How To Share Thanksgiving Dinner with Our Pets
While we are all sitting around our Thanksgiving tables with family and friends, loaded with delicious foods, it can be hard to resist giving in to puppy dog eyes. After all, we love our dogs and cats like family, and want them to enjoy Thanksgiving, too!
There is nothing wrong with treating our pets to some people food on Thanksgiving-or any day for that matter! (Read about the pros and cons of feeding table scraps here.) We just need to make sure we are choosing the right foods to share with our fur babies this holiday and practicing moderation.
In the Kitchen
Start Thanksgiving a little early and treat your pets to some delicious food while you are in the kitchen preparing your holiday meal:
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
These are great foods to share with your pet-especially before you turn them into pie or casserole and add lots of sugar and salt. Give the peel from your sweet potatoes to your dogs, mine love it! Toss them a chunk of pumpkin while you are chopping and pureeing for pie. The fiber in pumpkin can also help prevent diarrhea in dogs and cats alike if they do over-indulge in strange foods this year.
While you are preparing food for your big feast, it is perfectly okay to toss carrot tops or green beans to your dog. This is a great way to involve a dog who is on a diet with the Thanksgiving festivities. Veggies are healthy, safe and low calorie for our pets-just like for humans. Avoid sharing onion with your dogs, though.
Raw Turkey Bone
Giving your dog a raw turkey bone, while supervised, is safe for most dogs! Turkey bones are flexible and soft when they are raw, thus allowing your dog to chew up the bone before swallowing. If your dog is very large or if you know him to be a gulper, not a chewer, you will want to make sure he doesn’t try to swallow the bone whole, as this can be a choking hazard. Supervision is always necessary when feeding bones to our pets!
At the Table
So, what foods are safe to give our pets while we’re enjoying our meal at the table? Here are a few ideas:
Cooked turkey is a great choice for our dogs and cats, but DO NOT give your pet cooked turkey bone! You can give him some turkey meat, but a cooked bone will splinter and can puncture your dog or cat’s esophagus or stomach. Just take into account what spices you may have rubbed on your turkey skin-you may want to give your dog or cat turkey without skin if this may upset his stomach.
Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Carrots and Cranberries
These foods are all perfectly safe to share with your pet in moderation! This is especially true if they are not cooked in a lot of salt and sugar. Again, moderation is key when you are feeding your pet on Thanksgiving, but most veggies are a safe bet!
Xylitol is used as a substitute for sugar in human foods and candies, but it can be deadly for dogs. Even a very small amount. If you are cooking with Xylitol this year, please keep it away from your pets!
Ask Before Feeding
Remember, if you are a guest at someone’s home for Thanksgiving, or for any occasion, do not feed their pet unless you ask first. Some pets are on a very strict diet for issues with weight gain, or because anything out of the ordinary could cause a serious health condition for them. I have a friend whose dog has a seizure EVERY TIME she eats something besides her very regimented diet. Please be safe rather than sorry and make sure it is okay to feed your friend or family member’s pet!
If you are hosting Thanksgiving at your house, be sure to let your guests know if your pet should not receive any extra foods up front.
If you follow these guidelines and use your common sense, your dog, cat, friends and family should all be able to celebrate and eat happily together this Thanksgiving!
- Jessie Isbell