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It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just days away. The traditional 'Turkey Day' feast usually includes the bird, of course, plus other standards such as stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and a table full of desserts.

My family has three dogs, and although they won't have a reserved seat at the Thanksgiving table, each of them will be making the circuit around all of us hoping for the occasional handout. I know...I know, most veterinarians suggest that we refrain from doling out human food to our pets, but one tilt of the head and a sad whimper is so hard to resist.

If you are going to give in to the will of your dogs, at the very least, you should acquaint yourself with foods that are good and those that are dangerous for your canines.

Foods You Shouldn't Give Your Dogs (According to the American Kennel Club)

Turkey Bones, or Just Bones in General

Even though dogs and bones go together like Nutella and a spoon, vets are united in their caution about feeding bones to dogs. They can splinter and cause major internal damage, or they can get packed together inside the digestive tract leading to blockage. This happened to one of my dogs years ago, and the 'end result' (pun intended) of unblocking that clump of bones was not fun, nor inexpensive.


How toxic are these to dogs? Just one grape or raisin can kill a dog. Although grapes and raisins aren't a Thanksgiving standard, sometimes raisins are used in carrot cake or other cake recipes.


These may not be toxic to humans, but they are to dogs.  They contain thiosulfate which can do damage to the red blood cells of canines. In many instances, onions and garlic are used in many Thanksgiving dishes.  The good news is that in most cases it would take a rather large amount of consumed onions or garlic to make your dog sick.

Bread - OK, Dough - No

Do not feed your dog yeast dough. It can continue to rise once inside your dog's stomach, which can cause bloating and discomfort.  However, the real danger is the alcohol toxicosis that is released in your dog's stomach as a result of a chemical interaction. That could eventually lead to a coma or death.

Chocolate (and most other sweets)

Just a little chocolate can be deadly to a dog.  Never feed this to a dog. If your dog somehow consumes some chocolate, closely monitor him/her for any changes over the next 6-12 hours.  The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is for your dog.

Other Foods to Avoid

Some food items are not necessarily toxic for dogs but should be avoided due to their high fat and/or salt content. Over-consumption of these types of foods is discouraged for humans as well as our four-legged friends. Some of these foods include ham, casseroles, mashed potatoes, creamed peas, and spicy foods.

What about Good Food for Dogs for Thanksgiving?

Turkey is a great treat for dogs.  Avoid feeding your dog the skin, gravy, or bones. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, apples, and pumpkin are also good nutritional choices for dogs.

Of course, don't overfeed your dog, and be aware of what ingredients and spices may be a part of any of the Thanksgiving dishes.

If you ever have a worry that your pet has ingested something toxic, the animal pet poison hotline is available at all times, or you can contact your local veterinarian.

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