Thanksgiving is meant to be shared with the ones you love. That includes your furry friend as well. But be careful because you can't share all your leftovers with him, no matter how much he might want you to. A lot of traditional Thanksgiving fare can be harmful to dogs. Here's a rundown of what is and isn't safe for them to eat.
Dog Thanksgiving Food Dos
The most important Thanksgiving dish, turkey, is safe for your pup, if it's cooked properly without onions or garlic. Don't give him any skin, and be careful to remove all the turkey bones before letting him eat. Unlike the bones in a steak or porkchop, turkey bones can splinter, damaging your dog's mouth or getting stuck in his throat.
Dogs also love sweet potatoes. A bit of plain, boiled sweet potato, without any seasonings or other ingredients added, is one of the best treats you can give your dog. Russet potatoes will be appreciated too, but again, prepare your dog's portion separately from the rest of the feast, and without anything else added to it. Though one thing you can add is a bit of low sodium chicken broth on top. It's safe for dogs and adds some extra flavor.
Finally, fruits and vegetables make great dog snacks. You can cook them (plain, or with chicken broth), or just serve them up raw. Most Thanksgiving vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, and broccoli, are safe for dogs to eat. Spinach might be OK too, but only in small amounts, and ask your vet first.
If you're serving your dog an apple, be sure to slice it up first, and remove the seeds and the stem. Oranges, blueberries, and bananas are also great treats for dogs.
Dog Thanksgiving Food Don'ts
Beware of any prepared foods with a lot of different ingredients, as many, if not most of them, will be bad for your dog. Stuffing, for example, often includes things such as garlic, onions, raisins, and nuts, all of which your canine companion should avoid.
Other prepared foods, such as gravy and pumpkin pie, are too rich for your dog and full of fat and sugar. However, while your dog can't eat pumpkin pie, what you can give them is a spoonful of canned pumpkin by itself (though be sure it's plain pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling).
While there are a lot of foods your dog can't eat at Thanksgiving, what you can do is look up recipes for special, dog-friendly versions of those dishes. Dog-friendly stuffing can be made with apples, cranberries, oatmeal, and broth. You can also make mini, dog-friendly pumpkin pies, without the sugar and spices, and serve them up as dog treats. With a little bit of research, there are healthy, doggie alternatives to just about any traditional Thanksgiving food.
Be careful, though, when giving your dog human food. A little bit is OK, but don't do it all the time, and always in moderation. Your dog's food is specifically formulated to give him the nutrition he needs. Human food isn't.
Still, Thanksgiving comes just once a year. With a little preparation and care, there's no better time to show him you're thankful for him, by giving him his own Thanksgiving feast.