7 Thanksgiving Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dogs (and 3 Safe Options)

Your pets are part of your family, so when the family gathers around the Thanksgiving table, you might be tempted to save Fido a plate. But, your good intentions could have unpleasant consequences.

Many common Thanksgiving foods can cause health problems. Here’s what you should avoid and why. Plus, we have a couple of recipes that are pet-friendly and easy to make.

Chow down on these tips so that Fido doesn’t have to.

7 Thanksgiving Foods That Dogs Should Never Eat

1. Stuffing

Stuffing might be delicious comfort food, but it also usually contains onions and garlic, and both are toxic to dogs. Even if you just use onion or garlic powder in your stuffing recipe, they can still cause harm. Plus, bread on its own can cause upset tummies.

2. Pie

Pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie are all Thanksgiving staples — but dogs should never eat pie of any type, even fruit pies. That’s because added sugars can cause blood sugar problems and upset tummies. In the longterm, feeding your pets foods with added sugars can cause unhealthy weight gain and dental problems.

Sugar-free recipes can be especially toxic. Xylitol, a common sugar substitute, is toxic to dogs. To be safe, just leave the desserts out of your pets’ bowls. (By the way, these tips apply to cake, cookies, bars, and any other type of dessert you might make this holiday season.)

3. Turkey

Turkey meat itself isn’t bad for dogs as long as it hasn’t been cooked with butter, garlic, onions, grapes, or raisins. But turkey skin is high in fat, which can cause diarrhea and pancreatitis. Turkey bones also pose a risk. Dogs may choke on them or, if they do swallow the bone, they can cause intestinal blockages or even puncture wounds.

4. Cranberry Sauce

Remember that note about added sugars from the pie section? It applies here, too. Cranberry sauce — both the jellied and whole berry variety — is packed with sugar. Avoid the sugar crash and don’t let your pets have this one.

5. Grapes and Raisins

Many holiday recipes, like stuffing, bread pudding, and salads, call for grapes or raisins. Both are highly toxic to dogs. Remember, something being healthy to humans doesn’t mean it’s healthy for dogs or cats.

6. Gravy

Gravy is extremely high in fat, which can cause diarrhea or pancreatitis. Plus, gravy is sometimes cooked with onions or garlic or thickened with heavy cream. Store-bought gravy (that you would find in a paper packet or jar) is also extremely high in sodium, which can cause problems for dogs.

7. Marshmallows

Marshmallows often grace the top of a dish of caramelized sweet potatoes. While sweet potatoes themselves are healthy for dogs, marshmallows aren’t. Marshmallows sometimes contain Xylitol (which is toxic) but even if they don’t, they’re simply too sugary for your pet to eat.

These foods are all Thanksgiving staples, so it may seem like your pet can’t have any Thanksgiving goodies at all. But, we’ve got your back — here are some pet-safe goodies.

3 Thanksgiving-Inspired Goodies for Your Pets

1. Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

This tasty recipe isn’t just dog-friendly — it’s also affordable and quick to make. Plus, if you live somewhere that stays warm through Thanksgiving (like it does here in Sarasota, Florida), these frozen treats can help your pups cool down after a midday walk. You can make this recipe for a single serving or for many — it’s your choice!


  • 2 parts non-fat, plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt
  • 1 part canned pumpkin puree
  • Optional: 1 part mashed banana


  • In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, and mashed banana (if using). Mix until well-combined.
  • Fill small silicone baking molds (like these) about 2/3 of the way with the mixture.
  • Freeze for 2 hours or until frozen solid.
  • Let sit at room temperature for 2 minutes to soften slightly before serving.

2. Sweet Potatoes (Mashed, Roasted, or Dried)

Sweet potatoes are delicious, and making them dog-friendly is easy as pie. You can mash them, roast them, or dry them into a jerky. Just leave off any seasonings, oils, or sweeteners — just serve the potato itself!

3. Turkey

Confused about why this is on the bad list and the good list? It’s all in the preparation. Turkey itself is a lean meat which can be ideal for pups. If you want to prepare a Thanksgiving plate for your pet, buy some ground turkey or a bit of turkey breast. Then, cook it without seasoning. It’s low in fat and bone-free, and can satisfy any turkey day cravings your pet might be having.

If DIY isn’t your thing, you can order holiday-inspired pawTree pet treats here.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to our awesome pets by keeping them safe, well-fed, and happy!

If you’re based in downtown Sarasota, FL and are in need of a holiday petsitter, reach out to us to book a complimentary meet and greet.

Posted by
Cassandra Corrado