Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips from Our Chicago Veterinarians

At Blum Animal Hospital, we’re firm advocates for Thanksgiving pet safety due to the food-related dangers that abound this time of year. Like us, our pets can’t resist home-cooked food, but unlike us, they have far less self control. That’s why it’s important to be mindful not only of what kind of food your family will be enjoying, but how to keep it out of your pet’s reach and prevent an emergency.

Which Thanksgiving Foods are Safe?

See our lists below to see which foods are safe for dogs and cats, and which ones are not. Feed responsibly! If you have questions about any foods that are not on these lists, let us know!

Safe Foods

  • Beef – If it’s lean and plain (contains no seasonings)
  • Turkey – As long as it is unseasoned, boneless, and skinless
  • Bread – Plain white or whole grain bread on occasion is fine, just make sure it doesn’t contain raisins!
  • Broccoli – Cooked broccoli in moderation is safe for both dogs and cats. Dogs can also have raw broccoli in moderation, but cats have difficulty digesting it. Broccoli contains isothiocyanates, which may cause irritation in your dog’s digestive system if they have too much.
  • Brussels Sprouts – Both dogs and cats can have small pieces of cooked Brussel sprouts. But we can’t promise they’ll want to eat them!
  • Carrots – Dogs can have both raw and cooked carrots, given they’re cut into smaller pieces. Cooked carrots are best for cats; raw carrots can be harder for them to digest.
  • Celery – Dogs and cats can have small amounts of celery. For cats, too much can cause diarrhea. Also, cats react to celery leaves similar to how they react to catnip.
  • Cheese – Yes, dogs and cats both love cheese. But they should only consume it in small quantities.
  • Chicken – Chicken is safe for dogs and cats, given that it is cooked, boneless, and unseasoned.
  • Cinnamon – Be careful with this one. While cinnamon is generally non-toxic to dogs and cats, it can be if it’s consumed in large quantities.
  • Corn – Corn is perfectly safe for pets if given cooked, plain, and in small bites. Corn on the cob, however, can be a choking hazard.
  • Cranberry Sauce – This is safe too, but again, moderation. Some sauces can be very high in sugar.
  • Gravy – As long as the gravy does not contain any garlic or onions, it should be safe in small quantities.
  • Green Beans – Unseasoned green beans are a safe treat for cats and dogs.
  • Mashed Potatoes – As long as the potatoes are well cooked and unseasoned, they should be safe for your dog or cat. Keep in mind though that raw potatoes can be lethal for cats, and toxic to dogs.
  • Milk – Safe in small quantities only; many cats are lactose-intolerant and dogs can develop problems as well.
  • Mushrooms – Plain, store-bought mushrooms are safe for pets to eat, but don’t let your pet eat any wild mushrooms they find outside.
  • Rice – Cooked brown or white rice (plain) is safe for dogs and cats

Unsafe Foods

  • Chocolate – Chocolate is never safe for pets. This treat contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants that neither dogs nor cats can properly metabolize. Dark chocolate is even more poisonous, so be aware!
  • Garlic – Garlic is a huge no-no for pets. The thiosulfates garlic contains are toxic to dogs, and garlic is also about 5 times as toxic as onions for cats.
  • Grapes/Raisins – Never allow your pet to eat raisins or grapes if you can help it. Grapes/raisins contain toxic compounds that can cause kidney failure.
  • Green Bean Casserole – Keep the this casserole away from your pets; it’s very rich and contains other ingredients that can make your pet sick.
  • Nutmeg – While nutmeg can be harmless to cats in small amounts, the myristicin it contains can cause an increased heart rate, seizures, high blood pressure, and other symptoms in dogs.
  • Onions – Onions, including onion powder, are toxic to both dogs and cats.