Good & Not-So-Good Turkey Day Food For Rover & Puss

Thanksgiving Day is all about food, food and more food. It’s a culinary marathon. In addition to the pièce de résistance [aka as turkey], the copious number of side dishes [both traditional and reconstructed favorites] are in the hundreds.

However, as tasty and mouth-watering as they all are, pet-owners need to be cognizant of some of the food items that should and should not cut the mustard with our dogs and cats.

So today’s blog will provide you with some tips of both pet-friendly and non-pet-friendly Turkey Day dishes for Rover and Puss.

Pièce de Résistance [aka as Turkey]

Whether or not we should feed our pets turkey is not so black and white.  Turkey is non-toxic for dogs and cats. It’s a component of many commercial dog foods and is rich in nutrients like protein, riboflavin, and phosphorous. So veterinarians will tell you that when it’s cooked plain, it’s kosher to to feed it to our furry friends.

However, Thanksgiving turkeys are more often than not rarely cooked plain. Cooks will rub these birds with all kinds of stuff, from oils, butter to a ton of seasoning and herbs. Then, as if they weren’t plump enough, we will then stuff them full of all kinds of stuffing — which include more herbs and seasoning, in addition to onions, garlic, apples and other creative components your grandmothers have passed down through the ages. For humans, we love the variety of tastes. But for our pets, it’s literally a recipe for upset stomachs at best, and pancreatitis at worst.

Should we cook our turkey devoid of all the fixings, pet owners still need to be cautious of bones. They can splinter and create blockages in the throat or digestive tract. Also, you should not give your pets any fat trimmings, no matter how well-cooked. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club suggests some healthy tips as to how to feed your dogs turkey safely:

  1. Skip the skin. All of that fat and seasoning is dangerous for dogs. The fat content can cause pancreatitis, and the seasonings can irritate your dog’s stomach.
  2. Make sure you only feed your dog turkey meat. Onions are toxic to dogs, and garlic is potentially toxic in large quantities
  3. Feed your dog only small quantities of turkey, and talk to your vet about adding food scraps into your dog’s diet, especially if your dog has a preexisting health condition, like diabetes. 
  4. Make sure there are no bones in the meat you feed your dog.


List of No-No’s

NO: Mushrooms

If your dog eats mushrooms, the dog may experience vomiting, seizures, a coma and possibly death.

NO: Nutmeg

Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good for your dog—but make sure they don’t contain nutmeg. It has mild hallucinogenic properties that, when ingested by your dog, can cause seizures, tremors and central nervous system problems.

NO: Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.

NO: Nuts

Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.

NO: Dough

When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.

No Chocolate

If any of your desserts have chocolate, keep it out of reach of your pets. Chocolate, like coffee and other caffeinated products, contains methylxanthines, which can cause a host of health problems in pets and can be potentially deadly.

Of course, similar to humans, the final bit of advice I can share with you is not to allow your pets to OVER-INDULGE. Permitting them to eat too much can also cause upset stomachs, diarrhea and pancreatitis. In fact, most veterinarians will tell you that it’s best to keep our pets on their regular diets during the holiday. Makes sense to me . . . now, pass me my second helping of those mashed potatoes please!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Primary Source: ASPCA