Can My Dog Eat Thanksgiving Dinner?


thanksgivingThanksgiving is a time for family and friends to join together for one monster of a meal. When you look at it on paper – food and family – you’d think that Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect setting for a dog. But is it?

While most of what’s on the table during Thanksgiving isn’t a direct threat to your dog’s health, it is important to be mindful of everything your dog does ingest (if you decide to allow him to have anything at all). Here’s a rundown of what you can do to make sure your dog has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

1. The turkey. Turkey by itself won’t hurt your dog. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a few hours of peace and quiet if the turkey works its magic like it does on the rest of your family. However, there are some parts of turkey your dog should not have. Turkey skin is a great treat for your dog, in light moderation. However, too much of it could actually cause canine pancreatitis, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. Turkey bones, are extremely dangerous. Their sharp edges could do serious damage to your dog’s insides and should be avoided completely.

2. Gravy and stuffing. All in all nothing in either gravy nor stuffing will hurt your dog, but remember, even the tiniest of humans can typically handle more food than your average-sized dog. Stuffing and gravy are absolutely power-packed with fatty goodness that does nothing necessarily beneficial to any living being (aside from appeasing their taste buds). So if you feel the need to feed your dog a treat, turkey is the optimal choice, followed by very little gravy or stuffing.

3. Wine.  Alcohol does to dogs what it does to humans. And while that may seem humorous at first, keep in mind that a dog’s metabolism does not work like ours. Alcohol has no place in a dog’s diet, and wine even pulls in double duty for danger as its made from grapes …

4. Grapes/raisins. Speaking of grapes, while you may not have grapes at the table this Thanksgiving, you may have something that includes raisins. Don’t be fooled by the name change folk – a raisin is still a grape. Grapes fall under Doggie Care 101 – they are doggie poison! Grapes can lead to serious issues like kidney failure and death. So keep anything that once was a grape (liquid, solid, or even gas if that’s possible) away from your dog.

5. Chocolate. Continuing on with the Doggie Care 101 tour, chocolate is widely known to be a no-no for dogs. Different chocolates have varying effects, and it often comes down to the level of theobromine in the food (white chocolate has the least, while pure baking chocolate is doggie kryptonite). To be safe, say no to chocolate.

How do I keep my dog from the table?

Many dog owners like to play it safe and keep their dogs away from the table, or room, when it’s time to eat. Some dogs are beggars, and others are whiners. In order to fully enjoy this meal, you may be better off keeping your dog away from the area.

You may also notice that your dog is acting a bit funny at Thanksgiving. That’s because this day is completely out of the norm. Either you’re at someone’s home, or all sorts of people are coming into yours. Regardless, this isn’t something that usually happens in the day and so your dog will respond strangely to it. It doesn’t help that the room is filled with the smells of food, either.

In order to prepare for this, it’s best if you designate a dog-safe room or area for your pet. This area could be used to help your dog calm down and acclimate to the setting/changes, and could also be where he goes to for dinnertime. It’s best to give your dog a toy or challenging treat while in this room to help him feel safe and occupied.

One final tip about Thanksgiving – let your family members know the rules of the road when it comes to feeding your dog. As most owners know, if you feed your dog once from the table, he’ll come back each and every time afterwards begging for more. The rest of your family will only have to deal with that a few times a year. You’re stuck with it every day, so be sure to let them know what’s acceptable or not. The best rule of thumb is to share your turkey dinner with your dog, in his bowl, after everyone else has eaten and the food is put away.