Thanksgiving Foods and Your Pet

It’s the night of Thanksgiving, and all through the place, everyone was stuffed, except for our dog, Ace.

Ace is a bloodhound you see; he can smell food from a mile away. And so he found himself underneath the leftover tray….

This is how every great story begins…until your dog ends up sick!
As tempting as it may be to include your pet in your Thanksgiving festivities, feeding them human foods from the table is usually a very bad idea. Dogs and cats have sensitive stomachs that can easily become irritated and upset from common Thanksgiving foods.

In the worst scenarios, these foods can actually be toxic – even deadly – for your pets. Below, we’ve covered everything pet owners need to know about Thanksgiving foods and their pets.

  • Thanksgiving foods that are toxic to dogs and cats include:

    • Chocolate – contains theobromine, which causes seizures and even death.
    • Grapes or Raisins – can cause kidney failure
    • Onions and Garlic – can destroy blood cells leading to anemia.
    • Milk and Dairy Products – can cause diarrhea and digestive issues
    • Alcohol – can cause comas, death and intoxication
    • Xylitol (candy/gum, sweetener) can cause liver failure, hypoglycemia and death
    • Avocado – contains a chemical called persin, which in large amounts can make your dog very sick
    • Mushrooms – can cause shock or death
    • Caffeine – can cause vomiting, diarrhea and is toxic to the nervous system and heart.
    • Walnuts and Macadamias – can cause nervous system and muscle damage
    • Cooked bones – can cause stomach lacerations resulting in surgery

    Additionally, many Thanksgiving foods (such as turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and casseroles) are very heavy on the spices, oils and butters, which can seriously upset your pet’s stomach.

    If your dog or cat consumes any of these foods, they may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

    Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you could be looking at a veterinary bill in the hundreds or thousands. Believe us, this is a situation you and your pet will both be thankful to avoid!

    How to keep your pet safe and healthy on Thanksgiving
    The best way to protect your pet from these toxic Thanksgiving foods is by limiting their access to the cooking and dining areas. Consider creating a quiet, safe space where your pet can chill out and relax in the midst of all the chaos. This is especially important if your pet is able to access kitchen countertops while you are cooking or serving food.

    Be sure to instruct all guests to avoid feeding your pet scraps from the table during dinner. We know it’s difficult to say no to those puppy dog eyes, but it’s truly in your pet’s best interest.

    You can always include your pet in the Thanksgiving festivities by giving them a special treat or toy designed specifically for cats or dogs. This will ensure that your furry family member is safe, happy and healthy throughout the holiday.

    If your pet ingests any of these toxic foods on Thanksgiving day, contact your veterinarian immediately. Depending on the ingredient and quantity they consumed, this may be an emergency situation where time is of the essence!

    You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435 or the National Pet Poison Helpline at 800-214-6680 (note, there is a fee for their services).