You CAN share turkey on Thanksgiving! How to do it safely.

Did you know that, for the majority of pets, you CAN share some turkey on Thanksgiving!?!?

I know I know I know. Many vets tell you NO table food.
They say to NEVER give your pet any turkey on Thanksgiving.
Why do they say that? It’s just easy. People tend to want to over-indulge their pet, and if you tell them NO table scraps, it reduces the likelihood of a sick pet on Black Friday.

Those owners 20 years ago who fed the entire turkey carcass to their dogs (and the dog might have even died) sure ruined it for everybody!

Blanket statements became the norm.

Thing is, now the pendulum has swung the other way, and people want to share a holiday with their pets, but don’t know how. So there’s this feeling of “Am I breaking the rules?” No one feels like they know what’s “allowed,” and a lot of fear is going around unnecessarily. Instead of just forbidding everything, let’s be realistic.

standard dachshund

Here’s a 20 lb dog with 4 nickels in front of him, for reference.

I believe we can all exercise a little common sense. Turkey white meat (skinless) is actually a healthy food! As always, keep everything in moderation. So no, do not make an entire plate of food for your pet!

And keep the turkey skinless.

And only give the white meat.

And, for the love of God, never give your pet any bones!

How much turkey can you give? Limit it to one, maybe two nickel-sized piece of skinless, boneless white meat per 10 lbs of dog or cat. Yes, it’s tiny, and your dog might say “that’s it?” I say that every time I finish my ice cream, but it’s OK. That amount is not enough to cause upset tummies in normal, healthy animals.

If you share table food with your pet routinely, and he or she can eat much more with no gastro-intestinal repercussions (many can!), that’s your call. If you’ve never shared turkey and are dying to share some for the first time, stick with the nickel rule.

Here’s how to decide if your pet can safely get turkey. If ever in doubt, call your veterinarian! If turkey’s not for your pet, I offer other alternatives:

Does your pet have a super sensitive stomach? Are they a frequent vomiter? Do they have diarrhea often?
Remember, sharing turkey is suitable for MOST pets, not all. Some pets it just is not worth risking any tummy trouble! If your pet is in this category, you’re the 1% that should skip it. Alternative – small ice chips (kinda lame, but cannot hurt a thing!). Other alternative – small (dime sized) piece of plain white bread with no butter. Not a biscuit. Not a flakey roll. White bread. Dry.

Is your pet on a prescription diet for any reason? Check with your vet, as it depends on your individual pet’s condition. Hypoallergenic diets or kidney diets are generally “no.” Joint diets or weight loss diets, possibly, in appropriate amounts. Diabetes diets, also, surprisingly possible! Alternative that’s safe for everyone- small ice chips (totally lame, but cannot hurt a thing!)

What NOT to give your dog on Thanksgiving!

What NOT to give your dog on Thanksgiving!

Is your pet on a prescription diet for food allergies? No turkey for you! Not even a bite. Food allergies suck.
Alternative – small, bite-sized pieces of cooked sweet potato (plain). Or a canned version of their prescription dry food.

Is your pet missing a substantial number of teeth? Chewing turkey might be tough.
Alternative – small spoonful (teaspoon) of mashed potatoes with no gravy.

Is your pet prone to pancreatitis? Is your pet a miniature schnauzer? Anything with even a moderate amount of fat can cause big problems.
Alternative – ice chips, or a dime sized piece of plain white bread with no butter. Not a biscuit. Not a flakey roll. White bread. Dry. Not sure? Stick with ice chips.

Remember, moderation is key to a fun holiday for the whole family! If your pet is not interested in sharing the feast, no need to offer any food and create a monster for next year! If your pet is like mine and claims she suffers a mysterious fatal medical condition that only turkey can cure, play along and give a bite. If you feel you will all enjoy the holiday more if you can share some with your pet without guilt, then follow my guidelines and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Other pet rumors and myths:

Canned cat food will not make your cat obese – actually the opposite!

Coconut oil does not have magic powers. Sorry.

Is it safe to put ice in your dog’s water? YES!

Poinsettia plants will NOT kill your cat dead – although she will vomit.

Are Greenies safe to eat? Now they are!

Baby bunnies (and other wildlife) will not be abandoned after you put them back in the nest, so please do!

Cannabis, CBD’s, hemp, and medical marijuana – what’s legal, what’s real?

You are not the alpha dog – the myth of dominance

Vitamin and mineral supplements can do more harm than good


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