Should You Give Your Dog Thanksgiving Table Scraps?

The holiday season is about to begin, and that means that you’ll probably be hosting a few dinners or get-togethers with your friends and family in the next few weeks – you may even be hosting Thanksgiving dinner! If you have pets, though, you should be mindful that having lots of new people in your home can be a little stressful for them, so make sure you pay a little extra attention to your four-legged friends. If your dogs are like most, they probably love to sit by your feet at the table and wait for scraps, but keep in mind that while there are some dishes that you can safely share with your pup, some should be avoided entirely.

The overall key is to keep it minimal, notes the ASPCA. While a few bites or licks of something won’t hurt your furry friend, overindulgence under the dinner table can lead to upset stomachs, diarrhea or even pancreatitis. If your older pet has a sensitive stomach to begin with, it might be best to skip the table scraps all together and stick to their regular diet.

If your dog’s tummy can handle a bit of human food, though, you can share a bite of turkey with them after your meal is over. Just make sure there are no bones in the meat, and that it’s fully cooked – don’t think that uncooked scraps or the turkey neck are good options. Any small bones that you might find in a piece of turkey can cause damage to your pup’s digestive tract.

Dogs are also very sensitive to salmonella, which is why uncooked and undercooked meat should stay out of your pup’s dish. Keep this in mind while you’re cooking and make sure your dog can’t accidentally snag a bite of raw dough batter either. Dough often uses eggs as one of the ingredients, and they may contain salmonella that is killed through cooking, but that could pose a problem if ingested by your dog. Yeast in raw dough can also be problematic, leading to gas, internal swelling and even the production of alcohols in some instances – a potentially life-threatening issue – so it’s definitely best to keep the dough out of reach.

If your pup has a sweet tooth, he or she can have a taste of pumpkin pie, but don’t offer him a whole slice – stick to a small bite or less! Too much of this rich treat can cause upset stomachs, leading to more messes than just dirty dishes to clean up after the guests leave.

Don’t forget the great veggie options that are on the table too. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are great and healthy options for your pup – and a frequent ingredient in many dog kibble varieties. The veggies on your plate are good for your canine friend’s food bowl, as well.

Keep these tips in mind while your pup is begging for snacks under the dinner table, and make sure to share your rules with your guests! They may not know that some human food isn’t good for your pup, so make sure to let them know that they can’t fall prey to those begging puppy dog eyes.