Thanksgiving Foods Dangerous to Dogs

Pumpkin costume? Yes. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving? NO!

Pumpkin costume? Yes. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving? NO!

The family is gathered around the table, plates groaning under the weight of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the usual fixin’s for the fall harvest holiday. It’s a time when we all go just a bit beyond our usual consumption, so why shouldn’t our furry friends enjoy the same treat?

Because many of the foods we so enjoy at this time of year are downright bad for bowser. In some cases, the food can be fatal.

Even if you’re not planning to feed your dog scraps directly off the table (which we’ll talk about another time in terms of the negative impact such activity has on overall training), here are some traditional food items that will likely grace your Thanksgiving table that should be kept away from your pup:

Turkey skin, turkey drippings, turkey gravy
– These high fat items may taste oh-so-good to you, and even to your dog, but the incredibly high fat content can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. There is also a high risk of triggering pancreatitis by feeding your dog food saturated in fat.
Turkey twine – this should be a no-brainer, but besides the fatty and salty saturation on the twine, this stuff can end up tangling up in your dog’s insides.
Turkey bones – Bird bones in general, especially cooked ones, are soft and splinter easily. This adds up to potential disaster in terms of cutting or even puncturing a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. The chances of blockage are also high. So don’t just be mindful of not directly feeding your dog turkey bones, but make sure that you secure the garbage can where they’ve been thrown!
Corn on the cob – Let’s start with the fact that you shouldn’t feed your dog corn in any shape or form … EVER. The way in which it metabolizes in dogs (processes quickly and burns hot) make corn in all forms (corn, corn starch, corn syrup, corn meal) a generally lousy thing for canine cuisine. Add to that the soaked in salt and butter nature of a corn cob, and the tendency for the cob to break off and splinter as a dog goes to town on it, and it’s a perfect storm of bad. If the ingredients don’t lead to diarrhea and potentially pancreatitis, a broken off bit of corn on the cob could result in gastric distress or blockages.
Onions and garlic – We may love the addition of these ingredients to our holiday meals, but letting our dogs consume them is another story. Garlic (along with onions, shallots leeks, chives and some others) are classified in the Allium family, a particular class of vegetative matter that may give humans bad breath and gas, but in dogs may lead to something called hemolytic anemia, or gastroenteritis.
Mushrooms – The fungus among us just isn’t a good idea for pups. Granted at holiday time we’re probably not talking about wild picked mushrooms in your stuffing but instead the tame, supermarket variety, but too many stories of mushroom ingestion sound like this one.
Raisins and grapes -staples of many stuffings, side dishes and desserts, grapes, their less saturated cousins the raisin, and their even less well-known cousin the currant are toxic for most dogs. There is no specific data as to why these fruits can cause acute and rapid renal failure in dogs, some suggest that it has something to do with the skins. Whatever the case, don’t roll the dice on this one.
Pumpkin pie, glazed sweet potatoes – When your dog is sick sometimes the vet will recommend using canned pumpkin or yam or sweet potato as something gentle for their tummy. This suggestion does not extend to the sugar saturated edition of pumpkin that appears in any number of desserts this holiday season nor to the traditional baked and glazed sweet potato dish that graces most tables.
Chocolate – Yes. It’s bad for dogs. Period.
Alcohol – Do we really need to say this? Sadly yes, we do. There are people who think it’s just fine to pour beer or wine into their dog’s bowl. While one occasion may not result in death or illness, the chance is likely – especially for a smaller dog – that something bad will happen. There are those who do it more often and holiday season is rife with such opportunity. Don’t do it.

While we are firm advocates of treating our pups … spoiling them, even … the simple fact is that just as most of the foods we consume for Thanksgiving aren’t really altogether good for us, a dog’s rapid metabolism along with the way in which their bodies break down fatty food, make the majority of the delights for you downright dangerous for your dog. If you want to be kind to your pup this Thanksgiving holiday, give them more belly rubs, a longer romp in the park and maybe even let them sleep in your bed.