A few years back, my wife Amy started doing holiday turkeys in a new way (new to us at the time, not new to those in-the-know cooks out there), by brining them before roasting them in the oven. Up until that time, we would always pass a bit of the turkey to the dogs for their dinner.

I say up until that time because I learned that just by brining the turkey, you've made it toxic to dogs. Why? Because according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), brine mixtures are generally full of salt, sugar, garlic, onions, and other spices that can make your pet really sick...or worse:

We rub our birds with butter or oil, and season them with all sorts of combinations of salt, pepper, herbs, and spices. Many cooks opt to stuff their turkey with onions, garlic, apples, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and more. To people eating the meal, all of these flavors, aromas, and textures can be delicious. For our dogs, some of these seemingly healthy ingredients can actually be toxic (ie, onions). Even if some common Thanksgiving ingredients aren’t exactly toxic to dogs, they can still be a recipe for unpleasant digestive upset or pancreatitis. (And just so there’s no confusion: onions are toxic to dogs.)

Misbehave pets eating and drinking Santa's snack.
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

The Bottom Line On Turkey And Dogs Is That Yes, Dogs Can And Should Enjoy Some Turkey, But Don't Season It In Any Way Or Give Them The Skin, Bones, Or Gravy--And That Goes For Other Meats You May Have On The Holiday Table

Now let's get to the holiday foods you should just avoid giving your dog or cat entirely, assuming you don't want a sick dog and the mess that will come from them eating things like:

Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
Mashed potatoes
Creamed peas
Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (as well as anything “sugar-free” or containing xylitol, which can be fatal for dogs)
Alcoholic beverages
Raisins and grapes
Onions, scallions, and garlic
Yeast dough
Fatty foods
Foods containing spices
Read more from the AKC here.

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