Dangerous Holiday Foods

November 6, 2020

2020 has been a very strange year so far and now suddenly here we are and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. While it is a great time to watch the annual dog show on TV, hang out with family, and eat your body weight in turkey, you also need to be conscious of what your dog eats. While it is tempting to want to include your four-legged family member in all the snacking and feasting, some foods are unfit and downright dangerous for your dog to consume.

Let’s start with the big one — the turkey. While it is okay to feed your dog small, moderated pieces of cooked white meat, you absolutely should not feed him the turkey skin. Any seasoning that is on the skin can be deadly to your dog. While we’re on the subject of turkey, you should never feed your dog cooked bones, either.

As tasty as stuffing and gravy might be, they should also be kept away from your dog’s food bowl. The ingredients and seasonings used in stuffing and gravy (particularly sage, a popular Thanksgiving seasoning) can be highly toxic.

This may come as a surprise, but you should also not feed your dog cranberry sauce. While cranberries are fine for dogs (they have numerous health benefits and are even used in some dog foods), cranberry sauce is a different story. Canned cranberry sauce (and even homemade varieties) are high in sugar. Homemade sauces can also contain nuts and raisins. The bottom line is cranberries = good, cranberry sauce = bad.

As with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes might be surprising to find in this article as well. On their own, potatoes are okay in moderation. Mashed potatoes, though, should be avoided. The milk and butter in mashed potatoes can give your dog an upset stomach and some ingredients or flavorings such as garlic or onion (even in powder form) are highly toxic to animals.

Another popular Thanksgiving dish that is bad for your dog is green bean casserole. Again, green beans on their own are fine. It is all the additional flavorings, ingredients, and seasonings that turn them harmful. A lot of green bean casseroles contain mushroom soup and fried onion topping. These are both a no no for dogs.

Fruit salads should be avoided, too. Especially if they contain grapes, raisins, or nuts. Some nuts are okay for dogs, but some particular nuts that are popular this time of year, which are deadly to your dog, are macadamia nuts and walnuts.

No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without a delicious pumpkin or sweet potato pie. While you can indulge in as much of these desserts as you like, your dog cannot. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are fine on their own for dogs to consume (many vets even recommend raw pumpkin to settle a nervous digestive system). The danger, again, lies in the ingredients and flavorings. A lot of fall pies are made with cinnamon and nutmeg. These are both very deadly to dogs.

To summarize, your dog needs to avoid the following flavorings/seasonings/ingredients especially: sugar, salt, pepper, leeks, chives, onion, garlic, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, walnuts, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes, mushrooms, milk, eggs, and butter.

It’s not all bad news, though. If you do want to include your dog in your Thanksgiving festivities, you do have options. If you want to give your dog any food, stick to raw carrots, broccoli, green beans, or a small bit of well-cooked white meat. Be aware of the ingredients of foods that you feed to your pets and if in doubt, just say no. Be sure to also tell any children or guests not to feed any food to your dog. Any food they eat should be monitored by you so you can be sure they are safe and not at risk.

Resources: care2.com, Humanesociety.org, ASPCA.org