Thanksgiving Dinner for your Cat or Dog

Dogs-and-cats-eating-300x199Say no to beggars! Thanksgiving dinner can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to feeding your pet table scraps. With so many do’s and don’ts for what your pet should eat, and with so many dishes filled with so many ingredients, it can be hard to keep track of what you can share. This is especially true if you’re uniting forces with other family or friends and there are several dishes that you didn’t prepare. So why not skip the guessing game and plan your pet’s thanksgiving dinner while you’re planning your own? All it takes is foresight and setting aside the right things for your pet to enjoy. Now everyone, including your furry family members, can enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday.

What’s on the menu?


Make sure any turkey you give your pet has the skin and bones removed. Both bone and skin pose choking hazards, and the skin is also difficult for your pet to digest. Because poultry bones are hollow and more brittle, they tend to break and splinter more easily. You don’t want a bone splinter ending up in your pet’s stomach! Cuts of plain turkey, given in moderation with other food, are a great Thanksgiving treat. Just be sure that your turkey didn’t come with extra ingredients. Some turkeys in the store are now sold with injections of butter. You won’t want to feed this kind of turkey to your pet. My husband and I like to inject all kinds of marinades and sauces into our turkey before we drop it in a deep fryer. Needless to say, our pet would be getting a cut from a completely different turkey. Or we might cut a piece from the raw, unprepared turkey and cook is separately just for our pet to enjoy.


You know that extra bag of stuff that comes inside a store-bought turkey? This year don’t pull it out and throw it away. That’s a pet treat goldmine! Giblets are additional edible parts of the turkey. They typically include the neck, heart, gizzard, and sometimes the liver. Aside from the liver, the giblets can typically be used to make turkey stock for the turkey pan or stuffing. When it comes to pets, however, any of the giblets, cooked or raw, can be a good snack for your cat or dog. If you decide to use the neck, pick it clean first so you won’t be giving your pet any of the neck bones. If you like, you can boil the giblets and also use the stock to add variety to your pet’s regular meals. Pouring a little stock over regular kibble will give your pet new flavors and textures to enjoy.


Some of the Thanksgiving veggie fare is also great for your cat or dog. It’s good to remember that all of these foods should be given in small amounts. Cooked pumpkin is a great addition to your pet’s meal. If you use it, be sure it’s plain pumpkin, not the ready-made pumpkin pie filling with all the spices. Plain, cooked sweet potatoes or regular potatoes are other good options. Before you add all the good ingredients to your mashed potatoes, set a little aside to use in your pet’s meal. You can also feed your pet cooked carrots, peas, and green beans, all without butter, of course.

Any of these items would be fine if given to your pet plain, but if you feel like preparing something special for your pet’s Thanksgiving dinner, you can take a selection of these pet-friendly foods, mix, mash, or process them, and serve them with your pet’s regular food. Or you could give the food to your pet in snack bites to keep them from begging for the other food on the Thanksgiving table.

What to avoid:

Remember that keeping it plain is the best policy. Food that is seasoned or that has butter, oils, onions, or sugars is not good for your pet. For example, turkey gravy will be too fatty for your pet. It may also contain seasonings and traces of onion if you used the turkey drippings to make it. The same goes for turkey stuffing: onions and too much butter mean your pet shouldn’t have it. Some say that cranberry sauce is ok, but you’ll want to watch the sugar content and any additional fruit puree that might be inside it. If you’re not sure that it would be ok, it’s probably best to avoid it.

Now that you know the ok food for your furry friend, you and your pets can enjoy a happy, feast-filled Thanksgiving holiday!



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