13 tips for a dog-safe barbecue

The sun's out, you've got friends round - why not have a barbecue? Just make sure you consider your dog and keep them safe

Can my dog eat barbeque food? 

1. Most barbeque-cooked food won't be good for your dog. Overly fatty and undercooked food such as chicken, burgers, and sausages can upset their digestion and give them an upset stomach.

2. However, if you do decide to give your dog a treat, ALWAYS check the ingredients. Many types of barbeque foods contain onion and garlic, and all members of the allium family are highly poisonous to dogs, so they must be avoided at all times.

3. Never feed your dog meat bones. They can be really harmful, especially if cooked. Don't give in to those puppy dog eyes and don’t feel guilty! A dog-friendly chew bone is a much better option. 

How to stop guests leaving dangerous things around

4. Especially if your dog is food-orientated, they will take advantage of any leftovers being left unguarded. It is dangerous for them to get hold of corn on the cob cores, kebab skewers, and meat bones. All of these are choking hazards.

5. There are other edible dangers. Most pets probably won't be interested in alcohol but don't risk it and place glasses at an inaccessible height. Needless to say, alcohol is really bad for pets. Sugar-free drinks are also poisonous, and so is chocolate. Watch out for any plates of desserts left around. If any glasses get smashed, clear up the glass to avoid any cuts to paws. Or provide reusable paper cups instead.

6. Ask your guests to be careful about what they leave lying around. It might be wise to provide extra table space, so food and drinks are out of reach. Provide a pet-proof bin so your guests can dispose of their leftovers.

How to stop guests feeding my dog.

7. It's very tempting to slip a dog a little treat when they are staring at you longingly! Ask your guests not to, and hopefully they will resist sharing their sausages. 

8. If you think your guests won’t follow your advice, consider putting your dog away while you are eating. When all the food is cleared away, pets are free to re-join the party.

What are the dangers of the barbeque itself?

9. The barbeque itself is obviously incredibly dangerous. The smoke produced is toxic, so humans and pets should not breathe it in. Be extra cautious about fumes blowing towards birds and small mammals as smoke is toxic.

10. The barbeque is a real danger zone that can cause severe burns. To avoid any issues, keep your dog away. If you doubt that they won’t keep a safe distance, put them away safely until everything is completely cool.

Is there anything else to be aware of? 

11. Don’t forget the weather! If you are having a barbeque, the chances are it will be hot. They won't necessarily head off to the shade to cool down when they need to. Dogs can become dehydrated or get heatstroke quickly, which is serious as it can be fatal. Read our blog about spotting the signs of over-heating.

12. If you feel the need for sun cream, some pets may need it too. This applies to any dogs and cats with white hair, thin fur, or pink ears and noses to prevent them from getting sunburnt.

13. Your dog may need a break from the party if they get too stressed or excited. Having lots of visitors can be overwhelming for them. As a host, even though you have lots to do, you need to make sure any visiting children aren’t bothering your pets too much. Give them a safe place to go if they need it.

Taking the time to think about making your barbecue safe for you pets will help you all to have a good time!

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.