Dog at the dining table

Beware of the Feast: Common Thanksgiving Foods That Are Toxic to Pets

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Thanksgiving is a time of joy, gratitude, and delicious food. However, as we gather around the table to give thanks, it’s important to remember that some traditional Thanksgiving foods can pose serious risks to our furry friends. Here’s a guide to common Thanksgiving foods that are toxic to pets.

Sweet Treats: A Hidden Danger

Desserts are often the highlight of a Thanksgiving meal, but many of them contain ingredients that can be harmful to pets. Chocolate and other sweet holiday desserts often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs1. Even a small amount can cause life-threatening conditions like hypoglycemia and liver failure.

The Blue Australian Shepherd rested its head on the table. Fluffy dog in the apartment. Sad dog eyes. Home pet. Puppy begs for food

Fatty Foods: Not So Friendly

While it might be tempting to share some of your holiday ham or turkey skin with your pets, these fatty foods should be avoided2. High-fat foods can lead to pancreatitis in dogs and cats, a painful condition that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious complications.

Close up of man serving Thanksgiving turkey to his friend during a meal at dining table.

Grapes and Raisins: Small but Deadly

Grapes and raisins might seem harmless, but they are actually one of the most dangerous foods for dogs. Ingesting even a small amount can lead to sudden kidney failure, causing severe illness34. If you suspect your pet has eaten grapes or raisins, seek immediate veterinary help.

Nuts: A Risky Snack

Certain types of nuts, like macadamia nuts and walnuts, can be especially dangerous for dogs. These nuts can cause a toxic reaction within 12 hours of ingestion, leading to symptoms like vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia5.

Hidden Hazards: Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are prevalent in many holiday dishes, from stuffing to mashed potatoes. However, they can be toxic to pets, causing damage to their red blood cells and leading to anemia6.

Mashed potatoes with gravy, traditional side dish for Thanksgiving

Apples: Beware of the Core

While apples themselves aren’t harmful to dogs, their seeds can be. Large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic, so always cut around the core if you plan on sharing this fruit with your pet7.

Turkey and Salmon: Proceed with Caution

Turkey breast and smoked salmon can be safe for pets as long as they’re prepared properly. Ensure they are plain, without any seasonings or sauces that could be harmful. Also, never give your pet turkey bones, as they can pose a choking hazard8.

In conclusion, while Thanksgiving is a time for indulgence, it’s crucial to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Always double-check what foods are safe for your pet to consume, and when in doubt, it’s best to stick to their regular diet.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your furry friends!


  1. Fox Weather
  2. Pets Best
  3. Chewy
  4. BARCS
  5. Pawsitive Solutions
  6. ASPCA Pro
  7. NBC Chicago
  8. Small Door Vet

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