Love sharing food with pets? Here’s what’s OK from the Thanksgiving table

A man at a dinner table feeds a dog. (Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.)

We all love spoiling our pets, and amid the spoiling we do to ourselves on Thanksgiving with all the delicious food, some of us consider doing the same for our pets.

We get it -- it kind of feels natural to want to share in the deliciousness. However, it’s important to be aware of what’s actually safe for our furry friends.

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Here are the Thanksgiving foods that can be safe to share with your pets (in extreme moderation!), according to the Pet Health Network.

  • Turkey breast: This one is OK to feed your pet in very small amounts. Fatty foods (like trimmings, turkey skin and gravy) can lead to inflammation in the pancreas, which can be life-threatening for dogs and cats. It’s also important to keep in mind that particular breeds of dogs — like miniature schnauzers, Shetland Sheepdogs and Yorkshire terriers — are predisposed to pancreatitis, so avoid feeding them meat snacks at all. You’ll also want to be especially mindful of any bones in the meat.
  • Vegetables: As long as the veggies aren’t smothered in anything fatty like gravy or butter, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, green beans and sweet potatoes are a high-fiber, low-calorie snack.
  • Bread: There’s an important distinction to be made between baked and unbaked bread. A small piece of baked bread should be a safe snack for dogs. However, it’s important to keep unbaked breads out of their reach. According to the Pet Health Network, the yeast and sugar in bread dough can result in carbon dioxide and ethanol formation in a dog’s stomach, which can lead to low blood sugar, bloating or even alcohol poisoning.
  • Salmon: As long as it isn’t smothered in butter, a small amount can be a safe, healthy treat for your dog or cat.
  • Cheese: A small amount of cheese should be fine, but don’t go overboard. Even though there is a small amount of lactose in cheese, dogs and cats can be intolerant, so be mindful.
  • Stuffing: Proceed with caution on this one. It all depends on the ingredients in the stuff, so avoid sharing with your pet if it contains onions, garlic or raisins. Otherwise, it’s OK to share, but in very small amounts.

While many of the foods mentioned above are OK, it’s important to remember that they still require moderation.

On the flip side, desserts are best kept at the human table.

Because common ingredients in desserts -- like nutmeg, chocolate and raisins -- can be toxic to your pet, it’s best to avoid allowing them to ingest any of it.

If you want to ensure your pup or cat will stay out of the vet clinic over the holidays, it’s always safe to just stick to their regular food.

About the Author:

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.