The Practical Guide To Thanksgiving Food & Dogs

’tis the season for a world of inaccuracies to be given out about food and what is and isn’t safe for your dogs to eat.

So, here’s what you actually need to know – I thoroughly believe that facts, and not generalisations is what is going to enable you, as pet parents, to do the best for your dog and avoid unnecessary panic and vet bills.

If you’re deep frying a turkey? Give this one a miss as a dog treat, but if you’re roasting, smoking or grilling, the meat will be fine in relative amounts for your dog. The skin is where most turkey fats reside, so if your dog is a breed prone to pancreatitis (such as, but not limited to, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, and some terrier breeds) or your dog is already overweight give the skin a skip.

Cooked Bones

Yes, these can be problematic, but if you boil them down to bone broth? You can make use of them. Just don’t feed them without further processing (I can share a great recipe if you like!)
A 20kg (45lbs) dog would need to eat 100g (approx 1/4 lbs or a medium sized onion) of raw onion to experience toxicity. This one can be severe and should definitely have veterinary consultation if these thresholds are met. However, if they accidentally have a small piece of diced onion? Monitoring should be fine.
This has been banded around for years – but is wholly inaccurate. it takes around 27 cloves a day, for a month, for a golden retriever to experience signs of toxicity. Please do not panic too much if your dog eats garlic. Garlic powder is stronger, but you would need around 3.5tsp a day to reach equivalency.

Nutmeg is a problem for humans and dogs. When it comes to our dogs, around 2 tsp of nutmeg for a 20kg (45lbs) dog is when they start seeing toxicity. This, however, is approx 8x what’s in the average pumpkin pie.
So… if you have a 2kg or 5-6lbs dog who manages to eat a whole pumpkin pie, then you may need to be concerned. But an average german shepherd would need to eat around 8 pies to experience toxicity, and to be fair, I think either of these dogs would be 💩 champions after that much pie!


This should be avoided.


This one is actually not as scary as people make out. What you need to know is that the darker the chocolate the higher the risk. I still wouldn’t advocate you feeding chocolate, but it’s good to know when to actually panic.


There are risks at thanksgiving, but they’re mainly relative to your dog.

  • High fat foods can contribute towards pancreatitis. So if they counter surf and steal butter? Watch them. And don’t give them the thick, white fat from bacon… Be sensible.
  • Grapes – these are genuinely deadly more often than not, and should never.
  • Alcohol or drugs – these are obviously not good for our canine companions.

Toxicity covers a broad spectrum of meaning, i.e. it ranges from giving your dog the runs, to death. Which, truthfully, doesn’t help us dog parents make the best decisions and causes an awful lot of panic.


If you know your dog is sensitive? Don’t give them the extra treats! Don’t take unnecessary risks.

Some dogs are more sensitive, so giving small amounts will minimise any risk if these things are new.

If you have a smaller dog, be more cautious, if you have a larger dog, you can rest a little easier – other than the fact it’s easier for them to reach the counter…


Essentially, be familiar with the signs of toxicity in dogs, be a little mindful, and go to the vets if you need to.

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