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BBQ for Dogs & Cats | Safety Tips, What Dogs & Cats Can Eat

The sun is out and the weather is warm - what a great time to be outside, especially to enjoy some delicious BBQ! You may find it even more fun to have your beloved cat or dog in the yard. Find out which BBQ foods you can feed your pet and how you can keep your cat or dog safe around the grill.

Wondering How to Keep Your Pet Safe Around the Grill?

BBQs are fun for the whole family and it's exciting to have your pets outside to join in for the fun. However, there are several things you should know in order to keep your furry companion safe this BBQ season and avoid veterinary emergencies. Below are some ways to keep your cat or dog safe around the grill.

Keep them away from the grill

This first one is a bit obvious, however, when your dog is running and jumping around after their ball or your cat smells some delicious grilled chicken and jumps up to steal a bite they can easily burn a paw, get seriously hurt, or make themselves sick. That's why it is important to keep an eye on the BBQ at all times to make sure your furry friend doesn't go near it. 

Keep the grilling accessories away from your pet

When you are barbequing, there are lots of supplies and equipment you need to get the job done such as foil, string, knives, and sprays - the list goes on. However, these can be dangerous and even toxic for your pets. Some string or foil can easily get lodged in your pet's throat (which would require surgery to remove) or they can cut themselves on the knives and pointy objects. Keep these tools out of your pet's reach and put them safely away after they are done being used.

Make sure everything is completely clean when you are done

Anything that comes into contact with the BBQ and food will typically have a yummy, meaty smell on it that pets can easily mistake for food. These items can include bones, plates, foils, utensils, and more. Anything that comes into contact with meat (especially raw meat) can have bacteria on it, which when consumed can make your cat or dog very sick. Things such as bones, plastic utensils, and foil can be a choking hazard for your pet if they try to eat/ swallow them. To avoid these incidents, keep your pet inside or away from the grill until you have fully cleaned and safely secured your garbage to keep your animal companion from getting into it.

Be very careful of the foods you feed your pet

As everybody knows, there are many foods that are safe for people that can be deadly and toxic to cats and dogs, and lots of them are found around the BBQ. Foods like chocolate, raisins, and grapes, which often make appearances at the desert and snack tables, are very toxic for pets. In addition, main dishes such as hotdogs and fatty burgers are very high in calories and extremely unhealthy for dogs. One normal size hotdog for a dog that weighs approximately 9kg (20 pounds) is the equivalency of a human eating 3 burgers in a sitting.

There is also the subject matter of foods that contain bones and sticks such as ribs, chicken wings, and kabobs. These delicious wonders for humans are a serious choking hazard for dogs as the small bones or pieces of wood can get stuck in your cat or dog's throat. The pointy ends can also puncture their digestive tract.

Following is a list of some harmful BBQ foods that you should NOT FEED your cat or dog:

  • Uncooked meats: Just like you, your furry friend can get very sick from eating raw meats because it could contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
  • Onions, shallots, scallions, and garlic: These flavorful add-ons to human foods can harm your pet's red blood cells because they contain a toxin called "Allium".
  • Hotdogs: This favorite is packed with tons of calories and fats that are unhealthy for your pet. Hotdogs also contain lots of salt and preservatives that can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. If you do want to feed your dog some of your hotdog, cut it up into small pieces and give them a tiny portion of your meal. 
  • Chicken Wings and bone-in meat: As discussed above, meat with bones can be a choking hazard and puncture your pet's digestive tract.
  • Corn on the cob: The shape and size of the corn can block your pet's airway and can make them choke.
  • Guacamole: This dip can cause your cat or dog lots of digestive distress, and when ingredients like garlic and onions are added to it, it can be toxic.
  • Chips and pretzels: These crunchy snacks have an excessive amount of salt, which can cause thirst and excessive urination and even sodium ion poisoning. This can lead to vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, fever, depression, seizures, and possibly death.

We have covered a few of the foods you can't feed your pet. Now, let us list some of the bbq foods YOU CAN FEED cats and dogs:

  • Lean burgers
  • Grilled meats (steak) and fish - as long as they are boneless, plain, and fully cooked
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Plain hamburger ( a couple of small bites)
  • Boneless, unseasoned chicken
  • Seedless watermelon

If you believe your pet is choking or has eaten something they shouldn't, contact our Tucson vets immediately. Our emergency veterinarians are here to help your cat or dog 7 days a week.

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Our board-certified critical care specialists and skilled emergency veterinarians are here for you and your pet. If your dog or cat needs emergency care, get in touch with us right away.

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