbs like garlic can be deadly to ats in large mounts.
  • Cranberry Sauce: As long as there isn’t an excessive amount of sugar or artificial sweetener used to prepare the cranberry sauce, a little taste of it mixed with their regular food is a healthy Thanksgiving treat (but avoid the canned Cranberry Sauce – this is why it is listed under the “can’t have” section).
  • Green Beans: Plain green beans are excellent treats; make sure there isn’t a lot of butter or onions/shallots/garlic used to prepare them. It would be safest to serve them plain.
  • Alliums: Alliums like onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, and chives can be deadly for cats. They damage the membrane of your cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Any dish that may involve these should be avoided entirely. 

If you’re not sure whether a food is safe for your cat or dog to eat, it is best to avoid feeding it to them altogether. If you want to treat your pets on Thanksgiving, perhaps talk to your vet to see if they can recommend a way to spruce up your pet’s traditional food routine. And last but not least, make sure to warn your guests not to feed your pets table food or scraps without you knowing (or really in general). This can add up quickly for your pet, so it’s best to avoid having them in the room altogether. Oh, and watch that trash can at the end of the meal. A lot of surfing can go down!


We hope you and your pets have a wonderful, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!



American Kennel Club