Group of friends eating outdoor. Woman feeding her dog

Thanksgiving brings families together around the dinner table which includes every family member – including pets. It’s hard to withstand those puppy dog eyes any time of year, and can seem next to impossible at holiday meals during the “season of giving.” Despite all the begging though, most of our holiday foods can cause major issues for pets.

For the holidays we have compiled this helpful list of foods to help keep you have a safe and pet-friendly Thanksgiving.

The Good (in moderation):

Turkey — As a lean protein, turkey can be good for your cat or dog. Stick with well-cooked white meat and remove the skin, which can be hard to digest.

Mashed potatoes — Plain mashed potatoes are fine for pets, but make sure you do not include any cheese, sour cream, butter, onions or gravy.

Vegetables — Plain green beans, carrots and sweet potatoes are among healthy vegetables for your pet. Avoid any seasonings or sauces.

Some fruits — Apples are a good source of vitamins and fiber for dogs and cats, but make sure no seeds are included. Blueberries, strawberries and bananas also are fine in moderation.

The Bad:

Turkey bones — It’s especially important to keep turkey bones away from your dog. Bird bones are hollow and break easily. Sharp pieces can get lodged in your dog’s intestine.

Onions and Garlic — Make sure to avoid alliums, the family of plants that includes onions, garlic, leeks, scallions and chives. Significant amounts of these foods can lead to toxic anemia in a pet.

Chocolate — Chocolate is always off limits for pets because they have trouble processing the theobromine, which is similar to caffeine.

Grapes — Many people are unaware that grapes and raisins can be toxic to pets by causing kidney failure.

Batter or dough — Cake batter often includes raw eggs that can contain salmonella bacteria, and raw bread dough can expand in your pet’s stomach, leading to vomiting and severe abdominal pain.

Additionally, too many vet visits come from other routine changes:

The Thanksgiving Trashcan — While everybody is focused on eating, the trashcan is often left unattended. It can contain not only foods your pets should not have, but also plastic packaging, aluminum foil and other problem items.

Guests Who Mean Well — Children or visitors who don’t have pets of their own may think they are doing a good thing by feeding your pet table scraps. It’s a good idea to let everyone know not to feed the animals.

This season we are all thankful for our pets and we want to celebrate them as well. Setting up some basic ground rules and making guests aware of what restrictions you have for your pets can make it a safe and happy holiday for everybody!