Smart tips for sharing the holiday meal.

Think twice before letting dogs eat the turkey and trimmings. "Thanksgiving often brings an uptick in vet visits due to pets being fed unsafe human foods," says Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club. Here, he advises on which foods are dog friendly and which ones to avoid.

Just a Bite

Sliced pieces of turkey are fine for canines to eat. "The meat is safe. The dangers usually lie in the seasonings, skin, and bones," says Dr. Klein.

Serve sweet and regular potatoes that have been boiled or baked without sour cream, butter, salt, or pepper.

Apples are another healthy snack. "Cut the core out, as large amounts of the seeds can be toxic," he warns.

Green beans provide fiber and various vitamins, but he says it's key that "this dish should be plain, without any added ingredients like butter or spices."

Pause before passing your pup a slice of pie. "Pumpkin is ultimately very healthy and safe for dogs. However, this goes for plain, raw pumpkin but not pie or pre-spiced pie mixes. They may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs," Dr. Klein says.

What To Avoid

Don't feed pets these items: turkey bones and skin, gravy, stuffing, casseroles, creamed peas, mashed potatoes, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, cookies, pies and other sweets (especially anything containing xylitol), garlic, onions, scallions, raisins, grapes, and ham. 

Practice Portion Control

"Breed, age, size, and energy level all factor into how often pets should eat and how much," says Dr. Klein. Moderation is key for sharing food safely. "A general guideline is to never feed dogs weighing 40 pounds or more a portion larger than a deck of cards. For a 20-pound dog, don't exceed half of that amount, and for a 10-pound dog, no more than a quarter of the size of a deck of cards," Dr. Klein says.