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Happy Thanksgiving to You and the Animals

  • Turkeys can be strikingly beautiful, and are very different animals in the wild than in industrial farming. iStockphoto

  • Let us give thanks for the pets who are part of our families. HSVMA

  • Be careful not to give your pets anything containing poultry bones, which can cause choking. iStockphoto

  • This savory chickpea tart is a tempting main course or side dish. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

  • Other entrée choices could be this caramelized onion-butternut roast with chestnuts or a savory non-turkey casserole. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

  • This luscious pumpkin cheesecake practically sings with the flavors of fall. Susan Voisin/FatFreeVegan.com

  • The HSUS's Black Beauty Ranch provides a home for turkeys and many other animals. Kathy Milani/The HSUS

Mouthwatering food; beloved companions, animal and human; and a bounty of fall wildlife—all these are blessings that we can agree deserve our gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving.

To help you enjoy your holiday, The Humane Society of the United States offers suggestions for preparing a memorable holiday meal, keeping your pets safe and happy, and appreciating the iconic bird of Thanksgiving.


Cook with inspiration

  • Before planning your holiday meal, nibble on this food for thought about industrial turkey production, and consider buying from a sustainable farmer.
  • More people than ever are planning their holiday menus to focus on plant-based foods. Why not join them by picking out a few recipes from our collection?

appetizers ~
Hot cranberry punch
Green apple celery salad with walnuts
Cranberry-jalapeno appetizer
Festive green salad

sides ~
Award-winning cornbread
Rosemary roasted potatoes
White bean and kale soup
Baked acorn squash
Pumpkin and corn soup
Sweet and white potato salad with greens
Wild rice with peas, lemon, and tarragon

entrées ~
Savory chickpea tart
ThanksLIVING "turkey" and stuffing
Cornucopia stuffed squash
Non-turkey casserole
Stuffed scaloppini
Thanksgiving Day tofu

desserts ~
Pumpkin pie
Cranberry apple crumble
Pumpkin spice bread
Mint chocolate cake
Pumpkin cheesecake
Mocha almond fudge ice cream cake

See our list of favorite recipes for more menu inspiration.

Keep pets safe

Make your dog thankful by whipping up sweet potato jerky, bowser biscuits, or peanut butter popsicles. Our recipe collection also offers treat ideas for cats and birds.

Keeping safety in mind will get you and your pet through the season unharmed.

  • The excitement of a party may overwhelm some pets, so provide your cat or dog with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties.
  • Avoid the urge to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death.
  • Carefully consider whether to take your pet with you on a trip (air travel can be dangerous).
  • If Fluffy and Fido are staying home while you travel, be sure to choose a pet sitter or boarding kennel wisely.
  • Wherever your pets spend Thanksgiving, dogs and cats should all have collars and tags with ID giving a way to reach you.
  • Keep your pets well during cold weather.

Many rescued animals call the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch home, including turkeys who move freely around the property.

Treasure turkeys and other wildlife

  • Most of the turkey products Americans eat are consumed in the last two months of the year. Industrially produced turkeys are crowded into warehouses, bred to grow so fast that they may have trouble standing or walking, and are unable to mate naturally. If you eat turkey this season, please consider buying from a farmer invested in sustainability and animal welfare. If you're in the mood for an alternative, there are more meat-free products on the market than ever before, or you can make your own (see menu above).
  • Wild turkeys are making a comeback in some areas, and you may see them foraging in your neighborhood. Enjoy watching their activities, and keep an eye out for them while driving, but don't feed them, please. Wild turkeys may be numerous enough to become pesky in some areas. Try our effective, non-lethal ways to get these flocks to move along. Scaring them away is much better than killing them.
  • Whether your local wildlife consists of birds or is more down to earth, there are always ways to enjoy the wildlife around you.  See our suggestions on watching fall wildlife, get tips on feeding all backyard birds, and see ways you can help wildlife in your own yard.
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