stock photo of dog with a carrot in his/her mouth

Curb Fido’s Turkey Day Feasting

Though it may be fun having your pet partake in the Thanksgiving meal, be cautious when giving handouts. Some food items are toxic to animals and can cause health problems down the road.

You should always use caution when feeding your pet human food, said Dr. Deborah Linder, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

“If your pet doesn’t have any medical conditions, they can have up to 10 percent of their daily calories from treats, including some human foods,” she said, noting, however, that some pets have sensitive stomachs and shouldn’t have any sudden changes in food.

Common Thanksgiving dishes can make healthy snacks for pets, Linder said. For instance, white meat turkey breast (40 calories per ounce), baby carrots (4-5 calories each) and green beans (2 calories each) won’t upset their balanced diets.

“Fruits and vegetables are usually the safest way to provide pets a little extra on the holidays without hurting them,” Linder said.

Linder warns against feeding your pet any of the following toxic foods.

  • Macadamia nuts.
  • Garlic.
  • Onions and chives.
  • Grapes.
  • Raisins.
  • Chocolate.
  • Xylitol (found in sugar-free gum and other products).

Onions and garlic can cause blood problems, while raisins and grapes can lead to kidney disease. She also warns against giving pets fatty foods, like turkey skin, that can cause vomiting or pancreatitis. Linder also cautions against giving pets bones, which can get stuck in airways or intestines.

If your pet eats something it shouldn’t, call your vet. If it’s not open, contact animal poison control for instructions.

For healthy human foods to give your pet, visit the Cummings Veterinary medical Center’s pet nutrition blog, Petfoodology, at

What healthy snacks do you share with your pet? Tell us in the comments!

For more articles on pets, click here.

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