Grilling This Summer? Keep Dogs Safe With These BBQ Tips

Is there a barbecue in your future? While grilling, make sure your family BBQ is pet safe. 

Warmer weather, long weekends, and annual family vacations are all the perfect times to start up the BBQ. A backyard BBQ screams summertime. Unpack the grill, grab some grub, and invite friends and family over for a good old-fashioned kick-off to BBQ season. Of course, the family pooch will likely also want to be involved, and since they are considered a family member, why not, right?

However, barbecues are not always pet-safe. In fact, they can be dangerous for your pet. So feel free to invite Fido out to the party, but use these tips to ensure safety for everyone this barbecue season.

Barbecues and Leftovers

BBQ food can be easy to access on lower tables, guest laps, and abandoned plates. There are several human foods to pay particular attention to as you party. Any raw meat or seafood can harm your pup, so position any yet-to-be-grilled food up and away in a safe place that your dog can't reach.

Other common barbecue foods that can be toxic for your dog include avocado (and guacamole), garlic, onions, grapes, peaches, corn on the cob, and chocolate. Especially important is managing discarded plates so that you keep all bones away from your pets.

Cooked chicken bones and chicken wings are hazardous because, if eaten, they can splinter and get lodged in the dog's esophagus or stomach. Curious pups can get into more than just food, and ingesting plastic wraps, aluminum foil, and toxic foods can lead to sudden digestive illness and diarrhea, and significant problems like pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas, that may even result in immediate veterinary care.

That will ruin your outdoor activity fast and does not make for a pet-safe BBQ atmosphere.

BBQ Safety

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Whether you are working with charcoal and lighter fluid or with a gas grill, there are burn dangers to anyone involved. But since you can't exactly explain that to your pup, put them inside or enclosed far away from the grill.

Cooking food that smells delicious is incredibly tempting, so it's best just to keep them away from a hot grill to avoid any burns or fires, so everyone can enjoy a pet-safe BBQ. Practicing grill safety is vital for everyone at your summer barbecues! Also, if you are cooking any foods on skewers, i.e., kebabs, you want to make sure that your pet does not get to them. Skewers can be a choking hazard for your pup, and if they do make it into your pooches digestive tract, they can cause a blockage.


Along with thunderstorms, fireworks at outdoor parties are among the highest in creating anxiety in canines. Every summer brings several stories of scared dogs running away in fear because of fireworks.

Whether you are setting off your own or know your town has them scheduled, keep your dog close or inside while they are going off. Always make sure your pup has proper ID tags if they do happen to run off from the loud sounds.

Unattended Alcohol

It can be hard to manage everyone's behavior at a cookout, so do what you can to avoid open or unattended alcohol containers. If you can limit the alcohol at your cookout to bottles and cans as opposed to cups with larger openings, that will be safer for pets, and your best bet that your four-legged friend doesn't drink something they shouldn't.

Do encourage your guests to tend to their drinks and discard them when they are finished. Dogs can get very sick very quickly if they ingest alcohol.


It's great to have your furry friend at the party, but remember they need to stay hydrated to avoid heatstroke or heat stress. So have an additional large bowl of fresh water outside that they can easily access.

Since your pet will likely be in and out, do not take their water bowl from inside the house. You do not want them to be stuck anywhere without water. Double-check that both water bowls are easily accessible.

With these safety tips, you can make sure that your best bud is part of your outdoor memories. Happy grilling!

Pet-Friendly Summer BBQ Foods

As a pet parent, you want to make sure your pooch is included in the festivities. Thankfully many dog-safe foods won't wreak havoc on your pet's stomach. Foods like watermelon and veggies like sweet potatoes are all safe for your puppy dog to consume. Just steer clear of those high-fat BBQ favorites like hotdogs!

Of course, there is always dog treats too!

Are you caring for your pets during BBQs? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page! 

READ MORE: 7 Foods You Probably Didn't Know Your Dog Can't Eat