What to Know About Feeding Your Pet on Thanksgiving - FAF

What to Know About Feeding Your Pet on Thanksgiving

The joy of having a pet is great, and Thanksgiving gives us one more way to show them how thankful we are for their unconditional love. From their wet, slobbery kisses to helping paws, purring and more, we’re thankful for it all. But how can we show our pets how we feel? One of the easiest ways to return the affection is through food. And because this is the season for gathering ‘round the table, we’ll focus on pet safety with what to know about feeding your pet on Thanksgiving. We’ll also include a few ways to show them you care that don’t involve food.

Pet Safety: Thanksgiving Foods and Pets

Veterinary emergency clinics are overwhelmed on holidays like Thanksgiving, mainly because the foods we humans enjoy are oftentimes not safe for our pets. Some of our favorite foods can cause issues like pancreatitis and blockages, and treatments to remedy these issues are quite expensive. Even foods we think might be ok, like turkey skin and gravy, are high in fat and difficult for pets to digest. These and other types of food can cause very painful illnesses like pancreatitis that include, or can lead to, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. No special treat is worth taking that chance.

Our list of Thanksgiving foods for pets to avoid should be carefully adhered to. There’s a reason these foods are on this list as they can be toxic to our pets, even in small portions. If your pet ingests any of the following foods, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline right away at 855-764-7661.


While a Thanksgiving staple for humans, consuming turkey, the skin, or any other part of this centerpiece bird can cause pancreatitis in our pets. It’s very painful for them, so it’s best to completely avoid it.


While pet food can contain vegetables, pet food companies know exactly which ones are safe and how to prepare them for pet consumption. We recommend leaving this to the experts. Why? While some vegetables like onions, leeks, and garlic can be highly toxic for pets, others may be prepared in ways that can be too rich, contain high-fat concentrations, or include sugar. Due to some human dietary restrictions, these foods, such as candied sweet potatoes, can also contain xylitol, which is toxic for dogs and cats in any amount.


While dogs may want a sniff or a bite of whatever it is we’re eating, it’s best to stay away from human food, including fruits. While some can be too tart and give pets upset stomachs, others, such as grapes and raisins, can be fatal to cats and dogs with only one bite.

Anything Spicy

Spicy foods can irritate your pet’s digestive system, so keep them happy and away from anything spicy.

Chocolate or Caffeinated Beverages

Our pets should never consume chocolate, coffee, tea, or soda due to its theobromine content, which is poisonous — and can be fatal — to pets. Caffeinated beverages contain this as well, so these foods and drinks should be kept well away from pets.


Pumpkins are known to be a laxative in pets. They can also be prepared with things like whipped cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, so keep the pumpkin away from your pet so they don’t end up with an irritated digestive system.

Show Your Pet Some Love

If you want to show your pet you love them by using food, try their favorite treats, or try a new treat. The love you provide while feeding them treats, and the act of giving them a treat, will let them know you really care.


You can also show your pet you care without using food. From walks in the park to snuggles on the sofa, new toys like squeakers or catnip-stuffed throws, and extra playtime, your pet will know you care by the extra attention you give them.


As you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your pet, be sure to keep these pet safety food tips top of mind. Your pet will thank you for it.

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