Thanksgiving Safety for Pets & Pet Parents

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year for family, friends, and food! Yet, for pets, the feast is often the source of some of the biggest hazards of the holiday. Cats and dogs cannot metabolize certain foods the way we can, and many of the things we enjoy are toxic to them. Thanksgiving pet safety is an important part of this season, so our animal hospital has put together a list of Thanksgiving foods that are safe and unsafe for cats and dogs if they were to be accidentally ingested.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: A Cat Staring at a Bowl of Shredded Carrots

Beef
Yes, beef is safe as long as it is lean, well-cooked, and has no seasonings.

Bread
Yes, plain white or whole grain bread is perfectly safe, on occasion. No raisin bread, though! Raisins are toxic to both cats and dogs.

Broccoli
Yes, broccoli is safe when it is cooked and fed in moderation. Be aware that raw broccoli is difficult for dogs and cats to digest.

Brussels Sprouts
Yes, when cooked and in small pieces. It’s doubtful that they’ll want them, though!

Carrots
Yes, both raw and cooked are safe for dogs (in bite-sized pieces) but cooked carrots are recommended for cats since raw can be very crunchy, making it difficult for cats to digest.

Celery
Yes, but in small amounts for both cats and dogs. For cats, too much can cause diarrhea. What’s more is cats react to celery leaves the same way they do to catnip!

Cheese
Yes, but in small quantities.

Chicken
Yes, as long as it’s cooked, boneless and plain (not seasoned)

Chocolate
No, never. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are two stimulants that cats and dogs cannot efficiently metabolize. Dark chocolate is even more poisonous!

Cinnamon
Yes, it’s non-toxic, but it can become toxic at certain levels, so can only be consumed in small amounts.

Corn
Yes, the kernels in moderate amounts, cooked and plain (un-buttered and unseasoned). Do not feed your pet corn on the cob, as it’s a choking hazard.

Corn Pudding
No, with all the additions like cream cheese and cheddar, this dish is too rich for our pets!

Cranberry Sauce
Yes, cranberry sauce is safe, but in small amounts since some sauces are high in sugar.

Garlic
No, never. Garlic contains thiosulfates which are toxic to dogs and it is about five times as toxic as onions for cats.

Gravy
Yes, in small amounts, but pay attention to the ingredients! Most gravies contain onion and garlic, both of which are toxic to pets.

Grapes/Raisins
No, never. There are toxic compounds in both that are harmful to cats and dogs.

Green Beans
Yes, as long as they’re plain (not seasoned).

Green Bean Casserole
No, it’s too rich and contains other ingredients that are harmful to our pets.

Mashed Potatoes
Yes, as long as they are cooked, unseasoned, and not fried. Raw potatoes, however, are lethal to cats and toxic to dogs!

Milk
Yes, but in very small amounts, as it could cause issues with lactose intolerance.

Mushrooms
Yes, store-bought with no seasonings. However, if your pet is outside hunting and finds wild mushrooms, those could be harmful, so it’s best not to offer them.

Nutmeg
Yes for cats, but in extremely small amounts.
No for dogs, because of the myristicin in it, which could cause disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, stomach pain and seizures.

Onions
No, never. Onions are toxic to cats and dogs — this includes onion powder!

Pecan Pie
No, the nuts alone contain a high amount of fats and oils which can upset your pet’s stomach. In addition to the buttery crust and sweet syrupy filling, it’s too rich for pets to handle!

Pork
Yes, on occasion, as long as it’s cooked and plain. No ham or bacon, though, as they are extremely high in sodium and fat.

Pumpkin Pie
No, pumpkin pie filling has added sugars, cream, and some spices, like nutmeg that are dangerous. Plain, cooked pumpkin, however, is safe!

Rice
Yes, plain and cooked brown or white rice is safe.

Shrimp
Yes, as long as it’s cooked and removed from the shell.

Stuffing
No, stuffing very often contains onions, garlic, and/or shallots, all of which are toxic to your cats and dogs.

Sweet Potatoes/Candied Yams
Yes, but not in excessive amounts. Plain sweet potatoes are safer.

Turkey
Yes, as long as it’s plain, boneless and skinless.

Xylitol
No, never. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free baked goods, peanut butters, and candies. It is highly toxic to pets, so keep it away from them!

Have any other questions about Thanksgiving pet safety? Contact our animal hospital today for more tips or ask your veterinarian at your next appointment!