The ultimate guide to a dog-friendly Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: Syd Wachs

If you’re expecting any four-legged guests at your Thanksgiving gathering, you can easily create a pet-friendly spread that ensures everyone is included in the festivities. We’ve compiled the best dog-friendly Thanksgiving recipes and tips from around the web to make your Thanksgiving pet-inclusive.


Thanksgiving gourds

Photo by Andrew Pons. source: 


Gourds are a staple of any winter feast, and they are generally dog-friendly. Some people advise staying away from the Japanese Kabocha squash, claiming dogs can get sick if they eat too much of it. Sweet potatoes are super nutritional for dogs. If any of your dishes include baked sweet potatoes, set some plain ones aside for your dog.

Green beans are high in fiber, potassium, and magnesium, making them a nutritional addition to any meal. Simply steaming them is the way to go if you’re giving them to your doggo, as toppings such as butter or onions are bad for your dog. Carrots are another doggie favorite, high in vitamins A and C, and best served either raw or steamed!

Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo

Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo. source:


First thing’s first: you definitely should not feed your dog any bones for several reasons which you can read about here. Plain white meat (no skin, bones, or fat) is perfectly fine to give to dogs. Dark meat is higher in fat content and therefore less safe, but in moderate amounts should do no harm.

If you feel like being crafty, try your hand at these easy sweet potato turkey meatballs!

Photo by Toa Heftiba.

Photo by Toa Heftiba. source:


For dessert, try these no-bake pumpkin peanut butter cookies. Pumpkin has several health benefits for pets, including aiding digestion and killing parasites, and contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals. Don’t let your dog have any pie or ice cream (no matter how hard they beg) because they may contain harmful ingredients such as nutmeg, chocolate, or salt.

Filling a Kong with food and treats is a sure-fire way to keep your dog interested in food.

Filling a Kong with food and treats is a sure-fire way to keep your dog interested in food.

Make dinner fun for your dogs!

If you have kids coming to dinner, or other guests who might be tempted to feed your pup scraps from the table, it might be in your best interest to keep your dog occupied with puzzles or games during dinner. We recommend feeding your dog with a Kong or one of Outward Hound’s Fun Feeders to keep them interested in their food while you enjoy your dinner at the table.

Food Unsafe for Dogs

While you can’t always control what your relatives will do at Thanksgiving dinner, you can prevent a trip to the vet by keeping these foods away from your pup:

  • Sage
  • Nutmeg
  • Turkey skin & bones
  • Gravy
  • Plums, Raisins, Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Onions & Garlic
  • Chocolate, dough, and batter
  • Alcohol

If your dog exhibits vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, a painful abdomen, or changes in their personality, you should consult your veterinarian to make sure your dog hasn’t eaten something poisonous to them.


There are so many ways to make the holidays fun and accessible for all your guests– both two and four-legged. We hope your Thanksgiving is fun, safe, and delicious!

Schedule an assessment Become a Member!