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Tips for a Dog Safe Thanksgiving

What’s safe and what's not safe for your dog at Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time for our family and friends to gather and give thanks for all the good things in our lives including our dogs. It’s also a time for great food and sharing family favorites that we sometimes are tempted to share with our dogs. Here are a few tips for keeping your dog safe at Thanksgiving.


Not all human food is good for dogs, so let’s take a look at some Thanksgiving foods to see what is safe and what is not to safe share with our dogs.

Turkey is generally the main dish at many Thanksgiving meals. Sharing a small piece of turkey is ok for your dog as long as it is thoroughly cooked, boneless and has no spices or gravy. Never give your dog turkey on a bone or the leftover carcass as bones can be extremely dangerous to their digestive system.

Some vegetables are fine for your dog including sweet potatoes and green beans, but be sure they are not dressed up with lots of sugar, salt, garlic, onions, leeks or chives. These are all toxic to dogs.

If you bake fresh bread, never let your dog have uncooked dough. It can cause stomach aches and bloating that could develop into a medical emergency.

Avoid giving your dog any of your desserts. Sweets and human treats can cause an upset stomach in your dog and some ingredients may be deadly. Remember chocolate is toxic to dogs and the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous for your dog. Pies and cakes often contain currants and raisins which also should not be ingested by your dog.

Holiday celebrations tend to generate a lot of food trash, so be sure you keep your trash receptacle covered and inaccessible to your dog. You never know what can be lurking in the trash can that could be deadly or make your dog sick.

If at any time you think your dog may have ingested anything poisonous or toxic, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435.

Around Your Home

During the Thanksgiving holiday, we often have out-of-town guests. Remember that sometimes dogs can get stressed or anxious when new people are in their home, so take precautions to keep them safe and comfortable.

If your dog gets stressed with visitors, giving your dog a new toy may be a good distraction. A licki mat with peanut butter or yogurt can keep your dog entertained and take their mind off the extra visitors.

With your extra company, be extra careful around entrances and exits into your home. While you welcome your guests through an open door, your doggie may make a run for it and become lost. Be sure your dog wears a collar with an up-to-date ID tag at all times and is microchipped. A GPS collar is also a great idea and can help locate your dog if they get lost.

Be careful to keep your dog away from your guests bags. They may contain food, chocolate, gum with xylitol, or medications.

If your traveling with your dog this Thanksgiving, check out our blog post, “Have Doggie, Will Travel,” for handy tips for traveling in the car with your dog.

With a few extra precautions and a careful eye on your dog, you, your dog and your whole family can have a great, happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

For more information and tips, check out these articles:

Safe & Healthy Foods To Share With Your Dog This Thanksgiving, Plus Foods To Avoid

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

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