How to keep cats and dogs safe during BBQ season

1. BBQ food is not for pets

The opportunity to be surrounded by lots of sizzling meat can prove irresistible for our pets who can appear to enjoy a BBQ just as much as we do. And with guest lists being limited to members of your household, it might be tempting to have our four-legged family members join in on the feast.

Unfortunately the high fat content of BBQ staples such as burgers, sausages and chicken legs means that they are not always suitable for pets. You need to be very careful what you feed your pet under the picnic table as it can sometimes cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), while bones can puncture your pet’s mouth or 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.

2. Keep your BBQ safe and tidy 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, cling film, 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. Ensure any broken glass from dropped glasses is cleaned up thoroughly as this too can injure their paws.

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.

3. Give your pet access to shade and water

If we’re lucky enough to see the temperature creep up be sure to keep an eye on how much heat exposure your pet is getting. Ensuring your pet always has access to somewhere cool in the house or shade to relax is vital as temperatures that are dangerous to dogs may feel perfectly comfortable to us.

Greenhouses and conservatories should also be locked up so cats can’t hide away and overheat.

Keep your pets water bowls topped up so they always have something cool to drink.

4. 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.

Ensuring the lid is kept closed is important so that your pet doesn’t climb up to eat up any scraps left behind and burn 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, to ensure pets don’t walk on them and injure their paws.

5. Sun cream 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 dog or cat sun cream for your pet – this is especially important for paler breeds with lighter fur colours, and in the warmer months when dog’s coats tend to be groomed shorter. While sun cream will help prevent against sunburns, it won’t help with overheating so you will still need to ensure your dog is spending plenty of time in the shade.

Remembering to pet proof before you start your BBQ means you and your pets can enjoy spending more time in the garden safely. Happy barbequing!