Our dogs are often part of the family, and what better way to celebrate our furry kids than to let them join in the Thanksgiving feast? Since dogs are omnivores, they can enjoy many traditional Thanksgiving treats. You may already be familiar with some dangers associated with holiday foods for pets, including turkey bones and chocolate. And allowing your family to slip Fido bits of table food all day isn’t a good idea either. By preparing a Thanksgiving meal especially for your dog, you can include him in the festivities while still maintaining control over his diet. So what can you feed your dog for Thanksgiving?
Bones are a no-no for any dog, as poultry bones splinter easily and can cause all kinds of internal problems. Turkey skin and dark meat can be fed as treats, but limit the amount. They both have a lot of fat that can cause digestive issues in dogs. The best bet for your dog’s Thanksgiving meal is skinless turkey breast. White meat is low in fat and contains a ton of delicious, healthy protein.
Your dog can eat a small helping of mashed potatoes or yams. Make sure to set aside your dog’s portion before you add any salt, butter, or other ingredients. Yams are better for dogs than white potato, as yams contain less starch. They do, however, have a lot more sugar than white potato so a small amount is recommended.
Carrots, broccoli and green beans are all tasty, healthy options to round out your dog’s Thanksgiving meal. As with the rest of the meal, do not salt, butter or sauce the veggies. Also be aware that a dog that doesn’t usually eat vegetables, especially broccoli, will probably have some bad gas later in the day. It’s not dangerous to them, but might make the post-meal gathering a little less pleasant!
Pumpkin, like yam, is totally safe for your dog to eat. If you are buying canned pumpkin, make sure it is not pie filling, as this already has sugar and other ingredients added that you don’t want your dog to eat. You can give them a small spoonful, or get creative by giving them their own “pie”. You can make the crust out of soaked dog food mixed with an egg and oats, and putting the stewed pumpkin in the crust. Make sure the pie is a mini; pumpkin contains a lot of fiber and too much will cause diarrhea.
A small amount of fruit can add a little zest to your dog’s Thanksgiving feast. Sliced apples or pears don’t have too much sugar. Fresh, un-sugared cranberries are also healthy for your dog. Just avoid grapes and raisins, as they are toxic for dogs. Also avoid processed cranberry jellies, as they contain tons of sugar. Again, be aware that fresh fruits contain fiber, which helps move along your dog’s digestive system.
Unsalted Chicken Broth
For dogs that already have health or digestive issues, a whole Thanksgiving meal might be too much for their sensitive tummies. That doesn’t mean that can’t have a little more flavorful meal than their usual fair. Adding a small amount of salt-free chicken broth to their kibble will still give them a treat without upsetting their digestive system. You could also use broth to make a turkey soup for your furry friend.
An internet search for “thanksgiving dog treat recipes” will yield a wide selection of ideas. Most of them , use Thanksgiving-themed ingredients such as turkey, cranberries and yam. You can shape them into dog bones, or get creative and bust out the turkey cookie-cutter for a more festive treat. This is another good idea for those dogs with sensitive stomachs; you control the ingredients and can adjust the recipe to ensure minimal digestive upset.
So how much food can your dog eat for Thanksgiving? A healthy dog with no known illnesses will not be injured by over-indulging a little for one day, just like your human guests. Keep in mind, however, that unless you routinely feed your dog fresh veggies, the additional fiber might cause loose stools. In general, feed your dog one or two items from your Thanksgiving menu. You can also give them a variety but keep the amounts down to one or two bites. Discourage your guest from feeding the dog by making it clear that he gets his own feast and shouldn’t receive any other snacks that day. Last of all, enjoy! It’s not often that a responsible pet owner allows themselves the luxury of feeding their dog such a succulent meal.