Can Fido & Fluffy Eat People Food for Thanksgiving?

November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving food for pets

Most of us know by now to be careful what Thanksgiving foods we feed our pets. We know that cooked turkey bones could harm our cats and dogs. The cooked skin of turkey could cause stomach ailments, necessitating a holiday visit to the vet. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening. But do you know which traditional Thanksgiving foods are actually good for your furry friends? Here are a few that your dog or cat might enjoy in very small amounts.

Cranberries Support the Immune System

The little red fruit is full of antioxidants to boost the immune system and overall health. Some proponents believe cranberries also support urinary health. Check out some of the better pet foods, and you will find a few containing cranberries. Just beware of feeding the cranberry sauces we humans enjoy at our Thanksgiving meal because of the sugar content. Sugar is not good for pets and frankly, most animals won’t like the taste of plain cranberries.

Dogs love holiday foods

Sweet Potatoes Benefit Pets in Several Ways

Sweet Potatoes are full of vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fiber, and are included in many premium pet foods.  This yellow vegetable is also used in elimination diets for animals with suspected food allergies. At our home, we serve sweet potato dishes for Thanksgiving dinner but usually, they contain sugar or brown sugar and marshmallows which are bad for pets. Otherwise, this vegetable adds a lot of benefits to a canine or feline diet.

It goes without saying that our pets should not eat most of the side dishes we serve at holiday meals. Sliced carrots, on their own, would be a healthy snack for a dog or cat, but how many of us serve a dish of plain carrots? We will most likely dress it up with butter and some even use a brown sugar glaze. The extras will not sit well on Fido’s or Fluffy’s tummy. Green beans are great but not with the addition of sauces or onions. There’s nothing wrong with pumpkin for pets, but who among us serves plain pumpkin? If you want to give your dog or cat some of these vegetables, set aside a bite or two after cooking and before you add the extras that our families love.

Turkey May Not Be As Good As You Think

I was surprised to learn that turkey is not especially high in nutrition. In a quote from an article from a Pet Industry publication, it seems that the “turkey meat used as pet food ingredients is virtually identical to that used in hot dog production.” The quality of the nutrition is very similar to that of hot dogs. Consider feeding turkey to your dog or cat as a treat, not as a meal. Just remove the skin and any bones first.

Avoid feeding raisins, grapes, chocolate, or onions to your fur friends. Be sure to keep Aunt Ethel’s purse out of reach of nosy animals in case it contains a pack of sugar-free gum. The xylitol contained in the chewing gum will kill a small pet in minutes.

If you want to include Fido in your holiday plans, take him for a long walk after dinner. He will enjoy that just as much as a plate full of human food and the exercise will benefit both of you.

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