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Thanksgiving Recipes with Dog-Friendly Ingredients

Pet Health and Safety  •   Maggie Dean  •   Oct 31, 2017


We all love to indulge on Thanksgiving and your dog is no exception! Don’t let those puppy dog eyes win you over this year - resist the temptation! The results will be a happier and healthier pup and no unnecessary visits to the vet.  

Remember, our dogs are reliant upon us for their health and well-being. You may choose to engorge yourself this Turkey Day but that doesn’t mean your dog has to! Let’s face it, the traditional Thanksgiving menu is not exactly healthy for humans, and it can be downright dangerous for dogs!  No “table scraps” are good for your dog (not to mention they encourage begging) but here are some healthier Thanksgiving food options that you can “drop” as you prep.



Healthy Canine Thanksgiving Menu:

  • Green Bean Casserole: If making green bean casserole this year, feel free to hand off a raw green bean or two. They contain very few calories, are full of iron and dogs often like the crunch!
  • Pumpkin Pie: Believe it or not, sugar-free, canned pumpkin is good for your dog’s gut—in small quantities of course. While making your pumpkin pies, place a dollop in your dog’s food bowl or on top of his food for an extra treat.
  • Turkey: Skinless, white turkey meat is a yummy, high-protein treat in moderation. You can give your pup a few bites. We recommend putting it in their bowl to prevent begging or counter-surfing.
  • Sweet Potato Casserole: Steamed or boiled sweet potatoes are great for digestive health. Prior to mixing those spuds with butter and brown sugar, feel free to share a bite!
  • Butternut Squash Soup: Squash is good, but not raw. Be sure to share some squash after cooking but before adding spices and cream!
  • Apple Crisp: Put some apples slices aside when making your apple pie or apple crisp. Apple slices without seeds are a safe and healthy treat.


Foods NOT to share this Thanksgiving:

  • Mashed potatoes: Often laden with butter and cream, mashed potatoes can cause diarrhea for dogs.
  • Stuffing: Stuffing typically contains onions, garlic, salt and other spices can be harmful to dogs.
  • Bread Dough: Unbaked bread dough contains yeast. Yeast can be very dangerous to dogs when ingested due to the fact that it emits a gas as it rises. If ingested and the yeast expands in your dog’s stomach, causing a multitude of problems, including a GDV, or “bloat”. Bloat is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Less severe complications can be upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. None of which are fun with a houseful of guests.
  • Turkey Bones: While dogs love bones, chicken and turkey bones are particularly dangerous for dogs. Chicken and turkey bones are not digestible in the stomach. They can also shatter and cause punctures throughout the intestinal tract or get lodged in their esophagus causing choking. All could require surgery for removal.
  • Corn on the Cob:  Corn in and of itself is not dangerous for dogs, however, the cob becomes a huge choking hazard. It also is not easily digestible in the stomach and can cause long-term GI issues.
  • Pecans: Pecans, like in pecan pie or a pre-dinner appetizer, can cause stomach upset in dogs if large quantities are ingested.  
  • Sweets: Everyone knows that chocolate can be toxic to dogs, but other sweets also pose a risk. Large quantities of sugar, cream and butter can cause stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea. Some desserts may also contain the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.


Thanksgiving Safety Tips:

  • If having guests, remember to advise them against feeding your dog table scraps—even in small amounts. A small amount from a lot of people can result in a large amount by the end of the day!
  • Ensure all of your trash is disposed of somewhere secure and out of your dog’s reach. It’s easy to leave the trash can open or place a full trash back on the ground for a minute but dogs are fast and sneaky and can quickly grab things out of the trash. Napkins, paper plates and plastic utensils can also pose a risk.
  • The rise in popularity of frying turkeys on Thanksgiving has proven to be a danger to our canine friends. Turkey fryers are usually on the ground, making it more-easily accessible to dogs. The fryer itself is hot and contains hot grease. The grease and grease remnants are also appealing to dogs and they will often want to eat or lick whatever it is on. Some dogs have been known to eat the gravel on which grease was dumped!  
  • Keep a close eye on your dog at all times during all holidays. With lots of people and doors opening and closing, it’s very easy for your pup to sneak through.
  • Thanksgiving can be a busy day. Make sure your dog gets fed at his normal times and has a full water bowl throughout the day.


AKC Pet Insurance is thankful for responsible pet owners like you. We hope you have a healthy, Happy Thanksgiving!

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