Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together, give thanks, eat wonderful food and then pass out in front of the TV watching football. It’s also a great time for clever dogs to sneak off with the trimmings.
While tossing your dog a carrot or two, or even a piece of cooked turkey here and there, won’t be too harmful (here’s a list of more safe foods), some other Thanksgiving goodies are bad for him.
You should not give your dog the following 10 foods on Thanksgiving – or any other day, for that matter.
It seems counterintuitive, but bones are bad for dogs. Carmela Stamper, DVM, a veterinarian in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said, “Bones are unsafe, no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them.”
2. Raw or undercooked turkey
Turkey Day’s main dish is dangerous for one reason: salmonella bacteria. Even though you may believe your dog’s stomach is iron-clad, it’s not.
3. Turkey skin
Seems harmless enough, right? It’s just the skin. But fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. Your dog’s pancreas can even become inflamed, resulting in pancreatitis, a very serious disease. Turkey skin isn’t good for you, either, so it’s best to throw it away and make more room for the mashed potatoes and gravy.
4. Dough and cake batter
It may sound like an urban legend, but the combination of raw dough and your dog’s body heat can actually cause the dough to rise inside his stomach. This will make your dog vomit while suffering severe abdominal pain and bloating. Not to mention that the batter used in cakes and pies has raw eggs, which could contain salmonella bacteria. If you’re making a cake or pie, make sure your dog is not in the kitchen, and clean up any scraps or droppings that hit the floor right away.
Some dogs love beer, but this doesn’t mean you should share a cold one with your dog. It can really do a number on your dog’s stomach. Depending on how much he consumes, the hops can cause your dog to have a fever, rapid heartbeat, seizures and liver damage. It can even be lethal.
6. Macadamia nuts
These nuts in particular are very bad for your dog. In fact, they could cause a reaction called macadamia nut toxicosis. The symptoms range from lethargy and vomiting to your dog being unable to stand up.
Fungi are good for you, but bad for your dog. Should your dog ingest mushrooms, you can expect a slew of unwelcome symptoms that could become quite severe, including vomiting, seizures, coma and possibly death.
8. Onions and garlic
These two culprits are always on the list of foods your dog should not eat, and for very good reason: they can make your dog very sick. Both onions and garlic contain sulfides, which are toxic to dogs and can cause the destruction of red blood cells, leading to anemia.
This multi-purpose herb is used in countless recipes and for cleansing a new home, but for dogs, sage is bad. It contains essential oils and resins that can upset a dog’s stomach and do a number on his central nervous system.
Nutmeg is a sneaky spice. Found in sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin pie and most desserts, nutmeg has mild hallucinogenic properties that, when ingested by your dog, can cause seizures, tremors and central nervous system problems. Note that both pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good for your dog; just make sure no nutmeg is on them before you share them.
Chocolate is also very, very bad for dogs. It’s not on the list because it should be a given for every pet parent: Never feed your dog chocolate.
The best way to keep your dog safe is to have plenty of his food on hand, as well as treats. Ask your guests not to feed your dog human food. Also make sure your dog gets lots of exercise. A tired dog is a good dog.