In the summer time, our pets can often appear to enjoy a BBQ just as much as we do. The opportunity to be surrounded by lots of meat sizzling away, smelling fantastic and tasting great can prove irresistible. However, it’s important to remember that BBQ’s can also be dangerous for pets, so here are Petplan’s top tips for keeping your cats and dogs safe and happy during the BBQ season.
Remember that BBQ food is not for pets
Whilst burgers, sausages and chicken legs are staples of the BBQ menu, they are not always suitable for pets.
The high fat content means that you need to be very careful what you feed your pet under the picnic table as this can sometimes cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), while bones can puncture your pet’s mouth, throat and can cause blockages and perforations in the stomach and intestines.
Corn on the cob is also, perhaps surprisingly, very dangerous for dogs to eat. Unlike most vegetables, dogs are unable to digest the cob at all, meaning it will try to pass through the intestine without being digested which, like bones, can lead to blockages and perforations – both of which are incredibly serious.
Alcohol is not safe for dogs or cats either. It is hugely toxic to them and even a small amount can be dangerous. Ensure your pet can’t access any alcohol and that any spillages are mopped up quickly.
Keep your BBQ tidy and safe for your pets
In all the fun of an afternoon in the sun, it can sometimes be easy to forget to keep things clean and tidy – but if you have a pet it’s absolutely vital.
Make sure to dispose of tin foil, glad wrap, skewers and other BBQ essentials properly as well as food leftovers. Pets love to hunt out scraps and to lick up delicious smelling grease, but accidentally swallowing tin foil or skewer splinters can do serious damage. Metal skewers can also be hazardous if trodden or chewed on, as they can pierce delicate areas such as the paws or the roof of the mouth.
Grease that drips onto the floor can cover pebbles and stones that a pet could mistake for edible morsels, so use a drip tray to keep the grease off the ground and ensure that you clean up all broken glass from any dropped glasses.
Give your pet as much attention as you normally do
If you’re hosting a BBQ with lots of friends and family around, it can be easy to assume your pet is fine for a few hours without much attention. However, with so many people around, your pet can become agitated and look for places to hide.
Make sure to keep sheds and other outdoor rooms locked up, so animals can’t hide away and overheat, and insure you keep somewhere in the house for your pet to cool down in the shade and relax. Keep their water bowl topped up so they always have something cool to drink and make sure all your guests are aware of what they can and can’t do.
Keep your pet away from the BBQ – even if it’s switched off or empty
Just because a BBQ is no longer in use, doesn’t mean it can be forgotten about as they can remain incredibly hot for many hours afterwards. Ensure to keep the lid closed so that your pet doesn’t climb up to eat up any scraps left behind and grill their paws by accident.
If you have a traditional rather than gas BBQ, then make sure you dispose of hot coals in buckets of water instead of spreading them on the ground, so pets don’t walk on them and injure their paws.
Sunscreen is for pets as well as humans
Sunburn is a problem for everyone – and cats and dogs are no exception. Ask your vet about the right sunscreen for your cat or dog – and this is especially important for paler breeds with lighter fur colours.