Thursday, November 8, 2018

Top Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Can Eat

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I get hungry thinking about the turkey in the oven, the stuffing, and those mashed potatoes being whipped into shape.

I know I’m not the only one who loves Thanksgiving. I can tell my dog Henry is feeling pretty grateful when he’s right under foot in the kitchen, smelling those good smells from the oven, and watching every little movement to see if a piece of turkey might drop from the counter.

I’m very grateful for my dog Henry, and with any holiday, it’s fun to let your dog share in the celebration. Here are some different ideas for celebrating the food bounty of Thanksgiving with your dog.

First Things to Consider

Be careful with portion sizes. Holidays are a great time to celebrate with your dog, but they can also be a potentially dangerous time if food portions and treats are out of control. Try to keep their food portions consistent with what you normally provide, with a few Thanksgiving treats sprinkled throughout. You can rest assured they will love the holidays as much as you do, without a scary trip to the vet later.

Check with your vet. If your dog has had health issues in the past (allergies or gastro-intestinal problems, for instance), speak with your vet about any Thanksgiving foods or treats you’re unsure about beforehand.

Foods OK to Give

Boneless, skinless, unseasoned, 100% cooked turkey. It’s a hefty-looking list, but your dog should be completely safe to eat turkey if you follow the above requirements (and of course they’ll love you for it). Avoid the skin and bones, since the fat from the turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, and the bones can cause a choking hazard and potential rectal bleeding.

Orange Sweet Potatoes. My family loves to bake sweet potato casserole, but plain, cooked orange sweet potatoes are a tasty treat to give your dog on Turkey Day. Filled with Vitamin A, orange sweet potatoes are fantastic for your dog’s skin, coat, eyes, nerves and muscles, and they may even provide protection against heart disease. Naturally low in fat and gluten-free, they’re a simple way to incorporate loads of fiber and minerals into your dog’s diet. To pack the biggest nutritional punch, consider steaming or boiling the sweet potatoes, or buy plain, dehydrated sweet potato treats.

Raw green beans. Green beans are a great treat to give on Thanksgiving Day, as they’re low in calories, full of fiber, and offer lots of nutritional value with an array of vitamins. When your dog is looking up at you with those big needy eyes, you can be generous with green beans without feeling guilty. Raw green beans are the best option, but canned or steamed green beans are fine if the sodium count is low.

Carrots. If you have a new puppy going through the teething stage, raw, cold carrots can help relieve discomfort, and will provide a satisfying crunch. Like orange sweet potatoes, carrots are packed with fiber and Vitamin A, which is great for your dog’s immune and digestive system. If you decide to cook your carrots, make sure they are unseasoned, as spices such as garlic, onions, and salt can cause anemia and gastrointestinal irritation.

Sliced apples. Whether it’s warm baked apples or a homemade apple pie, your dog may be wondering if they too will get a piece on Thanksgiving. And while sugary glazed apples are a no-no, plain, sliced apples are another great Thanksgiving dog treat. Fresh apples can keep a dog’s teeth clean and fresh, while the healthy dose of fiber and vitamins helps regulate bowel movements. Be sure to remove the apple’s core and seeds, as they create a hazard for dogs. With any food, moderation is key.

Thanksgiving Food Alternatives to Try

If you’d like your dog to try special holiday treats, there are many healthy options to try. Below are some additional food ideas to serve your dog on Thanksgiving.

Adding a Treat to a Food Puzzle Toy. If your dog loves toys, adding a little bit of orange sweet potato, cooked pumpkin, or another treat of your choice into a puzzle dog toy is a fun Thanksgiving treat to give to your furry companion.

Flavored Wet Dog Food. If your dog normally has dry dog food, canned food can feel like a special treat. Many canned dog foods offer real, deboned turkey combined with other wholesome ingredients.

Flavored Dog Treats. There are many natural and healthy Thanksgiving treats to try, including dehydrated sweet potato, pumpkin, or apple treats, as well as freezer-dried turkey pieces.

Whether it’s a piece of cooked turkey or a new sweet potato treat, your dog is sure to love the Thanksgiving holiday, especially because they get to enjoy with you. Just like us, our pets should practice eating in moderation at Thanksgiving.

What kinds of treats do your dogs like on Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments below.

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