Thanksgiving For Dogs: Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that involves spending time with family and friends. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the delicious food! As a result, it is only natural for pet owners to want to include their dogs in the Thanksgiving festivities. But of course you’re wondering, “can dogs eat turkey? What about other Thanksgiving foods?”.

While there are some common Thanksgiving foods that are completely fine to feed dogs in moderation, there are some others that should really be kept out of your dog’s reach. Most of the time this is because these foods are very unhealthy for dogs and can give them an upset stomach. However, some common Thanksgiving foods are toxic to dogs as well.

In this article, we will be explaining what Thanksgiving foods dogs can eat. Specifically, we will be taking a closer look into what parts of the Thanksgiving turkey are safe to feed dogs. Let’s get right into it!

Can dogs eat turkey in Terre Haute, Indiana

What Parts of Turkey Can Dogs Eat?

Turkey meat is a fine snack to give to dogs. After all, turkey meat is an excellent source of protein, and it is also a delicious snack for most dogs. This is especially true if the piece of turkey meat is not particularly fatty or seasoned, as these things are likely to give dogs a stomach ache.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

However, dogs cannot eat turkey bones. This is because turkey bones are notoriously brittle, which means that they tend to break apart as a dog is chewing on them. Unfortunately, this also means that dogs can easily swallow small pieces of turkey bones, which puts dogs at risk of choking and developing a bowel obstruction.

Both choking and bowel obstructions are potentially life threatening conditions in dogs that require emergency veterinary care. As a result, it is never a good idea to give your dog turkey bones for their safety.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Turkey Skin?

It is also not a good idea to feed your dog turkey skin because this part of the turkey is often very fatty and heavily seasoned. Although the turkey skin is not likely to cause an immediate medical emergency in dogs like turkey bones would, there are some adverse health effects that could occur.

To start off, most dogs will get an upset stomach after eating turkey skin due to its high fat and sodium content. This upset stomach may be paired with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. More seriously though, feeding your dog foods that are very high in fats could give them a condition called pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a serious medical condition in dogs that requires prompt veterinary care. This medical condition can range greatly in severity, so the treatment and prognosis will vary depending on the case. One thing is for sure though, you will likely save your dog a trip to the vet and yourself a lot of stress and heartbreak by keeping turkey skin and other fatty foods out of your dog’s bowl.

What Other Thanksgiving Foods Are Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Although there are definitely some common Thanksgiving dishes that you should not be feeding your dog, there are some others that are fine to give your dog in moderation. In fact, some common Thanksgiving foods are even nutritious for dogs. Here are some Thanksgiving dishes that are safe to feed your dog.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious snack for dogs. Just make sure that the sweet potatoes are fully cooked and that there are no unhealthy additives like butter or brown sugar on it before feeding the treat to your dog.

Cooked sweet potatoes by themselves are an excellent treat for dogs because they contain lots of healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just remember to give your dog sweet potato in moderation, because excessive amounts of fiber could cause some stomach upset.

Unsweetened Pumpkin

Like sweet potato, cooked pumpkin that contains no additives can be a great nutritious snack for dogs. This is because pumpkin contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that will enrich your dog’s diet and lots of fiber that can aid with healthy digestion.

Also like sweet potato though, it is best to give your dog cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree that contains no additives. This is because common additives like spices, salt, butter, garlic, and brown sugar are all very unhealthy for dogs. Similarly, it is important to make sure that any canned pumpkin that you feed your dog is 100% unsweetened pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.

Green Beans and Peas

Green beans and peas are also completely healthy for dogs in moderation. This is because these veggies contain nutrients and fiber. Just make sure that there is no salt or seasoning on them and that they are fully cooked before feeding them to your dog.


Apples are also a nutritious and healthy snack for dogs. For this treat, it is actually best to feed them to your dog raw since there are usually no additives to the fruit in this form. Similarly, it is important to keep apple seeds and cores away from your dog as they can get sick from eating them. Make sure to cut up any apples you serve your pup into chewable pieces.

What Thanksgiving Foods Are Unhealthy For Dogs?

There are some other Thanksgiving foods besides turkey bones and skin that you should keep away from your dog, though. Here are some other foods and dishes commonly eaten during the Holidays that can be dangerous for dogs to eat.

Sugary Treats

Excessive amounts of sugar should not be fed to your dog. Not only are these items incredibly unhealthy, but it can also cause diabetes when fed in high amounts.

Deserts That Contain Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, or Chocolate

Raisins, chocolate, and macadamia nuts are all common ingredients in deserts. Unfortunately, all of these ingredients are also toxic to dogs. As a result, sweet treats containing any of these items should never be fed to dogs.

Foods With Lots of Fat

Ingredients like butter, oil, and animal fat are incredibly unhealthy for dogs. These ingredients could easily cause dogs to have an upset stomach or develop the serious condition of pancreatitis.

Dishes Containing Lots of Seasoning, Onion, or Garlic

Seasoning often contains a lot of excess salt, and some seasonings like onion and garlic are even toxic to dogs. This includes onion and garlic in any form including raw, cooked, or in a powder.

Uncooked Dough With Yeast

Uncooked dough containing yeast can cause dogs to have an extremely upset stomach. This is because the yeast expands in the warmth of a dog’s stomach. Unfortunately, this hazard could cause an emergency trip to the vet.


Your dog can spend a happy Thanksgiving with you as long as you research before feeding them any of your dinner. Be kind to your pup and share a small plate of dog friendly foods with them on this holiday, but always be smart about what is on the plate! Referring back to this guide can help lead you in the right direction on what is appropriate for dogs this Thanksgiving. If you have any concerns or questions about your dog’s diet, Brown Veterinary Hospital in Terre Haute, IN is here to help! Reach out at 812-645-0715 or make an appointment today.

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We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.