Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while most people are busy planning their dinner menus and preparing for friends and family to arrive, there’s probably little thought about what your dog’s Thanksgiving food will be.

I think we’d all agree Thanksgiving is a chaotic and the day has a way of getting away from us. The atmosphere in the kitchen is usually hectic and frantic. The family cooks are busy timing the simultaneous dishes that have been baking and simmering all day long.

You’re socializing with friends, family and out of town relatives and before you know it, it’s time to clean up for dinner. Or as I prefer, time to slap on some stretchy pants, eat like a king, and then blissfully pass out in a pile of drool.

raw turkey

Amidst the madness, it’s easy to forget who’s watching our dogs or what they’ll be fed. Most of us are too caught up in the holiday scramble and crazy, binge-eating Thanksgiving cycle.

Next thing you know your hungry dog is getting into trouble counter surfing, garbage diving, or being served beer by your crazy uncle.

I know, I know, it sounds all too familiar. But I have just one question for you.

How would you prefer to spend Thanksgiving? Lounging on the couch in a tryptophan-induced coma with your dog happily curled up by your side or cleaning up some fresh puke or poo stains. Or it could be worse. You could find yourselves at the emergency veterinary clinic.

I think it’s safe to say you’d prefer the earlier option. So let’s have a discussion surrounding Thanksgiving foods for dogs and dispel fact from fiction.

The Problem With Some Thanksgiving Food Warnings

You’ve likely noticed a few helpful articles or infographics floating around the web reminding pet owners to be mindful of Thanksgiving foods that can be harmful to dogs.

If you’ve taken the time to read through them, good for you! We’re all so busy on Thanksgiving that it’s easy to make mistakes. I’m thankful there is a number of wonderful and helpful reminders for pet owners to keep their dogs safe this holiday season.

Though, I don’t agree with everything I read. In fact, I think some of these articles scare the living bejesus out of new raw feeders or those interested in giving the diet a try.

What’s the deal with these Thanksgiving food warnings and are they completely accurate? For the most part. A vast majority of their advice should be heeded and taken seriously.

dog sniffing raw turkey

Though, I feel as if some of their statements are incorrect and are based on outdated nutritional advice. For example, warning pet owners against feeding “people food” to dogs is absurd. We all, pets included, should be eating a diet of REAL food.

I would assume these warnings are written by the same people that consider raw feeding to be dangerous yet are comfortable promoting processed, chemical laden kibble as a healthy solution.

What you can do this holiday season?

Be thankful for the recommendations, be polite of the feeding preferences of others but take the following food myths with a grain of salt or pinch of nutmeg – hey, it’s Thanksgiving after all!

Thanksgiving Food Myths

 Raw Meat

This one’s just silly. There are tons of dogs safely consuming a diet of raw meat and so is every other carnivore in the animal kingdom.

Not only is raw meat biologically appropriate for your furry friend but it’s also full of valuable protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It also has a high moisture content to keep your dog hydrated and facilitate digestion.

So cut off a piece of raw turkey for your best friend this Thanksgiving or buy him his own Turkey to enjoy. I know I will!

dog eating raw turkey

Raw Bones

Edible raw bones are a healthy addition and staple to any raw diet. They fulfill important calcium requirements and help to form those perfect raw fed poops you’ve most likely heard about. No they aren’t a myth, they’re real, my friend.

Though raw bones do carry some risk that, as a raw feeder, you’re responsible to be aware of. You should always provide supervision when feeding bones and never give bare bones. Serve bones that are covered in plenty of meat. It’s also important to be careful with “gulpers” and dogs new to a raw diet. They need to understand how to properly eat raw meaty bones.

Another option, if you’re lucky enough to own a meat grinder, is to grind up meat and bones into a nice ground turkey mixture.

dog eat raw turkey meat and bones

Raw Skin

Raw turkey skin can be a healthful snack.

Quality animal fat contributes to the health of your dog’s coat and fat is also an important source of energy for dogs. Feel free to hand your dog a slice of yummy turkey skin, pre seasoning though, and watch him scarf it down with joy.

The only caveats:

You may want to avoid skin if your dog has special needs or certain health issues. Skip the skin if your dog has a history of Pancreatitis or other conditions that require limiting fat in the diet. Other things to consider: too much skin could cause loose stools in dogs that aren’t used to eating it.

Let your dog enjoy turkey skin this holiday season. Its one of my favorites, so I’m sure it will be one of theirs as well.

dog eating raw turkey skin

Garlic

Garlic gets a bad rap because it contains trace amounts of thiosulphate. In the right amounts, this substance can cause liver damage and other more serious health issues. However, large quantities need to be consumed for this to occur.

What most people don’t usually share is that garlic has many health benefits including antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. It boosts the immune system, fights off fleas, and is a natural antibiotic that doesn’t disturb the delicate and beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is key for digestion and immunity.

If garlic makes you nervous, feel free to avoid it. Though it’s generally safe for dogs to eat ½ clove per 10 pounds of body weight each day. If your dog accidentally gets his or her paws on something seasoned with garlic, I wouldn’t panic. Unless he or she snatched an entire bulb in which case I’d be more concerned.

dog holding turkey in his mouth

Raw Eggs

Some articles warn against feeding any kind of cake batter because of raw eggs. I think this is the silliest statement I’ve ever heard. Cake batter isn’t unhealthy because of eggs; it’s unhealthy because it’s full of refined flours and sugars and certainly isn’t biologically appropriate for your dog. The egg is not the problem here.

Just the opposite, eggs are extremely nutritious and contain upwards of 20 beneficial vitamins and minerals for your dog. The next time you’re in the kitchen whipping up your favorite desert, crack open an extra egg for your dog to enjoy.

dog eating raw turkey

Grapes

Grapes have forever been on the list of no-no’s for dogs. That is until I’ve heard some fascinating new insight…

Dr. Isla Fishburn is a zoologist, conservation biologist, canine behaviorist, holistic practitioner and wolf handler. Recently, she’s shared research findings indicating that wolves are eating grapes in the wild. And she’s not the only one that’s suspicious of this myth. Nora from No More Vet Bills dives into the grapes myth here as well.

Thanksgiving Food Facts

Time to rally together in raising awareness about the Thanksgiving foods that do present a real danger to your dog. As you may have read, the following Thanksgiving foods could be harmful for your four-legged family member and should be kept out of their reach this year.

  • Cooked Bones
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Sage
  • Nutmeg
  • Mushrooms
  • Xylitol
  • Dough or batter
  • Yeast
  • Onions

Of course if there’s an ingredient you’re not sure about, it never hurts to hop onto Google for a quick check or comment below with your question!

And if you have more raw feeding related questions, check out our comprehensive resources page.

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

dog sitting in front of raw turkey dinner

How do you plan to enjoy Thanksgiving with your dog? Don’t get scared away from making your dog a plate this year. They need and deserve real food just like the rest of us. Have fun with it and prepare them an extra special dinner of nutritious raw foods and of course, lots of turkey. It’s time to be thankful for our loved ones, especially the furry ones.

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