Can Dogs Eat Thanksgiving Turkey?


Thanksgiving is the time when we all give thanks for the things we’re grateful for, including the delicious food that’ll be consumed over the holidays!

We know that many dog owners want to involve their furry friends in all the fun festivities, from gift-giving to spoiling them with yummy food. However, it’s important to know which foods are safe for your dog to eat during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keep reading as we explore whether dogs can enjoy some Thanksgiving turkey too, and what festive foods should be avoided.

There’s no denying that Thanksgiving is an exciting time for the whole family, and that includes the canine members of the family too! Plus, as it marks the beginning of the holiday season, you may want to get ahead and fill a Santa sack with gifts for your dog or pick them out a fun Christmas outfit for them to wear.

If you want to dish up a turkey dinner for your dog, there are foods that you should avoid as they could result in digestive issues and an emergency trip to the vet. When it comes to feeding your dog, knowing what foods are toxic to your dog is essential.

You may look at your full plate on Thanksgiving day (and the puppy eyes looking up at you) and wonder if you can share some with your pup. Well, keep reading as we dig into these common turkey-dinner-related questions!

Can I give my dog a Thanksgiving dinner? 

In short, the answer is yes. Dogs can eat a small Thanksgiving dinner if it consists of plain turkey and unseasoned, plain vegetables like green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas. However, it’s worth noting that too much veg can cause your dog an upset tummy and excessive wind.

How you prepare your dog’s Thanksgiving dinner also plays a huge part in whether it’s safe for them to eat, for instance, food cooked with onion and garlic can be toxic. Many foods in a typical Thanksgiving dinner are also high in fat and salt and therefore not suitable for your pooch. 

If your dog has had any previous medical issues or is on a strict diet, their tummy may also be more sensitive so it’s important to take this into consideration before you introduce new foods to them.

Can dogs eat turkey?

Turkey isn’t toxic to dogs, however, it’s important that you only feed your pup plain white turkey meat with no bones. Rich in nutrients like protein, riboflavin and phosphorous, plain turkey is a great source of protein in your dog’s diet and it’s often found in kibble and dog treats.

Turkey mince that’s plain and includes no additives is also okay for your pooch to consume when cooked thoroughly.

How to feed your dog turkey safely:

The issue with feeding your dog turkey isn’t the meat itself, but more the preparation and the seasonings that are added to it. We humans are big fans of stuffing our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys and often coat them in fats, herbs, and spices to make them indulgent and super tasty. However, these added extras can cause serious health issues for your pooch.

If you want to treat your dog to some turkey during the holidays, there are a few things you need to be aware of to make sure it’s safe for your dog to eat:

  • Remove the turkey skin and avoid seasoning. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause pancreatitis and seasoning can irritate your dog’s stomach and make them unwell.

  • Only feed your dog small amounts of turkey. If your pup isn’t used to having food scraps in their diet then it’s a good idea to speak to your vet first, especially if they’ve had previous health conditions.

  • It’s important to only feed your dog plain turkey meat. While it’s common to include onions and garlic as part of your Thanksgiving dinner, these ingredients can be toxic to your dog.

  • Make sure there are no bones in the turkey meat before you feed your dog as these can be a choking hazard. Poultry bones are particularly brittle and dangerous for dogs.

Can dogs eat stuffing?

As stuffing often contains garlic, onion, and other herbs, it’s a no-go for your dog as these ingredients are toxic. Other herbs can also cause stomach upset for your pup so remember that plain is best.

Can dogs eat gravy? 

As with turkey skin, gravy may be tasty but is far too salty and fatty for dogs. Trust us, they really won’t mind that their Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t include gravy!

Can dogs eat potatoes?  

Who doesn’t love potatoes as part of a Thanksgiving dinner? Roast, mashed, boiled… However, when it comes to your pup, you should only feed them plain mashed or boiled potatoes with nothing else added to them (like butter, oil, or seasonings). Moderation is also important as potatoes are high in starch, which dogs can struggle to digest.   

Can dogs eat vegetables?

If you want to give your dog a small turkey dinner of their own, then there are lots of vegetables that are safe for your pooch to munch. Delicious and nutritious, vegetables are a great way to provide your hound with an abundance of vitamins to give their diet a healthy boost.

Remember that when it comes to your pooch, plain is key, so skip on butter, oil, and seasonings when dishing up vegetables for your dog and avoid any members of the bulb family (like onion, garlic, leeks, and shallots), as they’re highly poisonous for dogs.

Here are some of the best dog-safe veggies to give your dog during Thanksgiving: 

  • Carrots

  • Green beans

  • Parsnips

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Cauliflower

  • Peas

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Broccoli

Just make sure that your pooch doesn’t wolf down too many veggies as this can result in excess wind and a tummy upset.

More dog Thanksgiving food tips

  • Don’t overfeed your dog: It’s tempting to indulge over the holidays, but as always, it’s important not to overfeed your pup

  • Don’t give your dog alcohol or caffeine, save it for the hoomans!

  • Don’t give your dog any bones to chew on, they risk being a choking hazard

  • Do ask guests in your home not to feed your dog, nobody knows your dog’s diet better than you!

  • Do carefully dispose of wrappers, especially sweet and chocolate wrappers

  • Do take your bins out regularly and keep them out of paws’ reach from your pooch

  • Do check out Yappy’s list of foods that are toxic to dogs for more info

What to do if you think your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have 

If you suspect that your dog has pinched some turkey from your plate when you weren’t looking or they’ve become unwell and you suspect food poisoning, then the first thing to do is to try and identify what your pup has eaten or had in their mouth and keep any packaging or evidence so you can inform your vet.

If your pup is sick or has obvious stomach pain, diarrhoea or constipation or loss of appetite, you should contact your vet. And unless advised, don’t try to make your dog sick as this could potentially do more damage.

Dog Christmas gifts at Yappy

The festivities are just beginning and Christmas is the most wagnificent time to spoil your dog! Why not go all out and treat them to the sleep of their dreams with a new snuggly blanket or pillow? Not only are they super comfortable for your furry friend but they look wonderful in the home and make a great gift for dog lovers too.

If your want your pup to join in with the festive fun then your dog will look super cute in a Christmas bandana! Why not wrap it in personalized gift wrap and stash it in your dog’s very own Santa sack? Pawfect!


If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us on

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