Thanksgiving Foods That are Harmful to Your Pet


In just a couple of weeks, we will be gathering for Thanksgiving with family and friends.  With the excitement of seeing loved ones for perhaps the first time in a long time, the warm scent of the feast cooking and giving thanks for all we have, it’s important to not forget our furry family members to ensure their Thanksgiving weekend is happy too.  Rover and Kitty may be close by in the kitchen hoping for a few handouts, but there are some Thanksgiving table items that can be harmful to our pets.

Here are the top four:

Onions and garlic: These vegetables are common in Thanksgiving casseroles, stuffing, mashed potatoes and many other items, and can be toxic to pets. They belong to the Allium family and can cause damage to the red blood cells in cats and dogs.  If your pet ingests a large amount of garlic or onions, contact your veterinarian right away.

Animal bones: Cooked animal bones tend to splinter easily, so there is a risk of choking and damage to the esophagus and obstruction or perforation of the digestive tract should your pet eat them.  Poultry bones can be particularly nasty. If they do eat some of these bones, monitor for loss of appetite, vomiting and lethargy.  Contact your veterinarian immediately should any of these signs occur.

Bouillon concentrates and cubes: Many people use bouillon cubes when making stocks and gravy.  Bouillon cubes and concentrates contain a very high amount of sodium and ingestion of these products may cause electrolyte imbalance in pets. Watch for gastrointestinal upset, excessive drinking of water, lack of balance or coordination, tremors and seizures if your pet has eaten bullion.  If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. If untreated, pets can develop a build-up of fluid around the brain, which can be fatal.

Baked goods:  Pumpkin and apple pie are classics at this time of year.  While the pumpkin and apples are generally not an issue in moderation, large amounts of sugar and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg can lead to problems if ingested by your pet. Raisins can cause severe kidney damage and even failure even if ingested in small quantities.  Baked goods made with xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure.

Foods that will not harm your dog include, in moderation, cooked turkey, carrots, green beans, celery, zucchini and raw sweet potato!

Thanksgiving would be a great time to get your pet a few of their favourite treats or toys to keep them occupied during meal preparation and the feast itself!