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15+ Foods Dogs Can (& Can't) Eat on Thanksgiving + Dog Thanksgiving Meal Ideas | Pupford

December 18th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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We love Thanksgiving! It’s an opportunity to share a mouth-watering meal with the people who mean the most to you. But can that include the fur people that mean the most? Many pup parents wonder what dogs can (& can't) eat on Thanksgiving!

While we love that you want to include your dog in your family traditions, it’s not always safe. There are certain ingredients in your holiday meals that could make your dog very sick.

With families gearing up for that much-anticipated Thanksgiving dinner, we wanted to take the time to remind you what Thanksgiving food dogs can eat, and what foods to keep just on the humans’ plates.

We’ll be covering:

  • What Thanksgiving food dogs can eat
  • Foods not to feed dogs at Thanksgiving
  • Hidden dangers in your Thanksgiving meal
  • How to include your pup in your Thanksgiving dinner → including a recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed meal your pup will love!
  • Additional tips for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving with dogs


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Your turkeys are probably already thawing, so there’s no time to waste! Let’s get right into it.

Related Reading: 20 Foods Dogs Can and Can't Eat


The good news (for both you and your dog) is that there are plenty of Thanksgiving foods that are safe for dogs to eat.

Here are some safe Thanksgiving foods for dogs:

  • Turkey: starting with the classic! Turkey meat is a great source of protein for your dog, as long as the bones and skin are removed. The bones are a choking/digestive hazard and the skin was likely covered in seasonings or butter, both of which aren’t safe for your dog.
  • Sweet potatoes: they’re rich in fiber, vitamins, and beta carotene. Serve baked or boiled and completely plain (no seasonings or toppings).
  • White potatoes: also perfectly safe for dogs, just follow the same serving instructions as sweet potatoes!
  • Apples: they’re full of vitamins A and C and make a delicious sweet treat, just be sure the core, stem, and seeds are removed. (Read the full Can Dogs Eat Apples? article.)
  • Green beans: “eat your greens” doesn’t just apply to people. Green beans are packed with vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog. Just be sure they’re plain and have no added ingredients.
  • Pumpkin: this gourd is packed with nutrients that support digestive health and improve your dog’s skin and coat. Fresh pumpkin and plain canned pumpkin are both fine for dogs, but the pre-spiced pumpkin pie mix is not!
  • Carrots: where to begin?! Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which leads to improved skin and coat, high in fiber which helps to solidify your dog’s stools, and full of antioxidants.
  • Celery: in bite sized pieces so that your pup doesn’t choke, celery is great. It's rich in Vitamins A, C, & K, full of folate, potassium, and manganese, and is low calorie and low-fat.

As you can see, there are plenty of Thanksgiving dinner staples you can share with your dog without worry.


If you're worried about any guests accidentally giving your dog something they shouldn't this Thanksgiving, then print out this graphic and put it on your fridge!

Click here for the printable Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Can and Can't Eat list!



Unfortunately, not all the food on your Thanksgiving table is safe to share with your dog. Here’s food to avoid giving your dog on Thanksgiving:

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy: Small bones are choking hazards and they can get lodged in your dog’s intestines, or they can splinter off and irritate the gastric lining. Skin and gravy have high fat contents which can irritate the digestive system and cause pancreatitis.
  • Onions, scallions, garlic, chives, leeks: These are extremely irritating to your dog’s stomach and intestines and may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate, and other serious conditions. Because these ingredients are dangerous, avoid giving your dog stuffing, most prepared vegetable dishes, and casseroles.
  • Butter: Similarly to turkey gravy and skin, butter’s high fat content can cause pancreatitis. Make sure all vegetables, potatoes, and other foods that are prepared with butter are not given to your dog.
  • Seasonings and spices: Salt, pepper, onion, powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, and other common seasonings and spices are irritating to your dog’s digestive system.
  • Raisins/grapes: These are poisonous to dogs and will cause vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney damage.
  • Desserts: It’s good to indulge your sweet tooth on Thanksgiving, but not so much for your dog. Avoid desserts with chocolate or sweeteners like xylitol. To be safe, keep anything from the dessert table off-limits and stick to a fruit or yogurt based treat for your dog.
  • Alcohol: We’re not saying you would fill your dog’s water bowl with booze, but a lot of dishes are prepared with alcohol like wine or rum. Also, uncooked yeast dough will ferment within your dog’s stomach, producing the same effect! Consumption can cause alcohol poisoning which is very dangerous.

