Pet BBQ Safety Tips
Summer is here, so bring on the backyard BBQs, right? There’s nothing like the camaraderie of being outdoors, enjoying fire-grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, of mopping up puddles of BBQ sauce with a slice of white bread, or of eating corn right off the cob. Memories are made watching children and puppy dogs bound through sprinklers at these fun summer events. To ensure every summer BBQ moment you have this summer is magical, make sure you know what the summer BBQ pet do’s & don’ts are.
Don’t Let Your Pet Near the Grill
What’s a backyard BBQ without firing up the grill? Let’s be honest…food tastes better when it’s grilled; however, grills pose a danger for cats and dogs. Whether you’re cooking on a gas, propane, or charcoal grill, open flames are dangerous and it’s important to keep the grill monitored at all times.
A curious cat can easily burn a paw (or worse) trying to bat a hotdog off the burner. Meanwhile, pouncing pups have been known to become injured (and even to knock over the entire grill) leaping to pull off a nibble while the grill master’s back is turned. Pets and humans alike can sustain injuries when grills are left unattended.
Do Keep Your Trashcan Covered
The outdoor trashcan collects a lot of rubbish from lighter fluid to bamboo skewers to meat wrappers to matches and everything in between. The lure of an open trashcan is almost too much for any dog to resist; however, your dog can’t differentiate between a meat wrapper that has lighter fluid on it versus one that doesn’t. Choking and illness are very possible when the trashcan is left open.
Do Use a Natural Insect Repellent
Humans and pets alike need to avoid insect bites during the summer (especially dogs as heartworms are carried by mosquitoes); however, repellents containing DEET are harmful to dogs. Consult your vet for something that’s pet-friendly; for example, Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil is a known insect repellent and is recommended by many veterinarians.
Don’t Feed Your Pet These Foods from Your Plate
When the grilling is finished and it’s time to eat, it can be tempting to give your dog a nibble from your plate; however, many BBQ staples can do extreme harm to your pet.
- If you give a dog a bone, you run a serious risk of damaging your dog’s internal organs. Cooked bones break up easier; the shards can be very dangerous once ingested.
- Alliums (onions, garlics, chives, etc.) are known to be poisonous to dogs and will make your pet sick.
- Corn on the cob is a choking hazard for dogs or, if ingested, can cause bowel obstruction.
That said, there are some foods that are safe—just make sure they aren’t still hot when you serve them. Such foods include:
- Hotdogs cut into pieces
- Grilled sweet peppers, zucchini or sweet potato
- Lean chicken, fish, or steak (spare the spice rub, though)
- Chilled seedless watermelon
So, there are ways for your pet to enjoy the spoils of the BBQ without getting sick; however, it’s best to advise your guests in advance what your dog can and cannot eat as well as to train your pet not to beg or to jump on the table.
Do Have a Good Time
When you know how to have a safe time at a BBQ, you can easily have a fun time. By keeping the water bowl full, feeding your pet safe snacks, attending to grill safety, and keeping the trashcan closed, you and your pet can make nothing but happy, lasting summer BBQ memories.
Between the BBQs, keep your pet’s diet balanced with Wellness Pet Foods’ all-natural foods and treats.
By Alison Streit Birken, DVM