Three chihuahuas in a thanksgiving set. They all look hungry and in need of snacks.

Thanksgiving is a family holiday, focusing on the things in life we are thankful for. If you’re a dog lover, chances are one of those things is the family pet. What better way to express your thankfulness than making your pup a Thanksgiving dinner?

Before you serve up a heaping plate of what you’re having though, it’s important to think about your pup’s health. There’s often a lot of sodium in human food, as well as onions and garlic, which aren’t good for our dogs.

The good news is that most of the basics you’re going to serve are good for your pet. You just have to make them a sampler without the bad stuff in it. Here’s a list of foods you can serve your dog for Thanksgiving dinner.

 Turkey breast

Turkey itself is not bad for your dog, but the way we prepare it can be. The salty brine used to add flavor to the meat is not good for your dog’s heart or kidneys. (Or ours, really.) Seasonings like onions are also not good for your pup either.

Too much fat can also give your dog a painful condition called pancreatitis. To serve your pup a safe portion, choose meat near the center of the breast, and leave the skin off. The turkey near the center of the breast is farthest away from the salty brine, seasonings, and the least fatty too.

Sweet Potatoes/Mashed Potatoes

Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes are fine for your dog to eat. It’s all the fillers we put into our potatoes that aren’t so great for our dogs. Make a portion for your dog before you add in seasonings or butter.

Although butter isn’t toxic to dogs, it once again contains a lot of salt and fat. Even salt free butter still has a lot of fat.

Green Beans

Another great choice to fill your pet’s holiday plate is a scoop of green beans, once again pre-seasoned. Green beans are high in vitamins, and unseasoned are low in salt and fat. If you have a tubby dog that still loves human food, these snacks are a great way to keep calories down while still making them feel like they’ve gotten a special treat.


If your dog likes fruit, they might enjoy eating a few cranberries as a special treat. Feed these in small portions as too many can cause upset stomach. Even though too many are a bad thing, cranberries in small doses can be a good thing. They are packed with vitamins and other nutrients.

When serving cranberries, make sure they are not sweetened with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs, or raisins, also bad for them.


Plain pumpkin is another great treat for your pet. Save a spoonful for them before sweetening it for your pie or get them some all on their own. Pumpkin can be good for their tummies as well as their anal glands.

Moderation is Key

Although there are many safe things you can put on your dog’s Thanksgiving plate, it’s important not to give your pup too much. If you overfeed them too many new and different foods, they may give your pet an upset tummy.

Vets recommend dogs get no more than 10% of their diet from treats, so if a dog eats 10 ounces of food in a day, they should get no more than 1 ounce of treats. You should also reduce how much they get in their dinner bowl by the same amount, so your pup doesn’t end up packing holiday pounds.

If your dog wolfs down treats like they’re going out of style, try stuffing them into a kong to help those treats last a little bit longer.

Remember to avoid anything with onions, raisins, and excess fat in it, and to never give your puppy cooked bones from the table. By choosing safe foods for your pet to eat, you can help them enjoy Thanksgiving with you, without any Thanksgiving regrets.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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