Summertime sings with backyard gatherings, cold beverages, and everyone’s favorite recipes from the grill. But the last thing you want to do is to sing the barbecue blues when you have a grilling related accident with your furry friend. Hot grills and pets do not mix. This is why we see many pet emergencies from unattended grills and food left on tables and in open trash bins.

Since we are coming up on the 4th of July, your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services want to give you some tips to keep your dog safe while you grill. Read on to learn more. 

4 Important Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe While You Grill

Backyard barbecues are a popular choice for getting together with friends and family. This time honored tradition is of course going to pique the interest of your curious canine. Grilling has a number of risks for them. Keep the following safety tips in mind while you host your next barbecue.

  1. Avoid giving your pet people food.
    Yes, we are suckers for those big, hopeful eyes when we roll out the array of picnic foods, but they aren’t healthy for our dogs. Many foods from the grill are fatty, greasy, and loaded with salt and other ingredients that can hurt pets. There are also those food items that are toxic, like onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, Xylitol, and alcohol, among others. Fatty food also sets your pet up for pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas. Instead, stick to your pet’s regular treats or some baby carrots or green beans and avoid giving them dangerous foods.
  2. Keep your dog away from the grill.
    In the best case scenario, you can use baby gates or deck gates to enclose the grilling area. If not, have someone occupy your dog with activities and games while you are grilling. Grills are hot and contain grease and meat drippings that can scald a curious cur. Dogs are also notorious for snatching a very hot burger or steak (or any other edible item) off the grill with the risk of getting burned, and indulging in harmful food. (That’s a bummer for you, too, if the cut of meat is expensive!) It’s best to have your dog in a fenced backyard or inside while you’re using the grill or outdoor cooking station.
  3. Cover compost and trash bins.
    Open compost and trash containers are a golden opportunity for a sneaky pet to grab some scraps when people are distracted at barbecues. This trash often contains dangerous items like corn cobs, skewers, plastic wraps, string, and foil. There’s also the risk of your pet eating one of the toxic foods mentioned above. Make sure to cover all containers of trash and compost securely to avoid a pet emergency.
  4. Cooked bones should be a no-no.
    Many dog owners like to give their dogs leftover bones as a treat. Unfortunately, cooked bones are a big problem for our fur friends. Most bones splinter easily and lead to internal lacerations due to their sharp edges. Smaller bones that fit into a dog’s mouth can accidentally be swallowed and create a serious obstruction in the digestive tract or cause choking.

If your pet does manage to get burned, remember that they are likely scared and in pain. Take precautions that they don’t bite, nip or scratch you. Rinse the burn area right away with cold water, cover the burned area with a light bandage (to block air and to prevent licking of the wound) and bring them to a nearby pet emergency hospital. 

Remember that most pets are averse to loud noises and crowds. During the summer months, fireworks are popular for us but cause anxiety and stress in many animals. The noise and chaos of a party can cause anxious pets to bolt out the gate or door. Be ready by giving your pet a quiet room in the home, where they can relax and stay safe while the festivities are in full force.

If you have any questions about how to keep your dog safe while you grill, or any other pet related questions, we are here for you. Simply call us or comment with your question. Happy grilling!