Keeping Your Dog Safe at a BBQ

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Summer's here, and with it comes the sizzle and smoke of barbecue season. While these alfresco feasts are a fantastic way to enjoy the sunny weather with friends and family, they can also pose some risks for our furry friends.

Dogs are naturally curious (and let's face it, always hungry), so they might find their way to the grill or the snack table. But not all human foods are safe for them. Here’s a quick-fetch guide to keeping your dog safe at your next BBQ and understanding what they can and cannot eat.

Pup-Approved BBQ Foods

1. Lean Meats: Dogs can enjoy small amounts of lean meats like chicken, turkey, and beef. Make sure these are cooked thoroughly and free of seasoning, especially onions, garlic, and excessive salt, which can be toxic to dogs. Think of it as their very own "dog's dinner" without the gourmet seasoning.

  1. Vegetables: Certain vegetables make great treats for dogs. Carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers can be served raw and are full of vitamins. Grilled vegetables like courgettes or sweet potatoes (without seasoning) can also be safe and delicious for your pup. It’s veggie heaven!
  1. Fruits: Some fruits are safe for dogs in moderation. Apples (cored and without seeds), blueberries, watermelon (seedless), and strawberries can be refreshing treats for your dog on a hot day. Always introduce new fruits slowly and in small amounts to avoid a belly ache.
  1. Plain Burger Patty: If you’re grilling burgers, you can set aside a plain, unseasoned burger patty for your dog. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through to avoid any bacterial contamination. Also, try to keep the amount they eat to one of two bites because too much fatty meat can be a health hazard for dogs.

Foods to Avoid at a BBQ

  1. Bones: Cooked bones, particularly from chicken or pork, can splinter and cause serious internal injuries or choking hazards. Always keep bones out of reach of your pets. A boneless BBQ is best for your pooch.
  1. Onions and Garlic: Both of these common BBQ ingredients are toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and damage to red blood cells. Keep these flavourful foes off your dog's menu.

  2. Corn on the Cob: While corn itself is not harmful, the cob poses a serious choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockages. Make sure to dispose of cobs in a secure bin. Let’s avoid any "cobbled" messes!
  1. Chocolate and Sweets: Many desserts and BBQ sauces contain chocolate or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, both of which are highly toxic to dogs. Keep all sweets and sugary treats out of reach.
  1. Avocado: While small amounts of avocado flesh are generally safe, the pit, skin, and leaves contain persin, which can be harmful to dogs. It’s best to avoid giving your dog any avocado. Let’s not have a "guaca-doggo" situation!
  1. Alcohol: Even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous for dogs, leading to vomiting, diarrhoea, central nervous system depression, and in severe cases, death. Ensure that all alcoholic beverages are kept well out of your dog’s reach. No "pup-tail" drinks here!

Additional BBQ Safety Tips

Secure the Grill: Dogs are naturally curious and might get too close to the grill. Ensure that your grill is stable and out of your dog’s reach to prevent burns or accidental tipping. We don’t want any "hot dog" accidents!

Rubbish Management: BBQs generate a lot of waste, from food scraps to packaging. Make sure rubbish is disposed of in a dog-proof bin to prevent your pet from scavenging harmful items.

Supervise Your Dog: Keep an eye on your dog throughout the event. With so many people around and food everywhere, it’s easy for dogs to get into trouble quickly.

Provide Distractions: Offer your dog safe, chewable toys or treats to keep them occupied and less interested in the human food around them. Keep your pup focused on their own fun.

Hydration is Key: Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, especially on hot days. Hydration is crucial to prevent heatstroke. Keep your woof well-watered, and if you want more tips on keeping your dog safe during the summer, check out our comprehensive summer safety guide.

Barbecues can be a fun and enjoyable time for everyone, including your canine friends, as long as you take the necessary precautions. By knowing which foods are safe and which to avoid, you can ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy during your summer gatherings. Keep these tips in mind, and you and your pup can both enjoy the festivities safely.

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