Talkin’ Turkey-Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips For Your Pet

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather for food and fun. By following these food safety tips, you can keep your furry family members safe and truly have a happy Thanksgiving.


  • Turkey:  A treat sized portion of white meat is okay, but beware of the skin.  Turkey skin contains a high fat content and is often loaded with added oils and seasonings and could be a stomach ache waiting to happen.  Too much of this fat could lead to pancreatitis.  Bones can be brittle and can lodge in the intestines.
  • Sage:  Sage contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset.  Cats are especially sensitive to sage.
  • Nutmeg:  This spice is often found in sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.  It can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your pet ingests it.  Both sweet potatoes and pumpkin are good for your pet in moderation.  Just make sure they don’t have any nutmeg!
  • Gravy:  Gravy and other fatty foods and trimmings are known to cause pancreatitis.
  • Onions: Did you know that onions can lead to a threatening form of anemia?  It can often go undetected until it is too late.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins are considered toxic and can cause kidney damage in both dogs and cats.
  • Food Wrappings: Wax paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil or other food wrappings are often appealing to pets as they try to get a morsel of food or drop of gravy.  Ingestion of these items can lead to an intestinal obstruction.
  • Bread Dough: Don’t give your pet raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide, gas, and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency.
  • Xylitol: Sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to animals and potentially deadly to dogs.
  • Alcohol:  This is a definite no no for pets.  Even a small amount can be toxic to a smaller animal.  Also keep in mind that alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruit cake.


(Information taken from ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, and PetMD)