Summer Barbecues: How to Make Them Safe for Your Pet

Posted by Kat Tretina

Is there a barbecue in your future?

Unpack the grill, grab some grub, and invite the family over for a good old-fashioned barbecue outside. The family pooch will likely also want to be involved, and since they are considered a family member, why not, right?

However, barbecues can be dangerous for your pet. Feel free to invite Fido out to the party, but use these tips to ensure safety for everyone this barbecue season.

Barbecues and Leftovers

Barbecue food can be easy to access on lower tables, guest laps, and abandoned plates. There are several foods to pay particular attention to as you party. Any raw meat or seafood can be harmful to your pup, so position any yet-to-be-grilled food up and away in a safe place that your dog can't reach.

Other common barbecue foods that can be toxic for your dog include avocado (and guacamole), garlic, onions, grapes, peaches, and chocolate. Especially important is managing discarded plates so that you keep any and all bones away from your pets.

Cooked chicken bones and chicken wings are especially dangerous because if eaten they can splinter and get lodged in the dog's throat or stomach. Curious pups can get into more than just food and ingesting plastic wraps, aluminum foil, and toxic foods can lead to sudden digestive illness and diarrhea, and major problems like pancreatitis that may even result in immediate veterinary care.

That will ruin your outdoor activity fast!


Whether you are working with a charcoal and lighter fluid or with gas grill, there are burn dangers to anyone involved. But since you can't exactly explain that to your pup, put them inside or enclosed far away from the grill.

Cooking food that smells delicious is especially tempting, so it's best to just keep them away from a hot grill to avoid any burns or fires. Practicing grill safety is important for everyone at your summer barbecues!



Along with thunderstorms, fireworks at outdoor parties are among the highest in creating anxiety in canines. Every summer brings several stories of scared dogs running away in fear because of fireworks.

Whether you are setting off your own, or you know your town has them scheduled, keep your dog close or inside while they are going off. Always make sure your pup has proper ID tags in the event that they do happen to run off from the loud sounds.

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Unattended Alcohol

It can be hard to manage everyone's behavior at a cookout, so do what you can to avoid open or unattended alcohol containers. If you can limit the alcohol at your cookout to bottles and cans as opposed to cups with larger openings, that will be safer for pets and your best bet that your four-legged friend doesn't drink something they shouldn't.

Do encourage your guests to tend to their drinks and discard them when they are finished. Dogs can get very sick very quickly if they ingest alcohol.

Group of friends eating outdoor. Woman feeding her dog


It's great to be able to have your furry friend at the party, but remember they need to stay hydrated to avoid heatstroke or heat stress. Have an additional large bowl of fresh water outside that they can easily access.

Do not take the one from inside as they will probably be in and out and do not want them to be stuck in a spot either way without water. Double check that both water bowls are easily accessible.

Physician Skin Solutions

With these safety tips you can make sure that your best bud is part of your outdoor memories. Happy grilling!

Are you careful for your pets during BBQs? Tell us in the comments below. 

READ MORE7 Foods You Probably Didn't Know Your Dog Can't Eat

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Summer Barbecues: How to Make Them Safe for Your Pet