No matter how sadly and longingly they gaze at your freshly-roasted Thanksgiving turkey, think twice before you toss your pup a slice. 

You might think that it’s okay to share some of your Thanksgiving turkey with your dog, because it is so healthy. However, turkey that’s been stuffed and basted and seasoned is not safe for dogs. So if you don’t want to spend your holiday weekend cleaning up doggy diarrhea or rushing to the vet, keep all people food away from pets!

Why Is Thanksgiving Turkey Dangerous for Dogs?

With its high vitamin and protein content, turkey meat is an excellent source of nutrition for dogs. It’s a common ingredient in many brands of dog food, but remember—dog food is prepared differently than people food. Ingredients like butter, onions, garlic, and herbs could make your dog very sick. 

If your dog eats Thanksgiving turkey, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, or worse. So don’t be tempted to slip your dog any leftovers, and make sure they can’t get into the trash. Turkey is a healthy food for dogs, but only when it’s prepared the right way, so we’ve included a canine-friendly holiday menu below. 

The skin and bones of a turkey are even more dangerous for dogs. Turkey skin is extremely fatty, too fatty for dogs. It can contribute to problems like obesity and diabetes, or even cause pancreatitis, which can be deadly. And turkey bones are dangerous, too. They can easily splinter and slice up a dog’s gums, or cause internal injuries if swallowed. 

When Is Turkey Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Now, we know that leaving your dog out of the festivities doesn’t feel quite fair. So instead of letting them eat people food, why not serve up a special doggy dinner? All it takes is a little extra time. If you want to prepare a holiday feast for your dog, here’s how to do it.

Dog-Friendly Thanksgiving Menu

Plain Turkey Meat

The safest way to prepare turkey for a dog is to simmer it in water. Add the raw turkey to a deep pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer until the meat has cooked through. Let the turkey fully cool before serving, and be sure to remove any skin, fat, or bones. 

Cooked Turkey Giblets

If your turkey came with its giblets, you could cook them and slice them into bite-sized pieces to feed your dog. Boil and simmer them the same way that you would for the turkey meat above.

Baked Sweet Potato

Here’s an easy treat that your dog is sure to love! Pierce a sweet potato on all sides with a fork, then place it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven at 450º F for about 45 minutes. After it’s cool, simply slice in half, scoop out the sweet potato, and serve. 

Canned Pumpkin Pureé

This Thanksgiving side is even easier—as long as there are no added ingredients like spices, sugar, or salt, canned pumpkin is safe for dogs. It can even help combat diarrhea, if despite your best efforts, your dog does get into the trash.

Raw Carrots

No prep needed here. Carrots are fresh, crunchy, and rich in vitamins, plus they make great dental chews! Gnawing on a raw carrot can help remove plaque and give your dog cleaner teeth. 

Apple Slices

Peeled, sliced apples make a great dessert to finish off your dog’s Thanksgiving feast. Plus, they can even help give your pup fresher breath, which is ideal if you want to snuggle up together for a post-turkey nap.

Happy Thanksgiving from Anasazi Animal Clinic!

Sharing quality time with our furry family members is extra important during the holidays, but so is good nutrition. If you ever have questions about what to feed your dog, we can give them an exam and make personalized recommendations. We can advise you on the best diets to prevent disease and obesity, and we can even give your dog a dental cleaning.

No matter what type of veterinary care you need, we’ve got you covered. Contact us to make an appointment today.


Photo by Mike Burke on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 11/16/2023.