This Thanksgiving (Safely) Invite Your Dog To Dine With You

dogs ready for a meal at The Wilson
dogs ready for a meal at The Wilson - The Wilson NYC

The holidays can be a challenging time for dog owners. With so many food items being passed around, and so many things going in and coming out of the oven, it's hard to allow pets to have their usual run of the home. But luckily, you don't have to crate your animal during the festivities. Instead, make sure they feel right at home, celebrating alongside you during your Thanksgiving Day feast -- while taking some important precautions.

There are some things you should know about eating with your pets over Thanksgiving. The key, according to Jose Molina, executive chef at The Wilson NYC (a New York City restaurant with a year-round dog-specific menu), and Barry Tonks, Culinary Director for IGC Hospitality, is all about safety: "The most important thing to do is to educate yourself on what is and is not safe for your pet to eat. It's tempting to sneak your dog a taste of the feast, but some items on a Thanksgiving table are dangerous for their health."

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There Are Things You Shouldn't Feed Your Dog At Thanksgiving

dog staring at turkey
dog staring at turkey - GoodFocused/Shutterstock

Anyone with pets knows there are certain foods you need to keep away from them. For dogs, this includes things like chocolate, grapes, raisins, stuffing, and other desserts, like dairy-like ice cream, which can cause digestive problems.

You should also avoid seasonings, which can cause similar issues with digestion and be toxic (like in the case of onions and garlic). These alliums, which also include chives, leeks, and shallots, can damage red blood cells and induce a condition called hemolytic anemia. "The best thing to do is to set aside some of the simple main ingredients prior to seasoning them," said Molina and Tonks.

Additionally, while turkey is a good choice, stick to white meat rather than dark, which is fatty and can cause long-term health issues, and avoid bones, skin, and gravy. These items "shouldn't be served to your pet (even the bigger leg bones can easily splinter and [become] a choking hazard)," Tonks and Molina explained.

Items like (unseasoned) green beans, apples, and sweet potatoes are all safe choices.

Cats Suffer From Even More Concerns Than Dogs

whole bunch of kittens
whole bunch of kittens - Martin Poole/Getty Images

The issues multiply if you're talking about eating with cats rather than dogs. Here too, the general rule is if your dog will be harmed by it, your cat will probably be harmed by it even more. Cats are even more intolerant of plants in the allium family than dogs, and thanks to their small size, they can develop toxicity from even smaller amounts of it. With cats, you also have to be extremely careful of nutmeg (which can kill them), as well as butter and mushrooms (which won't kill them but will mess with their digestion).

Interestingly, both dogs and cats can eat unseasoned pumpkin. Whether they'll want to is another story, but pumpkin pie filling from the can is so safe they even make dog-specific brands infused with things like maple and banana. Molina and Tonks also noted, "For cats only, you can top it with some unsweetened homemade whipped cream."

Just be sure to follow these rules, and your Thanksgiving will be blissfully free of any trips to the Veterinary Emergency Hospital. And hey, if you're in New York City with your dog for the holidays, you can check out the special Thanksgiving menu at The Wilson.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.