Summertime means grilling outdoors and spending time with family and friends. Barbecuing is a summertime tradition for many families, but it’s important to keep everybody’s safety in mind, including the dog.

Here are some tips to help make sure your dog has a great time at the BBQ, without putting their safety, and yours, at risk.

Keep Your Dog Away From the Grill

One hazard that is often overlooked is the danger posed by curious dogs. Even if your dog is well-trained and usually stays away from the grill, there is always a chance they could wander over and get hurt. Grills can get very, very hot and dogs have sensitive paws that can be easily burned. There may also be hazards such as hot coals or sharp objects lying around.

The best way to protect your dog is to keep them away from the barbecue area altogether. Don’t let them run around unsupervised and keep them contained in a separate area, like an exercise pen, while you’re cooking. Be sure to make the area comfortable for your dog with water and some toys. If you’re grilling at a park or campground, keep your dog on a tie-out system, so that you can enjoy your time without having to worry about your dog wandering off.

Don’t Leave the Grill Unattended

One key hazard to avoid is leaving the grill unsupervised. Never leave the grill unattended, whether or not pets are present. If you have to step away from the grill for any reason, make sure it is turned off, or designate someone else to tend to the grill in the meantime. Dogs, and children, are curious creatures, and they may be tempted to investigate the source of all those delicious smells. If the grill is left unattended, they could easily burn themselves, knock the grill over, or even start a fire. By being vigilant, you can avoid accidents and enjoy a safe and fun BBQ season.

Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Scraps

Many of the foods that are safe for humans can be dangerous for dogs. Something as simple as a scrap of food falling on the ground can be a choking hazard. Despite being an invited guest, your dog is not entitled to the same foods as the humans at the BBQ. Always supervise your dog during BBQ gatherings and make it known that others are not allowed to give your dog food. Don’t let your dog beg for food either, as it could make some people uncomfortable. To help your dog feel included, bring along some of your dog’s favorite treats or chew toys to keep them entertained while the rest of you eat.

If any food does happen to fall on the ground, be sure to clean it up immediately. Also, be sure to dispose of any discarded food properly – a dog rummaging through the garbage for food can be a choking hazard.

Bring a Bowl & Water to Keep Your Dog Hydrated During the BBQ

When you fire up the grill for a backyard BBQ, your dog may start drooling in anticipation. And while they may not be able to chow down on the same foods as you, they can certainly feast. Just be sure to bring plenty of dog-friendly foods for your dog to eat. Also, bring plenty of water. Have treats for rewarding good behavior. Keep an eye on your dog’s water bowl and be sure to fill it regularly. Travel bowls for dogs make great options for barbecues and summer picnics.

Dog Safe BBQ Foods

Your dog isn’t limited to their daily bowl of kibble when joining you for backyard parties and gatherings. If you’re looking for some ideas on fun, festive summer snacks that both you and your dog can enjoy at the next BBQ, we’ve got plenty of options listed below! Just be sure to keep your dog’s allergies and special needs in mind, and to be mindful of any additional additives such as herbs, spices, sauces, and seasonings.

As a general word of warning, you’ll need to stay away from grapes, chocolate, garlic, onion, paprika, and chicken with bones in them. If you’re unsure about offering your dog a certain food or ingredient, check with your vet first.

Common dog-friendly BBQ items include:

  • Grilled vegetables such as sweet potatoes, plain potatoes, and zucchini.
  • Boneless and unseasoned meats such as plain grilled chicken breast, salmon, pork, and hamburger patties. Steak, rib, and chicken bones are a choking hazard and can cause damage to your dog’s throat.
  • Fresh fruit such as apples (no core), blueberries, bananas, and watermelon (remove the rind and seeds).

BBQs are a summertime staple and can be a great way for friends, family, and fur babies to gather round and celebrate. By following these simple tips, you can keep your dog safe and happy at your next BBQ. And because it bears repeating, don’t forget to bring plenty of vet-approved snacks and water! After all, it’s hard work being a good BBQ buddy!

Happy Barbecuing!

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