BBQ Safety for Dogs & Cats | The Dos and Don'ts of Grilling with Pets

Barbecues are fun for the whole family, and with delicious smells wafting off the grill, it's no surprise your pets want in on the action too! Our Providence South Animal Hospital vets are here to talk to you about how to keep your pets safe around the BBQ and what foods they can safely enjoy!  

Pet Safety Around the Grill

BBQs are a great way to enjoy an evening - and even better with your furry four-legged companions around. However, there are a few things you should know to keep your pets safe around the grill. And while it might seem obvious, the most important thing to remember is to keep your pets well away from the grilling area. It is only too easy for a dog to chase a ball too close to the grill or your cat to jump up to steal a bite of freshly grilled chicken. Allowing your dog or cat to get too close to the BBQ is an easy way for them to get burned or eat something they shouldn't! See below for more tips and advice on how to safely grill with pets around:

Keep the grilling accessories away from your pet

The tools used while grilling can be dangerous for your cat or dog. Things like string, foil, knives, and cooking sprays can be dangerous, or even toxic, to your pet. String and foil could easily get lodged in your pet's throat, or they could cut themselves on knives or other sharp objects. Keep these tools out of your pet's reach and put them safely away when you are finished using them. 

Anything that comes into contact with the BBQ and food will typically smell delicious to your pet and they could easily mistake it for food.  These items can include bones, plates, foils, utensils, and more. To avoid choking hazards or your pet eating something dangerous, keep your pet inside or away from the grill until you have fully cleaned and secured any garbage. 

Furthermore, items that come into contact with raw meat can have bacteria on them, which when consumed can make your cat or dog very sick.

What can you feed your pet?

Many foods that are safe for people can be deadly or toxic to cats and dogs, and a lot of them are found around the BBQ. Foods like chocolate and grapes often make an appearance at the dessert and snack table and can be toxic to cats and dogs.  

Meat that contains skewers or bones can be dangerous, these items can splinter and cause internal damage or become lodged in your pet's throat and cause choking. 

Following is a list of some harmful BBQ foods that you should NOT FEED your cats or dogs:

  • Uncooked meats: Just like humans, eating raw meats can make your furry friend sick because it could contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
  • Onions, shallots, scallions, and garlic: While flavourful add-ons to humans food, they contain a toxin called "thiosulfate" that is harmful to animals.
  • Hotdogs: Hotdogs typically contain more fat and calories than your pet should be eating and overfeeding them hotdogs could cause weight gain. If you are going to give your dog or cat hotdogs, be sure to only give them a small, treat-sized amount. 
  • Chicken Wings and bone-in meat: As discussed above, meat with bones can be a choking hazard or puncture your pet's digestive tract.
  • Corn on the cob: The shape and size of the corn can block your pet's airway and can make them choke.
  • Guacamole: Avocados contain a toxin called Persin that can cause digestive distress. They are also high in fat which may upset your pup's stomach. 
  • Chips and pretzels: Overly salty snacks should be avoided as they can cause thirst and excessive urination or lead to sodium ion poisoning in rare cases. 

We have covered a few of the food's you can't feed your pet, now let us list some of the SAFE BBQ food for dogs and cats: 

  • Lean burgers (in small quantities) 
  • Grilled meats (such as steak and chicken) and fish - as long as they are boneless, unseasoned, and fully cooked
  • Grilled or raw vegetables that are safe for dogs and cats (cucumbers, zucchini, and sweet potato are all great options!) 
  • Dog and cat-friendly fruits such as apples, blueberries, and watermelon
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you believe your pet has eaten something they shouldn't, contact our Waxhaw vets immediately. Our team is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about BBQ safety and foods you should and shouldn't feed your cat or dog.

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Providence South Animal Hospital provides comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Waxhaw.

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