Dog Thanksgiving Tips: Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

We all look forward to spending Thanksgiving dinner with our families, which often includes our dogs.


After all, they are part of the family and love to be the center of attention.

Dogs also like being handed treats by family members and guests.

However, this can be dangerous — even fatal — to your dog.

Here’s how to keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving…


Can Dogs Have Turkey?

dog-eyeing-thanksgiving-ham-by-gerald5.jpgIn case you’re wondering, yes you can give your dog some turkey and even a little gravy.

When placing the meat in your dog’s bowl, be sure to remove all pieces of bone.

Dogs and turkey bones aren’t a good combination.

Just like chicken bones, turkey bones splinter and can cause blockage or perforation of the intestine.

A veterinarian weighs in: Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?


Avoiding Canine Pancreatitis

Also use caution when feeding your dog turkey skin. It’s great for a treat, but too much can cause a case of canine pancreatitis.

Canine pancreatitis causes severe diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration.

Other symptoms include: severe pain, refusal to eat, crying, weakness and irritability.

Before you let your dog dine on your Thanksgiving turkey feast, read these tips:



Other Thanksgiving Dangers For Dogs

dog-on-counter-by-glynnis-ritchie.jpgNever leave turkey or other foods on the table or counter where your dog can get to it while everyone is enjoying the festivities.

If your dog has a dog run, kennel, or crate, your best bet is to keep him safely inside it until all of the food has been put away and the scraps and bones disposed of.

Other Thanksgiving dangers for dogs include turkey pop-ups, string, skewers, cellophane wrap, tin foil and plastic bags.

dog-in-garbage-bag-by-sandstep.jpgThe best way I’ve found to dispose of these things is in metal coffee cans with a tight-fitting lid.

Once the meal is over, place turkey bones in the garbage and remove the garbage bag from the room.

It should immediately be placed in a garbage bin — where it can’t be accessed by pets or wildlife.

As a reminder, dogs and alcohol don’t mix either.



Warning Signs That Something’s Wrong

a-sick-dog-by-marj-k.jpg If your dog eats excessive turkey or other foods dangerous to dogs, it may take up to a week before symptoms are evident.

Most symptoms of food-related illnesses in dogs include depression, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting and bloat.

Canine bloat can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Bloat is caused by excess fluid and/or gas in the intestines and stomach. This can cause the stomach to dilate and rotate. Rotation of your dog’s stomach is known as gastric torsion. This is common in larger dogs that have a deep chest. It is a life-threatening condition.

Symptoms of bloat in dogs include excessive salivating, lethargy, stomach distention, rapid pulse, retching and weakness.


In Case Of Emergency…

If you think someone gave your dog too much turkey or table food, contact your vet immediately. The same is true if your dog got into the trash and ate something he shouldn’t have.

Since most vet offices are closed on holidays (including Thanksgiving), you should have an emergency contact number on hand. Most likely, this will be the nearest Pet Emergency Center.

Be sure to caution your Thanksgiving guests about giving turkey and other table food to your dog. Insist that there be no sharing… and stick to your guns!


lap-dog-wants-table-food-by-numstead.jpgDoggie Alternatives For Thanksgiving Treats

It’s up to you to keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving.

Instead of giving him table scraps, make some Thanksgiving dog treats as a way to include your dog in the Thanksgiving meal.

Here are a few to try:

Check out this video that highlights the dangers of feeding your dog table scraps…



I love writing about almost anything, especially my life experiences. Other favorite things to write are how-tos, household hints, nature and fishing articles, among others.

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