Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Thanksgiving dog and cat

ASPCA experts offer these tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Sage Advice

Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs-they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse-an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure a happy and healthy Thanksgiving for all family members, human and furry!

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6 Comments on Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Pets

  1. I agree with more informed vets who don’t agree with the ASPCA; cats can eat raw poultry. Their advice about not feeding raw turkey contradicts the cat feeding info you recommend here – I would also recommend following Dr. Pierson’s advice on her site you link to ( and quickly blanch it, and not feed a whole lot of it unless it was part of a balanced raw recipe she recommends. For cats who need more muscle, supplementing their canned food with some raw or cooked unseasoned poultry can help them too. Our underweight cat is really only able to gain muscle if eating raw poultry. I noticed raw seemed to be more filling and satisfying for the cats, and they seemed calmer too.

    • You are absolutely right, Chris – good catch. This post is five years old and was posted before I started recommending raw food.

  2. Sage advice (no pun itended). As a retired aromatherapy instructor, I wouldn’t be worried about a little cooked sage or other herbs.The essential oils contained within herbs/spices dissipate when exposed to heat. Fresh sage though can be hepatotoxic.

  3. Glad you like the tips, Elizabeth – sorry to hear you had to learn the hard way with your corgi.

    Tammy, I still love eating raw dough….

  4. Good tips! I didn’t know about the bread dough. My mom used to make bread all the time when I was a kid, and our favorite thing was pieces of the raw bread dough! I don’t think she ever gave any to our dog though…

  5. I’ve learned the overindulgence lesson the hard way with my corgi! Thanks for the tips, Ingrid.


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