Thanksgiving Pet Safety Food Guide

Pets love to be a part (or lovingly get in the way) of whatever we’re doing — and that especially includes mealtimes. While human food should never be a large part of your pet’s diet, an occasional treat shared from the table is okay here and there. At Thanksgiving, the whole holiday is centered around the food, so why not spoil your pet a little and share a bit of the feast with them? To help you make smart, safe choices, our animal hospital in Palos Heights has put together a Thanksgiving pet safety food guide, listing common foods and whether or not they are safe to share with your pets!

A Complete List of Thanksgiving Food

We included all the foods and ingredients we could think of that might make their way onto your Thanksgiving table. Keep in mind that even the foods labeled as safe should only be shared with your pet in moderation to prevent weight gain. The amount they can eat safely will vary depending on their size, but keeping it to no more than 10% of their daily diet should be safe. If you have questions about your pet’s weight or their diet, talk to your veterinarian at your next visit!

Thanksgiving Pet Safety in Palos Heights: A Dog Steals Food from a Plate on the Table
Finnish Lapphund eating rib from a plate.


Yes, beef needs to be lean, well-cooked, and unseasoned to share with your pet safely.


Yes, both white and whole wheat bread are safe in small amounts as long as it is plain (no toppings or additives like raisins).


Yes, unseasoned, cooked broccoli is safe in moderation. Raw broccoli, however, is difficult for dogs and cats to digest.

Brussels Sprouts

Yes, cooked and unseasoned Brussels sprouts are safe to share.

Butternut Squash

Yes, butternut squash is safe to share as long as it is cooked, seedless, and skinless. If you’re sharing some soup with your pet, make sure there are no toxic ingredients like onions in it.


Yes, dogs and cats can enjoy unseasoned, cooked carrots, but only dogs can enjoy raw carrots — cats have a hard time digesting them.


Yes, celery is safe in small amounts; too much can cause diarrhea. Also, be aware that celery leaves affect cats in a similar way to catnip.


Yes, most cheeses are safe for pets, but only in small quantities since many pets are lactose intolerant.


No, cheesecake is far too sugary and fatty for pets to eat safely — it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis if your pet eats too much.


Yes, chicken that is well-cooked, lean, skinless, and boneless is safe.


No, never. Many of us know chocolate is toxic to pets but the reasons why may not be so well-known. Chocolate contains two stimulants, theobromine and caffeine, that are very difficult, if not impossible for your pet to metabolize. As a result, they suffer from various symptoms including vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, etc. The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk.


Yes, but with a caveat: cinnamon is only safe in very small quantities. At higher levels, it can become toxic.


Yes, the kernels, cooked and plain, are safe but don’t share corn on the cob because it could be a choking hazard.

Cranberry Sauce

Yes, cranberry sauce is generally safe, but some recipes contain a high amount of sugar, so limit your pet’s consumption.


No, never. One clove of garlic is more than enough to make our pets sick. Don’t share any dishes with this potent ingredient in it!


Yes, gravy is very fatty, so it best shared in very small quantities. Also, many gravies contain onions and garlic, two toxins, so be aware of your gravy’s ingredients before sharing.


No, never. There are toxic compounds in both that are harmful to cats and dogs.

Green Beans

Yes, green beans are safe both raw and cooked (and always unseasoned!).

Green Bean Casserole

No, this casserole (and most casseroles!) contain cream, cheese, and seasonings that are harmful to pets.


No, ham is very high in sodium and fats, make it dangerous for pets to consume. The same thing goes for bacon!


Yes, but since many pets are lactose intolerant, it’s best to share it minimally.


Yes, mushrooms from the store are safe as long as they are unseasoned. However, wild mushrooms could be potentially life-threatening, so it may be best not to share any mushrooms with your pet, in case they mistake a wild variety for a store-bought mushroom.


Yes, nutmeg is safe for cats, but only in extremely small amounts.

No, nutmeg contains myristicin which is toxic to dogs and could cause symptoms such as disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, stomach pain, and even seizures.


No, never. Onions are toxic to cats and dogs — this includes onion powder, dehydrated onions, and all other types!

Pecan Pie

No, pecan pie is too fatty, oily, and sugary to share with pets. You can (happily) keep it to yourself!


Yes, pork is safe on occasion, as long as it’s cooked, boneless, and unseasoned.


Yes, but they must be cooked (not fried) and unseasoned. Raw potatoes are lethal to cats and toxic to dogs.  

Pumpkin Pie

No, pumpkin pie is in a similar boat to pecan pie — there is simply too much sugar and fat for pets to enjoy safely. Plain pumpkin, however, is safe for pets!


Yes, cooked brown or white rice is safe if it is unseasoned.


No, stuffing all too often contains dangerous ingredients like onions, garlic, and/or shallots.

Sweet Potatoes/Candied Yams

Yes, but not in excessive amounts due to the sugar and butter, and be aware of the spices! Plain, cooked sweet potatoes and yams are safer.


Yes, as long as it’s unseasoned, lean, boneless, and skinless.


No, never. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is very toxic to pets. It is found in many sugar-free baked goods, peanut butters, and candies.

Wondering about any other foods to share with your pet? Contact our animal hospital at (708) 448-6600.  We hope you and your family enjoy a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!