As the holidays approach indulgence is expected! But what about our pets? Can they indulge a little? While table feeding on a regular basis can lead to obesity and bad habits (e.g., begging), preparing your pet a special Thanksgiving “plate” of his own is okay, but only if you choose the foods wisely and keep the portions small!
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner usually consists of some food that you can feed to your pet—and food that your pet definitely can’t eat. Keep in mind that small portions of low-fat foods are best, as changes in your pet’s diet can lead to gastrointestinal upset (e.g., diarrhea and vomiting) and fatty foods can lead to a painful and serious condition called pancreatitis.
Some pets can’t tolerate any changes to their diet without experiencing gastrointestinal upset and some pets have special dietary restrictions. In these cases, avoid sharing your meal altogether, and instead share treats that your veterinarian has recommended or approved.
Here’s a list of pet safe foods to share in small portions. Make sure no one else is sharing with your pet too!
1) A small portion of lean white turkey meat is generally okay to share with your pet, but never share dark meat, skin, fat, or bones. And don’t be tempted to pour on the gravy – it’s far too fatty and typically too high in sodium to be shared with your pets.
2) Potatoes in moderation are safe to share, but only if they’re plain. Potato casseroles with cheese, butter, milk or cream, garlic, scallions, or chives are a no-no. if you plan to dress up your potatoes, set aside a few small pieces of cooked potato for your pet before you add all the good stuff!
3) Plain vegetables in small amounts, such as green beans, peas, corn (no cobs), broccoli (no stalks), and carrots can be shared with your pet.
4) Apple, pumpkin, or sweet potato pie are definitely off the menu for your pet! BUT while you’re preparing the pie, save a little chopped apple or a tablespoon or two of plain pumpkin puree or sweet potato to share with your pet.
If you plan to watch the big game (or games) on Thanksgiving Day with your family, avoid sharing classic “football snacks” with your pet. Most of these snacks (e.g., wings, chips and onion dip, mixed nuts, jalapeno poppers, and nachos) are not pet friendly. Keep these snacks out of reach to avoid a sneak attack from your pooch while you’re cheering on a blitz!
Keep your pet safe, happy, and healthy this Thanksgiving and be sure to fit in a walk or extra play session to work off those extra calories that you and your pet consumed!