As we head into spring and summer—the period of time most of us spend as much time outdoors as possible—it’s impossible not to get excited about the prospect of barbecues and cookouts. While these are fun for those attending, they can often pose a significant danger to dogs in a variety of ways. Before you fire up the grill, check out our tips for ensuring a successful and safe cookout.
Don’t Give Your Dog Too Many Scraps
We’ve all fallen victim to puppy-dog eyes from time to time, but it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t get too many “treats” during the cookout. Not only can it upset your dog’s stomach, but also in the case of things like grilled bone-in chicken or wings, it’s possible for your dog to swallow chicken bones, which can be hazardous. Make sure your guests know that your dog shouldn’t be given any table scraps, and gently enforce that rule if you see it being broken. In the same vein, be sure to keep alcoholic beverages away from dogs, as some of them will see an unattended cup as a great opportunity.
Keep the Grill Away from Pets
When people are playing with the dog, be sure they are doing so far away from the grill. One misstep can cause serious injury to the dog, the people, or both. If your dog is particularly jumpy, you may even want to consider keeping the grill behind some type of temporary fence so that the dog doesn’t try to jump at you while you are flipping burgers. The only dog near the grill should be a hot dog.
Pay Attention to Your Dog
Aside from actually spending time with your dog, we actually mean paying attention to your dog’s demeanor to ensure that they aren’t getting too tired, too hot, or too over-stimulated at the cookout. Too many people around can overwhelm dogs easily, and if you notice your dog becoming antsy or aggressive, you may want to consider bringing the dog inside. While your dog is outside, also be sure to check that he or she has enough water—especially if your cookout is on a hot, sunny day or your dog runs around a lot.
Keep Other Dangers Away from the Dog
Other things at cookouts can be dangerous aside from food scraps and the grill itself. Things like bug repellant and citronella candles, for instance, can be imbibed or knocked over, causing injury or other problems, and charcoal can also be mistaken for kibble (albeit very large kibble!) so that should also be kept away from dogs.
Cookouts can be fun, and they don’t require much additional planning in order to keep your pets safe, but there should be some extra precautions in place to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.