What Can Dogs Eat on Thanksgiving?


Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family, and of course food! With all those delicious dishes being passed around the dinner table, it can feel all too easy to slip a bit of celebratory turkey under the table for your favorite four-legged friend.

Despite your good intentions, the best way to give thanks for your pups this holiday season is by protecting them from potentially harmful thanksgiving dinner scraps. Resist those puppy dog eyes and follow these simple recommendations on what dogs can and cannot eat during Thanksgiving dinner to help ensure you and your best friend enjoy a happy, healthy holiday together.

What Human Food Can Dogs Eat?

So, you want to know what human food is safe for your pooch to snack on this Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the short answer is not much. No matter how cute those puppy eyes are or how much your furry friend begs, most of the food on your Thanksgiving table this year is not going to be good for your dog’s overall health and well-being.

To make sure everyone stays safe this upcoming holiday season, make sure you and your guests work together to keep all furry friends away from:

  • Bones: Leftover turkey bones may seem like the perfect treat for your dog, but bones like these can cause serious gastrointestinal distress for your pooch. They can also splinter once digested, leaving small amounts of bone fragment scattered throughout their digestive tract. If this happens, it can result in a string of serious health risks for your pooch.
  • Grease: Thanksgiving food is well-known for being rich and hearty. Butter, gravy, and turkey skin may be the perfect ingredients to add flavor to your meal, but all that fat and grease can wreak havoc on your furry friend’s stomach. Help your dog avoid excessive gas, vomiting, and even pancreatitis by keeping them far away from these heavy, greasy foods.
  • Chocolate: If you have a potluck-style Thanksgiving, it can be hard to keep track of the ingredients in each dish. You will want to be particularly mindful of what your dog is eating, especially when it comes to desserts. Chocolate is extremely poisonous for dogs, so accidentally slipping a few mystery-flavor cookies under the table could lead to serious health risks if you aren’t sure what is in them. It is better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to keep all desserts out of reach.
  • Raw Dough: Raw dough may seem harmless enough; after all, it’s mostly just flour and water, right? Unfortunately, raw bread, pie crust, cookies, and cakes can result in extreme bloating and gas for your dog. It’s better to stick to treats made specifically for dogs than to let them nibble on Grandma’s famous buttermilk biscuit batter, even if it is delicious.
  • Excessive Eating: it’s not only important to keep your dog away from harmful people-food, but also just as valuable to monitor how much of their own dog food and treats they get this holiday season. It may feel tempting to top off their food bowl a little extra so they can take part in the festivities, but allowing your dog to overeat is never a good idea. The same goes for treats. Even though these products are made with your dog’s digestive needs in mind, moderation is still essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health.

Instead of sharing your Thanksgiving feast, consider feeding them a dinner made just for them! A great way to treat your dog while still keeping them safe is chunky Bil-Jac Harvest Feast wet food, made with turkey and sweet potatoes. For dessert, spoil your pooch with a few some pumpkin-flavored dog treats like Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs.

Additional Dog Safety Tips for the Holidays

Monitoring the food your dog eats during Thanksgiving dinner is just one way you can help keep them safe this November. Here are a few additional dog safety tips to ensure the holiday is enjoyed by all — four-legged friends included:

Immediately put leftovers away

In the days following Thanksgiving, many of us look forward to cracking into the leftovers to make sandwiches, soups, and anything else we can dream up. Make sure to not leave anything on the counter that may be within reach of your pooch to avoid any mishaps while you’re perfecting your leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. In addition to the food itself being dangerous, packaging such as cooking twine, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap can be extremely hazardous as well.

Empty your trash

As much as we would love to believe our furry friends never get into trouble, sometimes the temptation of food is just too much for them to resist. If your garbage is full of food scraps from your Thanksgiving feast, grab it along with any other remaining trash and take it out of the house immediately. This will help your dog relax and stay out of trouble.

Make a special place for your dog

With all the holiday commotion, your furry friend may feel overwhelmed or distressed. If your dog gets nervous or scared around large groups of people, set up a special place like a crate or pillow in a quiet room for your dog to relax away from guests. There will likely be a lot going on, and a special place may be what your dog is most thankful for during the busy holiday.

Keep your vet’s number handy

Just in case, it’s always a good idea to keep your veterinarian’s on-call number handy, along with the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline number (888-426-4435, a fee may apply). If you think your dog has eaten something she shouldn’t have, call one of these numbers right away. Signs your dog has eaten something toxic can include vomiting, crying or whimpering in pain, lethargy, or a sudden change in behavior.

Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy All Year Round

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. For pet parents, our dogs are one of the biggest blessings we’re most thankful for. With a little extra planning and keeping these dog safety tips in mind, you can have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with your whole family!

Want more ways to keep your best friend happy and healthy? Join our Best Friends Club today. Each month you’ll receive fun training tips, information to care for your fur friends, and discounts on Bil-Jac products!

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