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7 Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Can Eat

By Colleen Williams
published: November 26, 2015 - updated: October 3, 2022 • 3 min. read
Thanksgiving Food 640x420

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs can suffer from diarrhea or pancreatitis due to eating too many Thanksgiving foods.
  • Some pure, raw, and unseasoned forms of Thanksgiving foods are safe for dogs.
  • You can give a dog sweet potatoes, turkey, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, bread, and apples.
  • Never give a dog turkey bones, butter, onions, garlic, raw dough, raisins, or chocolate.
Thanksgiving foods pets infographic

Happy Thanksgiving! If you have two- and four-legged family members joining your feast today, it’s important to know who can eat what. Human food and dogs don’t get along that great, especially the flavorful, seasoned dishes served on Thanksgiving. Diarrhea in dogs is extremely common as a result of overfeeding rich foods. Too much of a good thing can result in pancreatitis, a painful inflammatory condition that is expensive to treat and can have lifelong effects on your pet.

It doesn’t mean you have to exclude your pets from the festivities, but it does mean you need to watch what they eat – and what you (and other guests) feed Fido. Whip up some Thanksgiving-themed homemade dog treats to distract your dog from the main meal, or take him for a pre-dinner walk around the block to tire him out.

Certain Thanksgiving foods are safe and even healthy for dogs! However, only the pure, raw, unseasoned forms of these foods are acceptable to give to pets. These Thanksgiving foods are dog-friendly, but they should still be served only in moderation.

Sweet Potatoes

can dogs eat sweet potatoes

Typically served baked with marshmallows or in sweet potato pie, this seasonal superfood is a hit with dogs. Orange sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and many other much-needed nutrients.  Feed your pup raw or dried pieces of sweet potato, not the canned mix. Never give your dog marshmallows, which contain xylitol – an artificial sweetener dangerous to pets – as well as large amounts of sugar.



can dogs eat turkey

The main course, Thanksgiving turkey is a dog’s ultimate dream dish. Cooked turkey is safe for both cats and dogs, but it must be unseasoned. Turkey bones are also off-limits for dogs, as they can easily crunch and splinter, causing an intestinal obstruction or internal bleeding. The turkey’s skin is also out of bounds for dogs, as its rich flavor can cause gastrointestinal upset. Feeding too much fatty meat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, an inflammatory disease of the pancreas.

Green Beans

can dogs eat green beans

Green beans are a Thanksgiving casserole staple for some families, but dogs prefer these snappy veggies raw. High in fiber and vitamins C and K, toss your pup a handful before you add Grandma’s secret seasoning. Onions and garlic – common casserole additions – are toxic to dogs, so avoid these vegetables.


can dogs eat carrots

Another orange-hued veggie, carrots are also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins and fiber. Raw carrots are a dog’s best friend thanks to their satisfying crunch, but cooked (unseasoned) carrots are also a tasty treat. This root vegetable is high in antioxidants too, making it beneficial for pets with cancer.


can dogs eat pumpkin

Fall is full of orange, including its signature gourd. Pumpkins are perfect for pets raw or cooked, but always use fresh, pure pumpkin – not your leftover Jack-O-Lantern or canned pie filling! Full of fiber, pumpkin flesh and seeds add texture to homemade dog treats. Remember to avoid any sugar or spice when feeding pumpkin to pets.

Rolls and Bread

can dogs eat bread

Bread and rolls are another Thanksgiving table staple. Chock full of carbs, there’s really no nutritional benefit to feeding your dog bread or rolls. A minute amount of fiber can be found in whole-grain bread and dinner rolls, but who’s eating that on Thanksgiving?! Raw dough can be deadly for dogs – never give your pet anything containing yeast, which “rises” in the heat of a dog’s stomach.


can dogs eat apples

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, a Thanksgiving tradition. Slip your pup some sliced apples before you sweeten the pie filling! For an easy apple dog treat recipe, freeze cubed apples and plain yogurt in an ice cube tray. Again, leave out the sugar or cinnamon when feeding your dog apples.

Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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