Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, as it brings families and friends closer together in the shared joy of eating way too much food. However, as we know, our dogs are a part of our family as well, and it would be terrible to leave them out of the festivities! Unfortunately fixing your pup a plate of what everyone else is eating is not a very healthy option, so we’ll provide here a guide on how to include your furry pals without making them sick. They’ll thank you later!
Know What Foods Are Dangerous
Dog owners are generally familiar with the long list of people foods that dogs cannot eat. While keeping those foods in mind might come second nature, there are elements of holiday safety planning that might slip the minds of even the most careful dog owners. For instance, even a Thanksgiving floral arrangement could pose a risk if an excitable dog decides to munch on some dog-unfriendly flowers. If you’re unsure of what those include, on their website the ASPCA provides a long list of plants that are toxic to dogs, but when in doubt, either decorate with items that dogs won’t be tempted to eat, or keep plant-centric arrangements in an area where your dog won’t have access.
If you’re on kitchen duty this Thanksgiving, it’s also important to note that there are many foods that are dangerous to dogs, especially when they are in the process of being prepared. Any uncooked or undercooked meat can be considered unsafe for doggy consumption. Raw bread dough that contains yeast does some wacky things in a dog’s stomach. After the raw dough is consumed, the yeast will convert the sugars in the dough into carbon dioxide gas and ethyl alcohol. A drunken dog, unlike an unexpectedly drunk cousin, is no laughing matter, and would require immediate medical attention. For this reason, keep any and all canines away from bread dough.
Raw cake batter, or any batter that includes raw eggs, should also be safely away from any pets in the house. Bacteria, such as salmonella, could cause really bad food poisoning for your dog. Salmonella is also the reason why uncooked or undercooked turkey should be inaccessible to your dog at all times. If you do decide to feed your dog any turkey at all, ensure that it is thoroughly cooked, and that all of the bones are removed. Bones can cause problems for a dog’s digestive tract.
Keep Your Dog Away From The Dinner Table
Once all of the food is cooked, the primary concern left on the table is keeping your dog off of the table and in a zone that is safely people-food free. While much of the food that you’ve prepared for your Thanksgiving feast may not be intrinsically toxic to canines, it is good policy not to feed human food to your dog, even during the holidays. If your dog is the type that treats training like “guidelines” more than rules, it might be worth having them outside or in an area where they won’t be tempted to jump on a table or counter and eat a whole bunch of something that’s not made for dogs. Alcohol alone would pose a major health risk. Basic foods such as well-cooked turkey, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce would probably be okay in small amounts, but too much or any other foods could mean: best case scenario, an upset stomach and diarrhea; worst case scenario, pancreatitis.
Stick To Routine
Keeping dogs on their normal diets for thanksgiving is most recommended, and the trick for avoiding a fuss when it comes time for human dinner, is feeding your dog before everyone else’s feast is served. When it comes time to bring out the people food, your dog should already be full. Setting him or her up with a chew toy or dog bone is another great method of distraction. That way, your dog can feel included without eating foods that might cause illness.
Make A Special Treat
If you find that feeding your dog what he usually eats on a holiday is no fun, there are a couple of options. One option is to make your dog a holiday-themed treat. The easiest way to do that would be to take one of a million dog treat recipes on the web and to use a turkey-shaped cookie cutter for style. For more ambitious dog owners, there are a wealth of other treat recipes that specifically use Thanksgiving mainstays such as turkey, cranberry, and sweet potato. Those three ingredients in particular, are not very offensive to dog stomachs, if a dog is the intended diner. Turkey that is seasoned for people to eat, may contain garlic, onion, or chives, which contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs. That’s why it is absolutely necessary to pull from two separate cookbooks.
Prepare Leftovers Safely
If you’d like to make your dog a meal out of thanksgiving leftovers, we’ve got a mouthwatering combination that your dog is sure to love. Prepare one pound of cooked and diced skinless-boneless turkey, one pound of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, two tablespoons of cranberry, and 4 tablespoons of turkey gravy, which can be substituted with olive oil or omitted if your dog is sensitive to fat in their diet. Mix all of these items well and they’ll be ready to serve. A serving for a small dog is ¾ cup, 1 ½ for a medium dog, and 3 cups for a large dog.
If that sounds like too much work when you’ve already got in-laws over your shoulder, you’re in luck. There are pre-made foods available to buy that are holiday themed, safe, and as easy as opening up a can. Our recommendation is Merrick Classic Thanksgiving Day Dinner.
Merrick Classic’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner is a wonderful way to treat your dog during the holidays without posing any safety issues. In fact, this canned dinner is a very healthy choice compared to many dog foods, as it is grain-free and meat is the number one ingredient. It is USA-made, and contains a turkey stew, made with sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and Granny Smith apples. It’s healthy enough to be included in an everyday diet, so you can set your dog up with his or her new favorite food beginning this Thanksgiving!