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Thanksgiving Options For Pets 

Share A Special Meal With Your Animal Family Members!

Author: DVM cVMA Dana Hogg

Where did the year go? The holiday season is practically here! The holidays are always filled with family, friends, good food, traveling, and old traditions.

 If you are like me, you probably like to include your pets in these celebrations as well. After all, how can we not include them when we are preparing delicious food? This month we are going to review some foods you can offer your furry or feathered friends so they do not feel left out!

Many fruits and veggies are excellent sources of fiber which help support healthy digestion. Several of the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables such as vitamins A, B, C, and E also support healthy immune function and work to reduce inflammation in the body. 

Dos!

  • Sweet potatoes:These can be fed in a baked or mashed form, but skip any butter, salt, or sugar. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber and are rich in vitamins A, B, and C.  
  • Carrots: Can be fed raw or cooked. If you are offering raw carrots, it is recommended to cut them into a size appropriate for your pet to help avoid any choking hazards. Like sweet potatoes, carrots are rich in vitamins A, and C, they are also full of fiber. Additionally they are rich in vitamin K and Potassium.
  • Green Beans:Who doesn’t love a green bean casserole during the holidays? When feeding your pet green beans, please spare them the casserole part and only offer raw, cooked, or canned unsalted green beans. Green beans are a great source of vitamins C, K, A, manganese, as well as fiber.  
  • Apples:Can be offered raw or cooked. A lot of vitamins lie in the skin of the apple, so it is recommended to serve them with the skin on. With any produce, it is always recommended to wash the skin well. Apples are rich in vitamin C. They are also a good source of fiber and a flavonoid called Quercetin which has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. 
  • Pumpkin:Let’s not offer our pets any pumpkin pie, but feel free to share plain cooked pumpkin or 100% pure canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is an excellent source of dietary fiber as well as vitamins A, C, and E. The fiber from pumpkin can help support a healthy digestive system
  • Plain Popcorn: Whether you are stringing popcorn on a tree or enjoying it during a good movie, plain popcorn can be a fun treat for your pup too, just spare them the butter and salt.  
  • Blueberries:While blue berries are nearing the end of their season here, they can be a delicious treat for your pet. They are high in anti-oxidants and help alleviate inflammation. They are also a good source of manganese, vitamin K, E, and C. 
  • Turkey and Chicken:Plain unseasoned cooked skinless chicken or turkey can be offered in small amounts to your dog or cat. No gravy or grease! It is not recommended to offer any bones as these can be a choking hazard or cause a gastrointestinal obstruction. It is also important to avoid high fat foods and meats which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis which can be life threatening.  

Don'ts!

There are a variety of items you can add to spice up your pet’s holidays, but it is important to remember to avoid foods like onions, garlic (some doctors give garlic the ok but we like to be cautious and categorize this ingredient as not pet friendly), gravy and high fat meats/foods, macadamia nuts, avocado, yeast dough, chocolate, grapes, and raisins as these can all be detrimental to their health.

 We hope you all share the holiday joy with your beloved pets and stay safe this holiday season!

Sources
  • “Food Features.” The Nutrition Source, 15 Sept. 2021, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features.
  • Budai, Karmen. A Parrot’s Fine Cuisine Cookbook: And Nutritional Guide. Illustrated, Quietlight Productions Inc., 2018.

Dr. Dana Hogg graduated in 2015 from North Carolina State University. She grew up in Wilson, North Carolina. Growing up with several animals, Dr. Hogg was drawn to the field of veterinary medicine at a young age. She completed her undergraduate degree at NCSU in 2009 and her master's degree in 2011.

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