By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
Whether or not you share your Thanksgiving meal with your pet really depends on what the meal consists of and what ingredients are used; cooked turkey meat is fine, as are a few fresh cooked veggies served plain. Examples of Thanksgiving people food you'll want to avoid giving your pet include dressing; processed or sugary foods; dishes containing raisins, grapes, onions, leeks or chives; bread, rolls, and butter; and all desserts.
It's best to blend a small portion of safe people food in with your pet's regular food; offering food from your plate at the table, or in the kitchen during meal preparation or cleanup, can quickly turn your dog or cat into an incorrigible beggar.
Most of the following foods will be more popular with dogs than cats, but they're safe for both; be sure to serve them plain (no sugar, salt or spices, butter or other additives), in moderation and in small portions. Organic food provides fewer contaminants and residues to you and your pets.
15 Thanksgiving Foods and Snacks Safe to Share With Your Dog or Cat
Apples contain powerful antioxidants and vitamin C. Serve apple slices to your pet, but never the core or seeds.
Fresh or frozen, blueberries are loaded with phytochemicals, and their deep blue hue is the result of anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries are also a good source of healthy fiber, manganese and vitamins C and E. Introduce blueberries slowly to your pet — too much too soon can cause digestive upset.
Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins. Many dogs enjoy snacking on a fresh crunchy carrot, and some will even eat the green tops.
Broccoli supports detoxification processes in your pet's body; contains healthy fiber to aid digestion; is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C; has anti-inflammatory properties; supports eye health; helps repair skin damage; and supports heart health.
As an added bonus, even, conventionally grown broccoli is one of the cleanest (most pesticide-free) foods you can buy. Your pet may prefer broccoli steamed.
This dark green cruciferous vegetable is loaded with vitamins (especially vitamins K, A and C), iron and antioxidants. It helps with liver detoxification and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
If you happen to be serving fermented veggies as part of your Thanksgiving feast, definitely offer some to your pet. Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and contain much higher levels of probiotics and vitamin K2 than supplements can provide. Beneficial gut bacteria provided by probiotics break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body, and perform a number of other important functions.
Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Pepitas, or raw pumpkin seeds, are a rich source of minerals, vitamin K and phytosterols. They also contain L-tryptophan and are a good source of zinc, vitamin E and B vitamins. Research suggests pumpkin seeds can prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones, reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and support prostate health.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and antioxidants, and are also high in vitamins A and C. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lower the risk from heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
Fresh, locally grown green beans are a source of vitamins A, C and K. They also provide calcium, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, niacin, manganese, potassium, riboflavin and thiamin, as well as beta carotene.
This green leafy vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties and can help support heart health.
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, A, B1, B2, C and E, along with the folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese and potassium.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants. It can help alleviate both diarrhea and constipation. Make sure to feed your pet either fresh pumpkin or 100 percent canned pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling.
Plain organic yogurt is high in protein and calcium, and most pets love it.
Like yogurt, plain organic cottage cheese is high in calcium and protein.
Raw Almonds, Cashews and Brazil Nuts
These nuts, served in moderation and very small portions, are safe for dogs. Many nuts are not — especially tree nuts — so stick with these three to be on the safe side.