I love summer, mainly for the food. I don’t care if it’s pouring down rain, I will still find a way to fire up the grill. Give me burgers, ribs, lightly-charred corn on the cob, chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans... I might have to go BBQ before I even finish writing this paragraph. The only one who possibly loves barbecue season more than me, is my dog. She’s a pro at giving me the “puppy eyes.” As tempting as it is to toss her a hotdog, it can actually cause more harm than good. Here are some tips for how to enjoy summer cooking while also keeping your dog happy and safe. Bon apetite!
Keep Your Dogs Away From The Grill
I’ll start with the obvious one, a hot grill equals a bad day for a dog. Not only can it be extremely hot, but the proximity of propane tanks and sharp barbecue tools make it a not-so-safe place for you dog to be roaming. Create a barrier between your pup and the barbecue or try to give your dog something more fun to do like chasing a ball or playing with a toy. Be sure to keep lighter fluid, charcoal, and matches well out of reach.
If your dog does happen to get burned by the grill, carefully clean the burned area with cold water and cover it with a bandage so your dog won’t lick the wound. Keep in mind your dog is probably afraid and may bite or scratch, so use extra caution. Once you’ve dressed your dog’s wound, head to the vet.
Watch For Hazardous Foods
Possibly the biggest hazard to your dog at any BBQ is the food that is being served. Dogs naturally flock to food, but there’s a lot of food at a barbecue that can make your dog sick. Here’s a quick list of foods to avoid and foods that are safe.
Foods to Avoid:
- Ribs and bones: These can cause damage to your dog’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Cooked bones splinter and can laserate or puncture your dog’s esophagus and intestines.
- Onions: Garlic, shallots, scallions, and all members of the onion family are actually toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to anemia. Symptoms typically occur after five days and include weakness, lethargy, fatigue, and dark-colored urine. Go to the vet if your dog is displaying any of these issues.
- Corn on the cob: This can easily get caught in your dog’s throat and cause choking.
- Guacamole: Like onions, avocados are toxic to dogs and can cause respiratory problems as well as fluid build up around the heart.
- Grapes: Fruit salad is a health-conscious addition to any BBQ, but grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Vomiting will occur 12 hours after ingestion. Visit your vet immediately.
- Chips: Definitely avoid feeding your dog potato chips or pretzels. The salt and oils will upset your dog’s stomach.
- Chocolate: Most folks know this one, but it is always worth calling out. People love chocolate, but it can be fatal to a dog. This one is a strict no-no.
- Beer: Or any alcoholic beverage, really. Fun for people, dangerous and toxic for dogs. Just a few swallows can cause problems. Trash unwanted drinks in a sealed trash can quickly.
- Burgers and hotdogs: In moderation, a hamburger or hotdog is ok for your dog. Just be careful to not give too much. The fatty meat in burgers isn’t super healthy and dogs aren’t used to the extra salts and preservatives in hotdogs. Too much of either can lead to diarrhea.
- Veggies: Zucchini and sweet potatoes are very dog-friendly and healthy, too!
- Certain fruits: Blueberries and watermelon (without the seeds) are a refreshing treat for your pup on a hot summer day.
- Grilled meat: Steak, ribs (boneless, of course), and cooked salmon are all fine. You can even add a little BBQ sauce. It won’t hurt your dog in small doses. Just be sure it isn’t super spicy.
- If you really want to make your dog feel like a part of the fun, Two Little Cavaliers has BBQ recipes for dogs on their blog, like this recipe for dog-friendly shish kebabs.
Keep An Eye On The Garbage
Just because you’ve gotten this far by hiding the food, doesn’t mean they won’t work hard to find it in the trashcan. Make sure you have a waste bin with a lid and that the trash is in a somewhat hidden place from your dog.
After grilling, clean up as quickly as possible and keep a lid on any food items you don’t want your dog getting into.
What are your tips for a safe BBQ with your dog? Let us know in the comments section!