Whether it’s a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, an
array of snacks while watching the parade, or something in between, for many
families Thanksgiving revolves around food. But where does your pet fit into
this? They’re a beloved family member so you understandably want them to be
involved, but can you feed your pet human food? The short answer is no, in
general, pets should not eat human food, but there are plenty of other ways you
can make Thanksgiving special for your pet.
Why should I avoid feeding
my pet human food?
It’s recommended that pets refrain from eating human food, not
because all food is bad for them but because many ingredients can cause serious
health issues. Aside from that, some less serious, but equally as unwanted
issues that come with feeding your pet human food include:
issues: Most human food is far too rich and fatty for our pets to digest
properly, which can lead to digestive issues such as bloating, vomiting, and
- Choking: With fish or
meat such as turkey, there is a risk that your pet chokes on bones that could
- Weight gain: Most human food
is given in addition to a pet’s regular diet, which results in them eating more
than they should, and ultimately, weight gain.
behavior: If you start feeding your pet food from the table, it may
encourage them to start begging or trying to steal food when you’re not
What foods should I
avoid feeding my pet?
There are several ingredients that are commonly found in
Thanksgiving dishes that are poisonous to pets, such as:
- Chocolate: A dessert staple, this is one of the most well-known human foods that are unsafe for pets. When consumed in small quantities it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but in large quantities, it can lead to muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, or a heart attack.
- Grapes and
raisins: A common ingredient in baked goods, charcuterie boards, and even
some side dishes. If consumed they can cause serious kidney damage.
- Macadamia nuts:
nuts, they can be found in many baked goods and if consumed, cause serious
issues like weakness, tremors, and vomiting.
- Onions: These are
commonly used in stuffing and other side dishes that go with turkey and can
cause anemia in dogs.
To see a larger list of foods that are not safe for your pet, take a look at this article. If you suspect that your pet has eaten anything on this list, contact your veterinarian immediately. If they are not open, contact your local 24-hour emergency clinic or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice.
Is it okay for my pet
to eat leftover Thanksgiving turkey?
It’s okay for your pet to eat a small portion of Thanksgiving
turkey, as long as you remove all of the skin so only the unseasoned meat
remains. However, we would always recommend opting for a completely pet-safe
turkey-based recipe instead.
Each of these recipes is made with US-raised turkey which is
delivered to our Freshpet Kitchens, then steam-cooked to lock in vital
nutrients. Everything we do is all done according to FDA and USDA standards,
under the oversight of four veterinary nutritionists, so you can rest assured
that each recipe is specifically formulated for pets without sacrificing the
quality of the ingredients.
This high protein, grain-free roll is made of fresh 100% natural
turkey with a medley of antioxidant-rich blueberries and cranberries. Plus,
like all of our Vital® recipes, it’s verified non-GMO.
This verified non-GMO recipe is made with 100% natural and antibiotic-free turkey, vitamin-rich spinach and carrots, high-fiber brown rice, and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Together, these ingredients combine to create delicious, healthy dog food that gives your dog the optimal nutrition they need for healthy digestion and a shiny coat.
This recipe is made of humanely-raised turkey, as well as
antioxidant-rich leafy greens and berries, for a grain-free, holistic option
for your pup.
If you want to take any of these recipes to the next level, you can always prepare an entire pet-friendly menu to go with them. For inspiration, take a look at the Freshpet edition of the best Thanksgiving meal for your pet. From our Freshpet family to yours, we hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!