Holiday Dinner Scraps: OK for Pets?

Dog looking at up at Thanksgiving table

With Turkey Day and the holiday season fast approaching, many pet owners want to treat their pet to a "thankful" meal/bite/snack from their holiday dinner table. What table scraps are OK to feed them--if any--throughout the holidays?

Jennifer Arnold, Founder and Executive Director of Canine Assistants

At Canine Assistants, we use lots of 'people food' as treats for our dogs in training. We are careful never to feed those treats to our dogs while we are eating ourselves. We also stick to foods we know are safe for dogs, such as cheese, peanut butter, and chicken, and we use them in very small amounts. We never feed our dogs bones that aren't specifically designed to be digested by dogs. Avoid the temptation to toss your pet the wishbone and share a little piece of turkey breast instead.

Victoria Schade, Professional Dog Trainer

Some party leftovers are safe for your dog, like a little bit of your leftover turkey, but avoid feeding skin and fat since they're very rich and can cause digestive issues. Don't give your dog cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause problems in your dog's mouth or worse yet, as she swallows the shards. If you decide to share some of the dog-safe goodies make sure to give them away from the table so that you don't encourage a begging habit!

Mike Arms, President Helen Woodward Animal Center

While any pet would enjoy a tasty treat from the holiday table some things are definite no-no's and others can cause problems depending on the sensitivity of the particular pet's digestive system. Avoid things that are high in fat or sugar such as pies, desserts, gravy, stuffing, skin and fat from meat. High fat foods can cause a minimum of diarrhea but can also cause pancreatitis which results in vomiting and the need to be hospitalized and on fluids and antibiotics until the condition has cleared.

Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, as well as chocolate can be toxic to pets or cause serious health problems (sometimes even in very small amounts), so avoid these things all together.

Bones can either become lodged in the mouth or may be swallowed which can hurt the digestive tract resulting in bloody diarrhea or vomiting.

Some animals do fine with just a small amount of skinless, boneless meat but too much of anything can cause diarrhea in some individuals. To be on the safe side have some of their regular pet food or treats available so that if you want to give a treat they won't know that it is not what you are eating. They are just happy that you gave them something and wanted to share.

Will you treat your pet to any safe goodies from your holiday dinner table? Tell us here.