Barbecue safety for dogs

At Vets Now, we see a rise in injuries and poisonings during the spring and summer, and over the holiday period in general, particularly when the weather is warm and sunny. Some of these cases are associated with barbecues so we’ve drawn up a list of tips to keep your dogs safe during barbecue season.

As emergency vet Aoife Reid, our head of Edge programs, explains: “We see a number of unusual injuries at this time of year as barbecues and summertime parties in particular can be hazardous for pets. As well as swallowing kebab skewers, eating cooked bones, developing food poisoning, or sustaining burn injuries from stealing piping hot food from the barbecue, pets can also sustain traumatic injuries such as getting their tails stuck in patio doors and breaking their legs.”

For more information on what to do if your dog swallows something it shouldn’t, such as a kebab skewer or corn on the cob, read our advice article on ‘foreign objects’.

Remember party food is not for pets

Make sure you keep food and drink out of reach. Be aware which human foods are dangerous to your pets, and make sure your guests know the rules too. Alcohol, corn on the cob and bones are particularly dangerous barbecue hazards. Foods high in fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) which can be very serious, and sometimes even fatal.

Establish boundaries

Sizzling sausages can be hard for a dog to resist. But when swallowed whole they can cause stomach ulcers and dehydration. Ensure this doesn’t happen by establishing boundaries. Grease drippings can also be alluring but combined with gravel grease can get stuck in their digestive tract.

Know your plants

If you’re planning to spruce up your garden, make sure you know which plants are poisonous to your pet. For example, lilies are particularly poisonous to cats, laburnum is poisonous to dogs, and daffodils, rhododendron and yew are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

Keep rubbish out of reach

We all know how skilled our pets, particularly dogs, can be when it comes to sniffing out tasty leftovers. If covered in grease or other food leftovers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, matches and kebab skewers can be very dangerous if your pet gets hold of them.

Make sure your dog doesn’t go for a wander alone

Parties can be a busy time with visiting friends, so make sure your pet doesn’t make an escape in the commotion. It may be worth making sure there’s an unoccupied room for them to relax in. But be careful they don’t get shut into a conservatory or greenhouse, as these can heat up very easily in summer and cause heat stroke which is often life-threatening.