With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing a feast for the whole family. But, can your furry family member join in the meal, too? 38,900,000 households own cats, and 43,346,000 households own dogs, meaning there are plenty of families who will have a pet in the home during Thanksgiving dinner. While many Thanksgiving staples are safe for your pets, others can be incredibly dangerous for their health. Read on to learn more about the best (and worst) foods for your pets for Thanksgiving.

Good News First: Safe Thanksgiving Foods

A surprising amount of foods commonly found on the Thanksgiving dinner table are perfectly safe for your pets to eat, as long as you prepare them correctly. These Thanksgiving classics are safe as you follow the following guidelines:

  • Turkey: As long as you feed this to your pets in small amounts with the fatty skin and bones removed, it should be a perfectly safe treat. Be sure to cook it thoroughly to avoid salmonella risk.
  • Sweet potato: If your sweet potatoes don’t include extra brown sugar or marshmallows, a bite or two is perfectly fine for your pet.
  • Green beans: This healthy veggie is a great snack for your pets. Just be sure to skip the extra butter, fried onion, or other toppings.
  • Carrots: Another healthy vegetable option, carrots are fairly safe for dogs and cats. However, avoid any sort of extra glazes that might contain harmful ingredients for your pets.

In general, the more whole your ingredients and the fewer added spices, fats, and flavorings, the safer it’s going to be for your pet. However, keep reading, because certain types of food can be a one-way ticket to an emergency animal hospital.

Toxic Treats: Unsafe Foods For Pets

Some Thanksgiving foods can be too fatty or contain potentially dangerous ingredients for your pets, so be sure to avoid tossing them these scraps from the table.

  • Stuffing: Stuffing can contain plenty of ingredients that are toxic to a dog or cat’s system, including onions, raisins, garlic, and certain spices. Because recipes vary, it’s best to be on the safe side and avoid this for your pet.
  • Gravy: Because of the high-fat content and richness of most gravy, this can be an incredibly unhealthy option for your pet. Alternatively, low-sodium chicken broth can be a reasonable substitute to put on a pet’s dish.
  • Cranberry sauce: While cranberries themselves aren’t necessarily toxic for your pet, the ingredients in cranberry sauce can be. High sugar contents aren’t great for your pet, and any cranberry sauce with bourbon in it is a recipe for disaster.

If you’re planning to share some of your Thanksgiving meal with your pet, the best way to ensure your pet will be safe is to ask a veterinarian. Veterinarians will be able to guarantee that you’re not accidentally including dangerous ingredients in your pet-friendly Thanksgiving meal, so talk to your local vet before you start cooking. You don’t need to wait for an emergency to become familiar with our veterinary services. Get the best care you can find for all of your pet’s health needs. We are more than just an animal hospital. Call 520-888-3177 for more information about our specialty services on site, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.