Reviewed by Dr. Sandra Mitchell, September 2022
The following content may contain Chewy links. PetMD is operated by Chewy.
NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay 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.
Do you want to include your dog in your Thanksgiving celebrations? There are plenty of traditional Thanksgiving foods that are perfect for sharing. If you want to create a dog-safe meal for your special four-legged companion, here are some safe human foods that your pet can enjoy.
No Thanksgiving dinner for dogs is complete without turkey. Turkey is a great source of lean protein, and you can even serve your dog some of the same turkey you’ll put on the table, so long as it is baked and isn’t too spicy.
Turkey for dogs makes a great alternative to dog treats when served in small quantities, as this mild meat won’t produce any ill effects in most dogs.
If you give your dog a piece of your turkey, make sure that you choose white meat, and remove large pieces of fat and skin. This keeps the fat content low, which can help avoid an upset tummy or a more severe problem, like pancreatitis.
Be sure that your dog doesn’t get ahold of any turkey bones either. Whether raw or cooked, they tend to splinter and can poke holes in the intestines.
If your turkey is too spicy or salty or you have deep-fried it but you still want your pet to get a taste of the holidays, consider Merrick Turducken grain-free canned dog food or a treat like American Journey turkey jerky.
However, pumpkin pie isn’t a good treat for your pet. Simple roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin are just fine. You can set some pumpkin aside if you’re baking your own pumpkin pie, or you can share a little pure canned pumpkin with your pet. Make sure it’s 100% canned pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling.
If you’re not planning to bake this year, a pumpkin-based treat like Grandma Lucy's organic pumpkin oven-baked dog treats offer a great way for your dog to still enjoy some holiday flavor.
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. Instead, give your dog a small amount of cranberry sauce. Because it can be high in sugar, make sure that you serve only a small amount, and be sure that it doesn’t contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is very dangerous for dogs.
If you want to play it safe, Spot Farms Turkey Meatball Recipe dog treats with cranberries and Charlee Bear dog treats with turkey liver and cranberries are other healthy and safe foods for dogs.
Green beans served without all the trappings (like salt, seasonings, and butter) are great for dogs. They are a low-calorie snack that is high in iron and several other vitamins and minerals that dogs need. Their high-fiber content also helps fill your pup’s belly and keep them full, which may help aid in weight control.
As a treat, you can simply serve your pup unsalted green beans—canned, frozen, or fresh. 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. In fact, they’re even found as an ingredient in a lot of commercially available dog foods.
The occasional raw baby carrot is a crunchy, healthy treat, 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.
Pups love sweet potatoes! They’re a good source of B vitamins, vitamin A, and fiber. In recent years, this veggie has gained popularity with canines across the country and is frequently included in limited ingredient diets, such as American Journey limited ingredient grain-free turkey and sweet potato dry dog food.
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. You can even give your dog dried sweet potato as treats.
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 the seeds contain cyanide and are poisonous to dogs in large amounts or in small amounts over time.
Be sure to cut up raw apples into appropriately sized pieces. 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.
While you can serve a Thanksgiving dinner for dogs, these are some holiday treats your dog shouldn’t have:
- Grapes or raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Wild mushrooms
- Onions and garlic
- Pitted fruits
- Anything containing caffeine
- Sugary desserts
- High-fat items
- Salty foods
- Any item that contains xylitol
If you’re concerned that your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian immediately.