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Thanksgiving Pet Safety

At Thanksgiving, it can be tempting to share some of your special dinner with your best furry friends. However, the foods we enjoy are not always safe for our pets to eat. Their digestive systems cannot metabolize some of the same things we can, which means that some of our foods can make them sick. To encourage Thanksgiving pet safety, our animal hospital has put together a list of foods that you can and can’t share with your furry family.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety in River North: A Dog and Cat in Front of Unprepared Food

Unsafe Foods

Let’s get the bad news out of the way, first! This list contains all the items you shouldn’t share with your pet. They can cause symptoms as mild as vomiting and diarrhea to as dangerous as seizures and pancreatitis, depending on how much your pet eats. Keep all these foods out of paws’ reach, but if your pet does ingest any of these, contact your emergency veterinarian immediately, or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.

  • Chocolate – The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is because the cocoa contains two stimulants, theobromine and caffeine, which pets cannot effectively metabolize.
  • Garlic – One clove is enough to cause serious issues for your pet due to it being so concentrated.
  • Grapes/raisins – Grapes and raisins are toxic to pets due to some harmful compounds.
  • Green bean casserole – Most casseroles are a no-no for pets because of added ingredients like cream, cheese, and butter that makes it too rich for them to safely eat.
  • Ham – Ham is a processed meat that contains far too much fat and salt to be safe for pets. The same goes for bacon!
  • Nutmeg – Nutmeg is dangerous for dogs due to the myristicin in it; however, it is safe for cats in very small amounts.
  • Onions – Any form of onion (raw, cooked, dehydrated, powder) is toxic to pets.
  • Pecan pie – Nuts are never good to share with your pet due to the fats and oils in them, and putting them in a sugary pie filling doesn’t help matters!
  • Pumpkin pie – Pumpkin pie filling has too many added ingredients that can be dangerous for pets in large amounts including sugar, condensed milk, and spices.
  • Stuffing – Stuffing often contains ingredients that are harmful to pets including onions, garlic, chives, shallots, etc.
  • Xylitol – Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is highly dangerous for pets. It can be found in many sugar-free baked goods and candies, chewing gum, and some peanut butter brands.

Safe Foods

Time to talk about the good stuff! These foods can all be shared with your pet in moderation. Be sure to keep any human food to less than 10% of your pet’s daily diet to prevent weight gain.

  • Meats – All meat should be lean pieces that are unseasoned, well-cooked, boneless, and skinless. Meats you can share include:
    • Beef
    • Chicken
    • Pork
    • Turkey
  • Vegetables – many vegetables are safe for pets, as long as they are unseasoned and well-cooked, yet some can also be enjoyed raw.
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Carrots (dogs can enjoy them raw, too)
    • Celery
    • Corn (avoid sharing corn on the cob, as it is a choking hazard)
    • Cranberry sauce (share only small amounts, due to high sugar content)
    • Green beans (can also be eaten raw)
    • Mushrooms (store-bought varieties only)
    • Potatoes (must be well-cooked; raw potatoes are lethal to cats and toxic to dogs)
    • Pumpkin
    • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Dairy – Many pets are lactose intolerant, but dairy products are still safe in small amounts. Different pets may have different tolerance levels. Watch for signs of diarrhea or vomiting after ingestion of dairy products and reduce your pet’s intake accordingly.
    • Milk
    • Cheese
  • Accompaniments & Ingredients
    • Bread, both white and wheat (must be plain with no added ingredients)
    • Cinnamon (safe in very small amounts only)
    • Gravy, with no toxic ingredients like garlic and onions (safe in small amounts only)
    • Nutmeg (safe for cats only in very small amounts)
    • Rice, both white and brown

Have any questions about the safety of these foods or any that are not on this list? Contact our animal hospital at (312) 643-2901 or ask at your next appointment!

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