7 Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs

Jennifer Coates, DVM
By Jennifer Coates, DVM. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM on Sep. 25, 2023
A Jack Russell Terrier sits with a pumpkin on an autumn day.

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NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

As a pet parent, you may want to include your dog in your holiday celebrations. Luckily, there are plenty of traditional Thanksgiving foods that are great for sharing with your furry companion.

So, what Thanksgiving foods can dogs eat? Let’s look at how to create a fun holiday dinner for your pup.


Turkey is a great source of lean protein, and you can even serve your dog some—just make sure that you specifically prepare it for your pup.

Remove the turkey fat and skin from a piece of white meat, boil it, and keep it bland and unseasoned. This will keep the fat content low. Don’t give your fury baby anything spicy, such as hot sauces like Tabasco.

Avoid excessive salt, and don’t give your pup garlic, onion, or any powders used in mixed seasoning. This includes any sort of fresh or ground pepper.

Turkey makes a great replacement for dog treats when served in small quantities, as this mild meat won’t cause any ill effects in most dogs. However, some dogs can be allergic to poultry—which includes turkey. If this is the case, don’t give your pup turkey as a treat.

Additionally, some pets are sensitive to fats and even with the visible fat removed, turkey still has fat in the muscle. This can cause an upset stomach and pancreatitis.

Treats should never be more than 10% of their total caloric intake daily. For example, for a 25-pound dog, they can have 40 grams of white meat turkey or 30 grams of dark meat turkey—not including the skin.

Turkey bones are dangerous to pups. Ingestion of bones—which often become splintered—can poke holes in a dog’s intestines. Make sure that your dog doesn’t have access to any pieces of meat that may have bone attached, or to the trash after Thanksgiving dinner.

If you want your dog to get a taste of Thanksgiving dinner but prefer a spicy, salty, or deep-fried turkey, you can choose to give them Merrick Turducken grain-free canned dog food, or treats like American Journey turkey jerky and Zuke's Mini Naturals Pumpkins Turkey & Pumpkin Recipe Dog Treats.


Pumpkin, when served appropriately, is fantastic for a dog’s digestive system. Veterinarians often recommend pumpkin for dogs as a way to either ease constipation or help firm up their stool.

However, pumpkin pie isn't a healthy food for your pup. Simple meals, like roasted pumpkin or pure-canned pumpkin, are healthy and safe alternatives.

If you’re baking your own pumpkin pie, set aside some pumpkin for your dog—but before serving up this treat, make sure it’s 100% canned pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie filling contain spices that are toxic for your dog, such as nutmeg. Additionally, their sugar and fat content are potentially harmful and can cause an upset stomach and/or pancreatitis.

If you don’t plan to give your pup roasted or pure-canned pumpkin, snacks like Grandma Lucy's organic pumpkin oven-baked dog treats can provide a taste of Thanksgiving for your dog.


Cranberries are safe for dogs, and they may help support urinary tract health. They also contain lots of healthy antioxidants.

However, raw cranberries may be tough for dogs to digest or swallow. Give raw cranberries in moderation and to avoid any potential choking hazard, cut up cranberries into smaller pieces.

Avoid cranberry sauce—the high sugar content or possible artificial sweetener it contains isn't good for dogs. Dried cranberries can be a replacement but ensure that there aren’t any raisins are in the mix.

If you want to stick to non-human foods for your pup, you can offer them some fun alternatives, including: 

Green Beans

Green beans, when served without salt, seasonings, and butter, are great for dogs. This low-calorie treat is high in iron and several other vitamins and minerals that dogs need. Serve your pup unsalted green beans—canned, frozen, or fresh.

Green beans are a source of insoluble fiber, meaning they don’t dissolve in the gut.

Green beans bulk up stool as it moves through the large intestine, promoting normal stool formation. It also gives pups a feeling of being full, which makes it easier for them to remain satisfied while staying at a healthy weight.

If you want to incorporate green beans into your dog's regular diet, look for a nutritionally complete and balanced dog food like Purina Beyond Turkey and Green Bean Recipe canned dog food.


Carrots are a great source of vitamin A and fiber—they’re even found as an ingredient in many commercially available dog foods.

It’s safe to give your pup a raw baby carrot as a healthy treat two to three times per day, but cooked carrots are gentler on your dog’s stomach. You can boil or steam plain, fresh, or frozen carrots. Canned carrots are also fine so long as they aren’t packaged with a lot of salt or sugar.

Sweet Potatoes

Pups love sweet potatoes. They’re a good source of B vitamins, vitamin A, and fiber.

Recently, this veggie has gained popularity and is frequently featured in limited ingredient diets. Some pup-friendly products include:

You can also cut up raw sweet potatoes, cook them and serve them in cubes; steam and mash them; or bake or boil them. The possibilities are endless with this versatile veggie.


Many dogs love the sweet, tart crunch of apples. They’ve got plenty of fiber and antioxidants to make them a healthy treat when given in moderation.

Make sure you cut out the core, as apple seeds contain cyanide and are poisonous to dogs.

Be sure to cut up raw apples into thin slices or small cubes. You can even sprinkle them with a little cinnamon, which is safe for dogs in moderation. 

Fruitables pumpkin and apple flavor crunchy dog treats are another good option for giving your dog a taste of apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon.

Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid for Dogs

While there are many Thanksgiving foods your dog can share with you, there are a few that they can’t. Here are some holiday treats your pup shouldn’t have:

While it may be tempting to let your dog eat Thanksgiving dinner with you, you must be very careful when preparing their holiday meal.

By feeding your dog human foods for Thanksgiving, you run the risk of them getting sick—either by stomach upset or toxicity. It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog eats foods that are safe for them and not cooked in oil, grease, or with any seasonings.

If you’re concerned that your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian immediately.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Wavetop

Jennifer Coates, DVM


Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary...

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