Thanksgiving is great for humans, but it can be hellish for a dog.
Dozens of new and unfamiliar faces invading your cherished territory, terrible punishments for breaking those precious dioramas, and worst of all, the tantalising smell of a sumptuous feast without any possibility of getting to eat any yourself. So how do you know what Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for your pup to enjoy? Check against this list and you should be off to a good start!
If in doubt, check with your vet. A poor diet can lead to anything from dog skin problems
to serious health issues.
Avoid feeding turkey to your dog. The risk of salmonella from raw or incompletely-cooked scraps is just too great, let alone the risk of choking on bones.
Dogs are also unable to digest turkey skin properly, which could be fatal, and if they avoid choking on the bones straight away, there is a chance that larger bones will splinter in their mouths. This can be extremely painful and could also lead to bone fragments damaging their internal organs.
Dogs simply shouldn't be fed turkey scraps. So please don't do it.
A surprisingly large number of vegetables are OK for your dog to eat, but certain groups are very much not-OK.
'Sweet' vegetables like carrots are fine in small quantities but be careful about portion size – while we adults may enjoy pigging out during Thanksgiving, excessive pup portions could give your dog digestive problems later in the day.
Sweet potatoes and winter squash can be genuinely helpful to doggie digestion, as can green beans as they're high in fibre.
In general, you should avoid feeding your dog sugary fruit and sauces, and you should definitely avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, or corn in large amounts. These are fattening foods that will only serve to damage your dog's health.
Chitterlings are pork intestines, and form a traditional Thanksgiving side dish in many households but don’t add them to your dog’s bowl.
While some dogs cope ok with eating small amounts of raw meat, for dogs that are not adjusted to raw diets yet, this can result in a upset tummy. Suffice it to say that if you think the chitterlings smell bad before you clean, boil and pick them clean for your dog, you are in for a heck of a shock once the dog has started providing you with some solid results.
Furthermore, if they've been prepared for human consumption, they may be too salty for dogs, or have too much chemical preservative left on them. This preservation process also wipes almost all the nutrition out of them, making them a fairly useless, if tasty, treat.
Stuffing contains onions and sage, neither of which are ideal for dogs.
If you use breadcrumbs to help bulk out your stuffing, or if the sausage-meat provider used breadcrumbs to bulk out their product, you could cause your dog to suffer from bloat.
Once you've stripped out all the potentially harmful and definitely unhelpful ingredients from the stuffing, it'd basically be easier to feed your dog, well, food already esigned for consumption by dogs.
More Trouble Than It's Worth?
For the purposes of Thanksgiving, then, it is suggested that you treat your dog like a very fussy, old, sensitive, allergic vegan.
Either that, or treat them like an actual dog and buy him or her some special doggy treats!
Human food is human for a reason. Don't be afraid to give your young dog some vegetables now-and-again, but they get very little out of human food and can get some serious health problems.
Personally, I won't feed my pup any human food except squashes and pumpkin. But what about you? Do you have any healthy and nutritious human food that your dog just can't get enough of?
Please share in the comments!