Group of friends eating outdoorSometimes, the tastiest way to enjoy a warm July day is to fire up the grill and invite a few guests over. Backyard parties are a great way to celebrate summer with friends, family, and your party-loving canine.

Unfortunately, while you pass around the plate of ribs, your chow hound may be checking out the trash, stray food, and unattended dishes. To get the most out of your hosting experience, beef up on these pet safety tips about potentially hazardous foods.

Toxic Foods and Choking Dangers

While most barbequed foods are delicious to us, some of the ingredients can be poisonous to pets. This includes:

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Xylitol (a common sugar substitute)
  • Fruit with pits, such as apricots and peaches
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate

Another serious concern with grilled meats is the risk of choking or a GI obstruction. This includes chicken bones, ribs, steak bones, and all others. Not only can these bones cause choking, they can also splinter and cause internal damage.

Other emergencies involve corn cobs and kabob skewers. We recently treated a dog who was obstructed from eating the end off a basting brush, it was covered with yummy meat juice and BBQ sauce, so enlist your guests to help keep an eye on your pet!  

Even when a food is not poisonous, remember that indulging your pet in rich foods can lead to pancreatitis. Try avoiding people food altogether and offer a few healthy dog treats instead.

Put a Lid on It (Trash, That Is)

Speaking of trash, the most likely place to find dangerous items is in the garbage. Open trash cans also attract pests and wild animals, so do your part to keep all furbearers safe. Keep a lockable lid on your garbage can or one that’s designed to deter animals.

The same is true of compost piles. Dogs love to snarfle around in those, and you don’t want your pet exposed to toxic scraps of onion, garlic, mushrooms, and moldy food. Keep all compost out of your pet’s reach.

Other Pet Safety Tips

As with most parties, it’s easy to get distracted and caught up in conversation, leaving unattended pets to their own devices. Remember:

  • Open, hot grills are dangerous to hotdog bandits, so make sure the grill is being manned (or womaned) at all times.
  • If you plan on jamming to music or adding fireworks to the festivities, find a safe, quiet place inside for your pet (or consider boarding with us).
  • Don’t forget to microchip! Many pets go missing when doors or gates are accidentally left open.

Although there’s a lot to think about when including your pet in your backyard BBQ, it’s well worth it to prevent an emergency situation. With only a few safety measures, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a delicious party!