A Healthy Canine Thanksgiving Feast is No Feast at All
Stop Begging Behavior Before It Starts
Before we launch into holiday foods for our furries, a behavioral reminder: It takes a long time to reorient begging behavior if you feed from the table on this or any other day. Begging behavior results from reinforcement. In short, dogs beg if it works. And Thanksgiving is notorious for dogs receiving scraps at (or near) the table.
As we sit down with family and friends to our Thanksgiving feast, our dogs with eyes (and noses) are longingly engaged. There are seasonal foods our dogs can enjoy with us. What we may not be aware of is how the preparation of these good foods can affect their digestibility for dogs. The more we season, butter, spice and salt our food, the less digestible it becomes for them.
Speaking of digestibility, there are many who feed a daily ritual of kibble, and then one or two days a year, feel tempted to load their dogs up with rich food. Doing so is likely to upset your dog’s system and make for a miserable evening of gas, diarrhea and even vomiting, depending on how healthy your dog’s digestive tract is.
Holiday Food Do’s and Don’ts
Let’s run down the short list of our typical holiday meal, with the taboo ingredients in RED.
TURKEY: This protein, like all fresh proteins, is wonderfully good food for our pups, unless it’s too highly seasoned. Go ahead and treat your dogs to chunks of white meat in their bowl. And don’t forget bone broth, which is especially beneficial to dogs. Simply boil it up after removing the meat from the carcass.
If you can’t resist throwing your dog a turkey treat, make sure to remove both COOKED BONE and FATTY SKIN. They can create havoc in a sensitive system.
STUFFING: This is in the RED for our dogs, who don’t tolerate wheat well.
GREEN BEANS: Before the ONION is added, throw a few green beans in the blender, or offer as a treat whole.
POTATOES: …if you must. Potatoes aren’t bad for a dog, yet the BUTTER, SALT, SOUR CREAM added take this tuber over the top. Scoop out a little before adding all of the good stuff and add it to the blender with other goodies. Believe me, it will settle better.
GRAVY: Nope. Nothing good can come from this.
CRANBERRIES: Tart as they are, cranberries are fine. If you want to blend a few in with those green beans and potatoes, all will be healthier! If you happen to add RAISINS AND GRAPES into anything, avoid sharing it with your dog. They are toxic.
PUMPKIN: Canned pumpkin is an amazing ingredient for our dogs. If you feed your dog one extra thing all day, make it pumpkin! It is loaded with nutrients while also acting as anti-inflammatory and helping to prevent tummy upset. Note that this should be the 100% blended pumpkin, not CANNED PUMPKIN PIE FILLING, which is full of sugar. Your best bet is to scoop the unseasoned blended pumpkin into your dog’s bowl. Or, better yet, toss some into the blender (before it has turned into a pie filling) with the rest of the good stuff you’ve set aside.
PUMPKIN SEEDS are amazing source of nutrients as well…with the added benefit of preventing and removing worms.
ANY OTHER VEGGIES: All good, throw into the blender too! Especially the green leafy ones!
SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS: These contain Vitamins A and C, which help regulate blood sugar, while acting as antioxidants and an element of soluble fiber.
HAM: Nope. Packed with nitrates and nitrites, sodium, and other carcinogens, smoked meats aren’t a protein source you want to share with your dog.
APPLES: Absolutely! Apple and its skin have many valuable nutrients. Don’t feed the core as it contains arsenic.
YOGURT: Yogurt or any source of probiotics, which also includes Kombucha or fermented veggies, will create an easier digestion for us ALL!
NUTS: All but MACADAMIA! ALL in moderation. If feeding a nut butter, make very sure it doesn’t contain Xylitol. Though it appears safe for us, Xylitol is deadly to our dogs.
Stock up on Canine-appropriate Foods
GREEN JUJU KITCHENS offers a holiday blend with many of the organic ingredients I’ve mentioned in this article. Best of all, they already professionally prepared for your dog! Visit www.greenjujukitchens.com for a location near you for your holiday purchase!
Wishing you and all canines a delicious and digestible holiday! Happy Thanksgiving.