Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I get hungry thinking about the turkey in the oven, the stuffing, and those mashed potatoes being whipped into shape.
I know I’m not the only one who loves Thanksgiving. I can tell my dog Henry is feeling pretty grateful when he’s right under foot in the kitchen, smelling those good smells from the oven, and watching every little movement to see if a piece of turkey might drop from the counter.
I’m very grateful for my dog Henry, and with any holiday, it’s fun to let your dog share in the celebration. Here are some different ideas for celebrating the food bounty of Thanksgiving with your dog.
First Things to Consider
Be careful with portion sizes. Your dog may love the idea of eating everything on Thanksgiving (who doesn’t?), but it could be dangerous if portions and treats get out of control. Keep their portions consistent with what you normally provide, with a few Thanksgiving treats sprinkled throughout. They’ll love the holidays as much as you do, without a scary trip to the vet later.
Check with your vet. If your dog has had health issues in the past (allergies or gastro-intestinal problems), ask your vet about any Thanksgiving foods you’re unsure about beforehand.
Foods OK to Give
Boneless, skinless, unseasoned, 100% cooked turkey. Your dog should be fine to eat turkey if you follow this list (and they’ll love you for it). Avoid skin and bones, since the fat from the turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, and the bones are a choking hazard.
Orange Sweet Potatoes. Plain, cooked orange sweet potatoes are a tasty treat to give your dog on Turkey Day. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is great for your dog’s skin, coat, nerves and muscles. Consider steaming or boiling the sweet potatoes, or buying plain, dehydrated sweet potato treats.
Raw green beans. Green beans are low in calories, full of fiber, and offer lots of nutritional value on Turkey Day. When your dog is trying to win you over, you can hand out green beans like candy. Raw green beans are the best, but canned or steamed beans are fine if there isn’t much sodium.
Carrots. If you have a puppy that’s teething, raw cold carrots provide a satisfying crunch. Carrots are also packed with fiber and Vitamin A, which is great for your dog’s immune system. If you decide to cook your carrots, set some aside unseasoned.
Sliced apples. When the apple pie is in the oven, your dog may be wondering if they’ll score a piece. Sadly, no pies, but your dog can snack on plain, sliced apples. Apples keep their teeth fresh, and the fiber helps regulate their bowel movements. Just remove the apple’s core and seeds, since they create a hazard for dogs.
Thanksgiving Food Alternatives to Try
Sure, human food is delish, but what about special dog treats? Below are some additional ideas to treat your dog on Thanksgiving.
Adding a Treat to a Food Puzzle Toy. If your dog loves toys, you can add some sweet potato or pumpkin in a KONG or a toy of your choice.
Flavored Wet Dog Food. If your dog usually eats the dry stuff, flavored wet food can feel like a special treat. Many canned dog foods offer real deboned turkey as a “Thanksgiving” variety.
Flavored Dog Treats. You can buy dehydrated sweet potato, pumpkin, or apple treats to give your dog while everyone else is eating.
Whether it’s cooked turkey or a sweet potato treat, your dog is sure to love Thanksgiving, especially because they get to spend it with you. Cheers!