6 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Thanksgiving

Have a safe and happy holiday you and your dog can be thankful for.

By | Posted: November 19, 2015, 2 p.m. PST

The turkey is cooking, your mother-in-law is telling you how she would have made your signature dish, the kids are racing dangerously close to the perfectly set table, your grandmother is on her third holiday beverage and the dog is looking for every opportunity to help himself to a tasty Thanksgiving treat. Sound familiar?

Thanksgiving dog tips 

Chaos tends to find it's ways into festive family gatherings, but with these tips your can be cool and collected with at least one family member: the dog!

1. Give Treats, Not Scraps

While it's tempting to make your dog his own thanksgiving plate, it can be a danger. Many elements that make Thanksgiving dinners tasty to us such as onions, garlic, raisins, chocolate, and even some herbs, are extremely poisonous to your dog. While you may keep food dog safe, chances are other people have contributed to your meal who may not have kept the dog in mind. 

Instead of offering dangerous table scraps or leftovers, give your dog an extra doggy treat instead. His favorite type of dog treat, a couple of carrots, frozen peanut butter in a treat toy, even an extra serving of his own kibble are all safe treats that will still give your dog a taste of holiday cheer. Let family members know that they should not feed the dog anything from their plates and if you have little kids on your hands consider keeping the dog in another room during prep and meal time. 

The number one danger is toxicity caused by dogs ingesting either poisonous items or the proverbial "too much of a good thing is bad.”  

Safe Thanksgiving Treats for Your Dog 

2. Make No Bones About It

Resist that urge to throw your dog a bone. According to Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance, turkey bones are soft and, like all fowl bones, are hollow, so they can splinter easily, causing damage and/or obstruction to your pet’s digestive tract. 

3. Secure the Garbage

Most often the dogs that come to the emergency room during Thanksgiving got there from getting into the garbage, where they ingest not only too much turkey, but also harmful things like bones, chocolate, plastic wrappers, etc. Keep the tempting garbage out of reach of your dog. The safest place is outside or in a room the dog is blocked from. 

4. Provide a Distraction (or Twenty)

It will be hard to keep your dog away from the food and festivities, but with the proper distractions it can be done. Make sure you have safe toys and treats on hand to keep him busy and for when things get really chaotic, break out the treat stuffed toys that will give him a challenge.  

5. Hide the Holiday Plants  

Most of the indoor plants we like to decorate with during the holidays—poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, autumn crocus, Thanksgiving cactus—are toxic to pets. Keep these out of reach of your pet, or, better yet, buy fakes. 

See Our List of Toxic Plants>> 

6. Be Prepared

If your pet does ingest something, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (charges apply). Know which emergency vet clinics will be open during the holiday weekend and have their telephone number and address handy. 

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving! 

Traveling with Your Dog for Thanksgiving?  



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Cheryl - 801   Kansas City, MO

11/23/2015 7:46:46 AM

I make my dogs a special dinner just for them. Thanks for the tips.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

11/23/2015 3:25:43 AM

Great tips for the up coming holiday seasons.

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Melian and Tiny   Etna, CA

11/25/2014 11:56:01 PM

Great tips. I give my dogs scraps but I'm very careful about what types of
scraps.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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