What Can Dogs NOT Eat? Holiday Food for Dogs Explained

Holiday hero

There were at least two dogs at the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation. They actually came over on the Mayflower. A 25-year-old passenger names John Goodman brought his Mastiff and his Spaniel with him to the New World. According to written accounts, the two dogs were essential to guarding the colony and helping the newcomers hunt for food.

Goodman’s dogs saved his life one night after they got lost in the woods gathering thatch for his roof. He survived the frosty night by snuggling with his furry friends for warmth. The next day, it wasn’t the search party that rescued Goodman, rather, it was his dogs’ ability to track their way back to the settlement that saved them.

So, how do we thank the dogs of America? By creating an annual feast with a menu of mouthwatering foods they can’t safely eat.

Know how the smell of turkey roasting in the oven can make you swoon? Imagine if your sense of smell was 100,000 stronger. When you think about it, it’s a miracle we can remove our furry friends from the kitchen at all at this time of year. Thanksgiving is a food-centric holiday—but many of the traditional foods we eat (OK, overeat) at this time of year are not healthy—and can even be dangerous—for our dogs.

Did you know that the Google search term “ER vet” peaks during Thanksgiving and the final two weeks of the year?

We’re busy. Temptingly rich foods call from counters. Kids and not-so-dog-savvy relatives (not to mention pumpkin spice cocktails) may abound. All a recipe for canine culinary chaos.

This article will clarify which holiday foods you should make sure your dog avoids this Thanksgiving and which foods are safe to feed them. Here’s the good, the bad and the giblets:

Holiday Foods That Dogs Should Avoid 

onion and garlic

Garlic and onions are members of the allium family (which also includes chives, shallots and leeks) and are toxic to dogs due to a compound called N-propyl disulfide that leads to the breakdown and destruction of red blood cells. This can lead to anemia, organ failure and even death.

Japanese dog breeds, such as Akitas and Shiba Inus, are especially susceptible to onion poisoning. Onion powder is even more toxic than fresh onions so keep that stuff way out of reach of curious snouts. Garlic is the most potent of all alliums and is about five times more toxic than onions.



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