Related Reading: 8 Reasons Your Dog's Stomach Is Gurgling & Making Noises


As you can see, there are a lot of caveats when it comes to Thanksgiving food for dogs.

The danger usually doesn’t lie in the obvious culprits like chocolate or grapes, but in the “safe” foods that are prepared or served in a way that’s dangerous to dogs. The same thing goes for anything that has bones, a core, or tough skin.

Something safe like turkey or potatoes becomes dangerous when prepared with butter, spices, and seasonings. A healthy treat like an apple becomes unhealthy when the core is left intact. It’s important to keep a close eye on what’s given to your dog and set ground rules with people who may not know better, especially children.


Thanksgiving day feast | Pupford

With just a few simple steps to be mindful of, you can safely include your pup in your Thanksgiving dinner with no worries!

First, if you want to give your dog a little sample of your holiday menu, simply set a little bit of each food aside before it comes in contact with any dangerous ingredients or add-ons.

You can bake a small tray of plain green beans and potatoes then top it with some turkey (skin removed!) for a super simple plate.


Or, you can put in a little more effort and make something special just for your dog! There are so many great Thanksgiving recipes for dogs, but here’s one we love from The Bark. Note, this recipe yields nine servings, so feel free to cut it if you’re looking for less.


  • 3lb cooked turkey, skin and bones removed
  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1lb cooked sweet potatoes
  • 2tbs cranberry sauce (this is safe for dogs in small amounts, as long as it doesn’t contain any sweeteners. You can opt for chopped apples for a safer choice)
  • Mix all ingredients together and heat in the oven!

This recipe is simple and packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients! Your dog will certainly be thankful for that.

For another tasty Thanksgiving recipe for your dog head here!


family eating thanksgiving dinner safely by not giving their dog food they can't have | Pupford

Now that we’ve got the food portion down, we do have some additional tips for keeping your dog safe and happy throughout the holiday season:

  • Lots of different food = lots of different smells. Keep food out of the reach of dogs and secure garbages so your dog isn’t tempted to get into something that could make them sick, or make a big mess.
  • Check your dog’s tags to make sure all information is clear and visible just in case they get away from you while traveling to a family member’s house or when having people at your house.
  • Find out if there will be other dogs there; if so, take a minute to brush up on your puppy play date best practices.
  • A well-behaved dog, will make the holidays less stressful when you don't have to worry about counter surfing, jumping up on guests, etc. Try these five hacks to get your dog to listen to you and training courses to help every step of the way.
  • Know what to do in case of emergency. Save the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number in your phone (888-426-4435) in case your dog does ingest something dangerous.


This year, you can not only be thankful for your dog, but you can also include them in the celebration -- safely!

Here's a quick recap of what your dog can safely eat on Thanksgiving:

  • Turkey, as long as the bones and skin are removed
  • Sweet potatoes served baked or boiled and completely plain (no seasonings or toppings)
  • White potatoes (follow the same serving instructions as sweet potatoes)
  • Apples, just be sure the core, stem, and seeds are removed
  • Green beans that are plain and have no added ingredients
  • Pumpkin, both fresh pumpkin and plain canned pumpkin are both fine for dogs, but the pre-spiced pumpkin pie mix is not
  • Carrots
  • Celery in bite-sized pieces so that your pup doesn’t choke

And of course, here are Thanksgiving foods dogs can't eat:

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
  • Onions, scallions, garlic, chives, leeks
  • Butter
  • Seasonings and spices
  • Raisins/grapes
  • Desserts
  • Alcohol

Following these food lists will help keep your pup safe and happy this Thanksgiving. And remember, click here for the printable Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Can and Can't Eat list!

If you have any other Thanksgiving recipes your dog loves, share them in the comments below!


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