Sizzling hamburgers and hot dogs are the smell of summertime, along with roasted corn on the cob, s’mores, and other delicious fare typical of barbecues and cookouts. These mouthwatering aromas are sure to draw in your neighbors, and your pet won’t be far behind. However, while offering invitations to your cookout, avoid issuing one to your furry pal. Barbecues contain a host of hazards for pets that may require emergency treatment. However, your four-legged friend may be drooling at the back door, begging to snatch a hot dog, so put in place the following ways to keep your pet safe during your cookout.

#1: Avoid sharing typical barbecue fare with your pet

One of the best parts of summertime is grilling out and hosting a barbecue for family and friends. Whether you’re keeping it simple with burgers and hot dogs, or breaking out the T-bone steaks and corn on the cob, avoid sharing your food with your pet. Many delicious picnic foods are unhealthy for pets, and some can be downright dangerous. Fatty foods, such as meats and mayonnaise-filled side dishes, can create life-threatening pancreatitis in your pet, while bones and corn cobs can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction that requires emergency surgery. Only a few bites of the rich foods typical of cookouts can cause vomiting and diarrhea in your pet. Stick to sharing fresh veggies and fruits, but avoid grapes, raisins, and onions, which are toxic to pets.

#2: Block access to the grill

Sometimes, the aroma of a perfectly grilled steak can be too mouthwatering to resist, and may lure your pet to make a poor decision. If your grill and the grilled meat is in easy reach, your pet may venture too close and bump their nose, burn their tongue, scorch their paw, or blacken their tail. Also keep your furry pal well away from the grill after you’re done cooking, as grease can splatter down below and lead to pancreatitis if ingested. Only allow your pet near your grill if it’s cooled down and cleaned up.

#3: Ensure your pet cannot reach unattended picnic tables

As you rush from your kitchen to your backyard picnic table carrying platters and bowls of food, your four-legged friend tries to help by getting underfoot. You are in such a hurry preparing for your cookout that you don’t realize your pet didn’t follow you back indoors. Next time you go outside, you discover your pooch devouring your perfectly prepared side dishes. If your pet cannot be trusted to stay away from the food-laden table, keep them confined indoors or on a leash while outside. Those side dishes, especially the ones with mayonnaise, can cause gastrointestinal issues.

#4: Prevent heatstroke in your pet

Although your cookout may include a pool party and frosty beverages, your fur-coat-wearing pet may feel like they’ve been placed on the grill alongside the hot dogs. Pets can easily overheat in the hot sun and high humidity, especially when they’re overly excited from the cookout commotion. If your pet is darting back and forth, looking for a handout or someone to play fetch, bring them indoors to cool off and settle down. A calm pet can stay outdoors, provided there’s plenty of shade, fresh water, and ventilation, but you should still monitor them closely for impending heatstroke signs, such as excessive drooling, heavy panting, and lethargy. At the first overheating sign, take your pet indoors and cool them down with a fan or a cool-water bath.

#5: Confine your pet indoors during your cookout

In some cases, it’s simply easier to keep your pet confined during your cookout. This not only keeps them out of trouble, but also prevents your guests from pestering your pet and creating stranger-induced anxiety, and from feeding them leftovers. Many pets do not enjoy large gatherings and can become stressed, so an indoor haven can provide multiple protection levels. Ask your guests to leave your pet alone. Better still, put your pet in a room furnished with their crate with a cozy bed, long-lasting treat or food puzzle, and a brand-new toy, and they won’t notice they were not invited to the party. 

Don’t let your furry pal fall victim to a corn cob or a bout of fatty meat-induced pancreatitis during cookout season. But, if your pet snatches food from the picnic table or scorches their nose on the grill, our Mill Creek Animal Hospital team is here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment.