For The Love Of Your Pets: Holiday treats for pets requires advanced planning

Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:18 a.m.

By John Beck

Thanksgiving is just days away and our house is busy getting ready for the gathering of relatives and one big, amazing meal. What, if anything, is appropriate to allow my dog to eat from our Thanksgiving spread?

A lot of people are doing the exact same thing, filling their house full of groceries, in anticipation of a huge feast with lots of friends and family.

There are many items that are commonly made for a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal that can be shared with your dog. Unfortunately, there are also many no-no items as well.

If you are preparing a turkey or ham, your dog is more than welcome to have a lean cut of the meat. You should avoid any fatty or skin only portions. Contrary to popular belief, the scraps and bones are not for the dog. Many raw or simply cooked vegetables are appropriate treats for your dog, including potatoes, yams, green beans, canned pumpkin (pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix), apples and unbuttered toast or bread.

Items that should be avoided include all the above vegetables/fruits after any cream, milk, butter, etc., is added to them. Also, avoid mushrooms, grapes, raisins/cranberries, croutons, onions, uncooked bread and sweets. A good train of thought is the more simple the food (no additives, seasoning, fats), the better.

If your dog has any pre-existing conditions, like diabetes or gastric complications, you should avoid treating it with human food.

There are other treat options for pets that shouldn't have any human foods. Take your pet's current diet and make it a little different. If your pet's current dog food offers a canned version, try the canned for a change of pace. You might consider keeping a bowl of regular dog treats around for you and your guests to give your dog. This will help deter the need to feed them the human food that is being prepared.

If you or your guests do offer some of your Thanksgiving meal to your dog, remember to keep everything in moderation. A small treat can go a long way for a dog.

If you have other questions regarding your pet's diet, feel free to contact me or your local veterinarian.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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