Toxic Foods for Pets – Thanksgiving Edition

Last time on the Acoma Animal Clinic Blog we talked about the potential risks to your pet during the Halloween season. It wasn’t just about the tricks but also the treats that could find their way to our furry friends and cause some serious mischief! These toxic foods for pets aren’t only a worry on October 31st, however!

Well, it’s now just a couple of weeks later and another food-centric holiday is right around the corner. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost here, and while it is a great time to share food and cheer with friends and family, sharing with our pets can be a bad idea. Here are the foods to keep an eye on and make sure spot doesn’t try to run off with!

Toxic Food for Pets

Turkey Skin

No doubt you’ve had your dog hovering under the table, waiting for any and all scraps of the delicious bird to fall to their gaping maws. You think, ‘Hey, it’s meat right?’ and assume its okay. Small pieces of the white meat can be fine, but avoid the skin! Turkey skin is often rubbed and marinated in all sorts of spices and herbs, things like onion, garlic, and sage are toxic to pets!

Undercooked Meat

This should go without saying, but the same reason you avoid undercooked meat is why you shouldn’t be giving it to your pets! Undercooked meat has a higher risk of salmonella poisoning, neither you nor your pet want that!

Gravy, Stuffing

Like the turkey skin, the stuff that gets used for all those delicious flavors for us to enjoy are harmful to our pets! Mushrooms, sage, onions, leeks, garlic, chives, pepper, scallions – and more! These are all toxic foods for pets, and so, just don’t even risk offering Spot or Kitty gravy or stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole

Mmmm, just thinking of this one has our mouths watering.  Green beans regularly are a nice snack for pets, but when it gets whipped into a casserole that trouble starts. What are the other common ingredients in a green bean casserole? Mushroom soup and Fried onion toppings, as we’ve covered already, those things are toxic for pets, so hold off on giving them a taste.

Cranberry Sauce

This might surprise you but cranberries are fine for pets, in fact you might even see them listed on some of your pet’s food in the pantry. Cranberries do a lot of good, have healthy vitamins, fight off urinary infections. A super food, you think.

Well, once they get processed into that favorite holiday sauce, those beneficial aspects of cranberries are no more. The sauce contains massive amounts of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Those sauces made at home can also contain certain nuts and raisins, both of which are harmful for animals.

Fruit Salad

While we’re on the subject of fruits, let’s take a look at the common fruit salad. Commonly found in them are raisins, just like the cranberry sauce, and grapes. Both of which can cause serious fatal kidney issues.

Mashed Potatoes

A plain potato all on its own is fine (in moderation) but of course, mashed potatoes aren’t just that. Milk and butter are frequent ingredients and if your pet is lactose intolerant, it can easily upset their stomach. And of course, the flavorings. Garlic or onion, even in a powdered form can still be harmful.

Bread Dough or Cake Batter

What’s the whole point of bread dough? That when you warm it up, it rises. If your cat or dog as swallowed some bread dough, the expansion process that’ll happen is painful. These doughs and batters will also usually contain some amount of raw eggs, they have the chance to carry salmonella. If we’re really being honest here, neither pets nor humans should be eating raw dough.

Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts

Of the nuts, most are fine for dogs, though they probably won’t be too excited for them. Macadamia nuts and walnuts, however can cause some troubles. Macadamia nut toxicosis, for instance, can cause neurological symptoms including lethargy and vomiting. Walnuts meanwhile can cause gastric distress amongst other things.

Pumpkin Pie (and Sweet Potato)

I can say, hands down, that pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite food of the season. Once again, the basics of this food, the pumpkin and the sweet potatoes, are fine for pets. In fact, raw pumpkin can help settle an upset digestive system. But of course, like so many other delicious and fine treats, when it goes through the processes to be turned into a Thanksgiving tradition, it gets other ingredients that are harmful for pets. Cinnamon and nutmeg are some of the most common ingredients added to pumpkin and sweet potato pie, and they are dangerous to dogs. Cinnamon can cause diarrhea, liver disease, vomiting, and more. Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin. When ingested in large amounts it can cause seizures and other central nervous system problems.

thanksgiving turkey, toxic food for pets

Turkey Bone

Whether at Thanksgiving or any other time of year, cooked bones should never be given to your pets! Best case scenario, it just causes vomiting. The worst outcome is far worse, the bones splinter and can injure the insides of the pet, the stomach, and intestines. As you can imagine this is no good.


When it comes to ham and other pork products, even small pieces can quickly add a huge amount of calories to a small pet’s diet. They can also increase an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.


So many desserts contain chocolate and it really goes without saying what that can do to a pet.


Avoid putting these foods in the bowls of your pets. Instead, take a look at the real nutrition they need. With a bit of attention, you can be sure your pets are not eating any of that harmful stuff, and enjoy the post-Thanksgiving nap curled up with you. Happy holidays from all of us here at Acoma Animal Clinic!

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