8 Tips for Safe Outdoor Barbecues With Dogs

After all, what's a BBQ without dogs?
By: Carol Bryant
Dog hanging out at a barbecue

Fire up the grill, gather up friends and family, and pass the potato salad—summer barbecue season is here. More than one type of hot dog is likely to partake in the festivities and that means safety first. Here are eight must-know tips to keep your pooches safe and sound all season long:

Don’t Play With Fire

Matches contain phosphorus, which if ingested, is poisonous to dogs. Similarly, lighter fluid poses its own set of risks, so keep all flammables and barbecue-starting materials out of Fido’s reach.

Keep Your Cool

“Keep track of temperature and what your dog is doing activity wise ,” veterinarian, Dr. Laurie Coger, shares. “Heatstroke signs include distress, a glazed look in eyes, panting changes, and weakness. Prevent it from happening by keeping dogs out of the sun, not exercising in the warmer heat/humidity, and allowing free access to clean, cool water at all times.” If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary care.

Just Say No

Dogs have a way of pleading with their eyes (or bark) for table scraps and grilled food. Saying no doesn’t make you the bad parent. Many barbecued foods are fatty and greasy and can lead to pancreatitis or other sudden digestive illness. No one wants to spend the day in an emergency room, so save the guilt trip and replace with carrot sticks, green beans, or the dog’s regular treats.

Bug Off

Pests are a part of outdoor activity: Everything from fleas and ticks to flies and bees. Just as you need protection from pests, so does your dog. Keep DEET-containing products away from dogs. They are designed for humans and not pets. DEET is highly toxic for pets. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian for recommendations on pest repellent products that are safe to dogs. Stop “tick taxis” in their tracks. Ticks can cling onto dogs and then hitch a ride into your home. Closely examine dogs before allowing them inside after a walk.

Mulch Alert

Thought cocoa mulch looks nice and serves a purpose, it is derived from the same plant that provides us chocolate and cocoa powder. While barbecuing, never allow dogs to roam, especially if cocoa mulch is in the vicinity. The best bet is to not use it at all. The caffeine and theobromine in it can both lead to serious consequences for your dog if ingested.

Escape Artist

Dogs who hear loud sounds or thunder might bolt, so if you are dog is outside during barbecuing, be sure the perimeter is secure, gates are closed, and the dog does not have access to any open areas.

Here Comes the Sun

Sunscreen is important to dogs and people. And yes, dogs can get sunburn and even skin cancer. Because dogs tends to lick whatever we put on their coats and skin, talk to your pet’s veterinarian for canine-friendly sun protectants.  Pay particular attention to the area around Fido’s nose and bare spots.

Going Green

Lawn chemicals can be downright toxic and lethal to pets. Dogs can ingests, inhale, and/or absorb chemicals leading to major problems. Never allow pets on treated laws, follow manufacturer guidelines, double check with your pet’s vet, and wash a dog’s paws immediately should any interaction occur. Even if your lawn isn’t treated, some reports indicate herbicides can travel up to 50 feet from an application site via the wind.

Summer and barbecuing are for fun and outdoor memories, so enjoy but proceed with caution and keep all family members safe and sound.

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