Thanksgiving Treats Your Pets Will Be Grateful For

Pet waiting for holiday treat.

The welcoming aromas of pecan-topped sweet potatoes, roasted turkey, and homemade pumpkin pie might attract more than people to your Thanksgiving table! When your pup or cat stares upward in anticipation, it’s easy to cave to their cuteness. But should you?

This holiday season, the team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center reminds all pet families of the importance of Thanksgiving pet safety. With a little pre-planning, your pets can enjoy their own safe and nutritious Thanksgiving dinner. 

Dietary No-Nos 

First and foremost, there are foods that should never be shared with your feline or canine companion. Many people foods are flat-out toxic, and others cause gastrointestinal distress.

Avoid feeding your pets the following:

  • Fatty and salty foods: Difficult for pets to digest and can lead to life-threatening pancreatitis. 
  • Onions and garlic: Can cause hemolytic anemia.  
  • Raisins and grapes: Even small quantities can lead to kidney failure in dogs.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Sugar substitute xylitol is extremely toxic to pets.
  • Chocolate: Extremely toxic.
  • Sugary foods: Pies, cookies, and other desserts can cause GI upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

A Feast Fit for Your Furry Friend

The good news is, many of the ingredients used to make Thanksgiving dishes are perfectly safe for pets when used alone—without all the salt, butter, sugar, fatty gravies, onions, and other seasonings that we typically add to the finished product.  

You can assemble a mini Thanksgiving feast for your pet using samples of the following foods. Just remember: moderation is key when sharing people food with pets, and if there’s any doubt about a food’s safety, don’t feed it to your cat or dog. 


Your cat or dog will love a few tidbits of skinless, boneless white meat. And most cats can also tolerate dark meat. Just make sure it’s free of gravy or other seasonings. 

Pass the Veggies

Pets can safely ingest many vegetables as long as they’re plain: no butter, salt, cream, nuts, onions, or other toppings. Here are some to try: potatoes, green beans, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and green bell peppers. 

Pumpkin, Please

Plain, pure pumpkin with no added sugar or spices not only tastes good, but it is also healthy! Pumpkin has become a trendy ingredient in commercial pet foods because it is loaded with vitamins and important minerals like iron and potassium. It also provides a healthy dose of fiber, which is helpful for pets with digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea. 

Fruit for the Win

For a touch of something sweet after your pet’s holiday feast, treat her to some fresh fruit, sans whipped cream or sugar. Cranberries, blueberries, peaches, and strawberries make delicious finishers!

Remember, any cat or dog can have specific food allergies or intolerances, so just because a food is safe, doesn’t mean it will agree with your particular pet. When feeding your pet something new, watch for signs such as excessive itching, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact us at (916) 634-0822 if your pet has an unusual reaction to a new food or if you have any questions about foods that are safe to feed your pets.