Make Sure Your Backyard Barbeque is Safe for Your Pet

Backyard Barbeque'
Summer and backyard barbeques go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t grilled out yet this summer or received an invitation to someone else’s barbeque, there’s a good chance you will before the end of the warm weather season. For dogs and cats, the smell of forbidden food and the excitement of having different people around can make them behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. That means careful supervision on your part if your pet will be anywhere near the food or grill.
Hot Grills and Pets Are Not a Good Combination
A backyard grill, like an oven, can quickly reach a temperature of several hundred degrees. It only takes a second for your dog or cat to sniff at the food, lose her footing, and end up with a severe burn. Grilling tools like spatulas and meat thermometers can be a problem as well since they present a choking hazard. It’s best to keep your pet far away from the grill while it’s in use to avoid a serious injury. Also, make sure the grill master puts equipment away afterwards and that the grill is no longer hot before allowing your pet near it.

Make Sure No One Else Feeds Your Pet
You have worked hard to thwart your pet’s begging behavior, so the last thing you need is for someone else to give into the sad eyes performance. If you think it might be a problem, don’t be shy about asking people before the grilling gets started not to give your pet any food. Onions, garlic, and dairy products like cheese can be especially toxic for dogs and cats and are typical condiments for barbequed food.
Meat is generally safe, but only if it doesn’t contain bones that could cause your pet to choke. You should be the only one to give your pet meat. If you choose to do so, be sure to cut it into smaller pieces and give it to your dog or cat away from everyone else. This lets her know that begging just won’t work.
Beware of the Garbage Can
Your pet can still smell leftover food and bones in the garbage, so make sure that he can’t gain access to them. One way to do this is to place food scraps and bones in a sealed bag before putting them in a trash receptacle. You can also put a lock on the lid to ensure that he can’t knock the can down and eat what’s inside. Consuming food or bones from the garbage could cause stomach upset, an airway obstruction, tooth fracture, and several other problems.

Be Mindful of Sun Exposure
Cats and dogs can’t eliminate heat from their bodies the same way that people do. They lack the ability to sweat and only release heat through their paw pads and by panting. To avoid heatstroke, make sure your pet has constant access to clean, cool drinking water and doesn’t spend too long in direct sunlight. You should plan to keep your pet inside your air-conditioned home or at least let him in periodically if you’re the host. If you’re a guest at someone else’s home, ask him or her to point out the shady areas and have your pet stay there.

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Photo Credit: wip-studiolublin / Getty Images

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