Thanksgiving Food for Dogs to Eat and What to Avoid in 2023

Thanksgiving isn’t just for us humans! Ever caught your furry friend eyeing that delicious turkey on the table? While we indulge in traditional Thanksgiving delights, wouldn’t it be wonderful if our pets could join in the Thanksgiving feast, too? Imagine your dog’s tail wagging with joy as they get a taste of the holiday season. With the right guidance, they can! Dive in to discover which Thanksgiving foods for dogs are safe and which ones to avoid giving your pup. Let’s ensure your four-legged family member has a festive and delightful holiday feast!

Safe and Healthy Thanksgiving Food for Dogs

If you want to include your dog in your holiday, consider making a plate with these foods that are safe for dogs. 

Plain, Boneless Turkey Meat

Turkey is not only a favorite among many humans during Thanksgiving, but our canine companions also find it quite delectable. When feeding your dog turkey, opt for the plain, boneless parts. The skin should be removed, as its fatty content might prove challenging for a dog’s digestive system. The key here is simplicity: no spices or seasonings, just the pure, lean meat.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes stand out as a great source of nutrition, boasting a rich profile of vitamins and minerals that benefit dogs. When serving sweet potatoes to your pet, keep them plain. Refrain from enhancing them with ingredients like butter, sugar, or spices. Their natural sweetness makes them a delightful treat for most dogs.


This vibrant orange vegetable is much more than just a decorative piece. Pumpkin is an excellent source of dietary fiber for dogs, aiding their digestive health. If you’re contemplating introducing pumpkin pie to your dog’s Thanksgiving menu, ensure it’s prepared from a dog-friendly recipe. This means skipping on ingredients like condensed milk, excessive spices, whipped cream, and other additives that could disrupt their stomach. Canned pumpkin works just as well as freshly prepared pumpkin!

Green Beans

When served plain, green beans can be a fantastic addition to your dog’s meal. These little greens are not just low in calories but are also brimming with fiber. This dual benefit can aid in managing your dog’s weight while also promoting a healthy digestive system.


Carrots are more than just a colorful addition to dishes. When given to dogs, these crunchy treats are not only enjoyed but also offer a plethora of vitamins and minerals. As an added perk, when dogs munch on carrots, it can assist in cleaning their teeth, promoting dental health.


Often overlooked, cranberries are packed with health benefits, especially when it comes to supporting the urinary system in dogs. When introducing cranberries, ensure they’re fresh and free from any added sugars or preservatives.

Remember, moderation is the key to indulging your furry friend during the festivities. Always observe your dog after introducing new food to avoid adverse reactions.

boston terrier looking at counter full of thanksgiving food
Image by ChrisFloresFoto

Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid

Avoid these foods to prevent serious issues with your pup, such as pancreatitis, diarrhea, blockages, or other more serious conditions that could harm your beloved companion.

Turkey Skin, Bones, and Fat Trimmings

While the lean meat of turkey is safe, the skin, bones, and fat trimmings are problematic for dogs. The skin’s high-fat content can disrupt their digestion. Meanwhile, like all cooked bones, turkey bones pose a risk of splintering, potentially leading to choking or severe gastrointestinal issues that can be fatal. Fat trimmings are another red flag due to their potential to cause digestive disturbances.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes in their purest form—simply potatoes mashed—are benign for dogs. However, the seasonings and additives that elevate their flavor for us can upset a dog’s stomach. If you remember to reserve some plain mashed potatoes before adding the good stuff, then they are safe to give your dog.

Onions and Garlic

A word of caution here: onions and garlic harm dogs. They contain compounds that can lead to significant organ damage when ingested in considerable amounts. As a rule of thumb, refrain from offering foods that might be seasoned with these ingredients.


A staple for Thanksgiving dinner, stuffing usually has a medley of ingredients, including onions, garlic, and spices. While enhancing its taste for us, these additives can harm our canine companions.

Corn Cob

Corn kernels can be a delightful snack for dogs. However, the cob is a different story. Cobs don’t break down in their digestive tract and are infamous for causing obstructions. If corn is on your dog’s menu, ensure it’s off the cob.


A treat most of us relish, chocolate is off-limits for dogs. Chocolate contains Theobromine, a compound hazardous to dogs. Small amounts can induce symptoms like vomiting and tremors, while larger quantities can be life-threatening. Don’t let your beloved dog eat chocolate!


Xylitol is An artificial sweetener in many products, which is extremely dangerous for dogs. Even minimal amounts can have fatal consequences. Always double-check ingredient labels before offering any treat to your pet.


Our morning pick-me-up contains caffeine, a substance that’s toxic to dogs. Signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs encompass panting, an accelerated heart rate, and excessive agitation.


Under no circumstances should alcohol be given to dogs. It can induce symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to tremors. In grave scenarios, it might even be fatal.

Grapes and Raisins

Although tiny, grapes and their dried counterparts, raisins, pack a punch of danger for dogs. Their consumption can lead to kidney failure. Even minor amounts can have severe implications, so it’s best to exclude them entirely.

When celebrating with food, always keep your dog’s safety in mind. While sharing is a gesture of love, ensuring what you share is safe is the ultimate act of care.

Cavalier king charles spaniel dog sitting at dinner table with empty plate
Image by fotyma

Share With Your Dog, But Mind the Portions!

As the festive spirit of Thanksgiving envelops us, it’s natural to want to include our furry friends in the feasting. However, moderation is paramount. Overindulging can cause immediate digestive discomfort and contribute to long-term health concerns such as obesity and pancreatitis in dogs. 

Furthermore, while the occasional treat might seem harmless, regularly offering table scraps can inadvertently cultivate undesired behaviors. Continuous handouts can train your dog to expect, or even demand, food whenever you’re eating, leading to persistent begging. So, as you share, be mindful of the quantity and consistency. After all, showing restraint is another way of showing love.

Cheers to a Joyous & Safe Thanksgiving Meal

Enjoy every moment of this special holiday alongside your loyal companion. Remember, safety first! Looking for more ways to include your best friend in holiday traditions? Consider an advent calendar for dogs!

And just in case, if you ever suspect that your dog has consumed something harmful, don’t hesitate to reach out for veterinary help. Immediately contact the Pet Poison Helpline and consult your trusted veterinarian. Let’s ensure our furry friends have as much fun as we do without the worries! 🐾

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