Pet Safety

BBQ Safety - 9 top tips for pet parents

Bianca Amponsah
Main Blog Image - Happy friends with dog having a barbeque

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet and that means BBQ season is well and truly upon us. 

What's better than the sizzling sounds and smell of food, feel-good music and having fun with family and friends? 

But whilst we get swept away in the summer festivities, it's important to consider our furry family members. 

All the tempting treats, intoxicating aromas and the exciting environment can spell disaster for a dopey doggo or curious cat. 

Make sure your much-loved pets stay safe during the party and take a look at our 9 top tips! 

Pet Proof The Area


Smart as they are, our pets are only one silly accident away from a serious injury. Especially when there's lots of changes to their usual surroundings. 

The biggest threat to watch out for is the huge, scorching open flame and the barbecue itself.  

Make sure it's secure on a flat surface and out of the way, where it's less likely to fall over. Never leave the barbecue unattended when pets are around, as sometimes their senses can get the better of them. 

Watch your pet closely if they're soaking in the garden sun with you or sniffing for scraps around the area. A cheeky chonk may try and steal a sausage off a hot grill and get a burnt paw or mouth! 

Always close the lid once you've finished cooking and never let your pet get too close to the BBQ. 

Remember that barbecues can take hours to cool down and hot coals and ashes can all cause severe burns. 

Let the BBQ cool overnight and make sure any pets are supervised at all times when they go out. And never leave sharp utensils or skewers on the floor as these can be hazardous if trodden or chewed on. 

Keep Harmful Substances and Poisons Away


If you're using lighting fluid or firelighters to start your barbecue, make sure you store them away immediately after use. Same goes for matches, as they contain hazardous chemicals. 

Likewise, lock all garden and cleaning products away in a safe place where pets can't get their paws on them. 

Remember to keep alcoholic drinks, sugar free drinks and chocolate treats and desserts way out of reach.  

Alcohol is super dangerous for cats and dogs and can even cause death so ensure any spillages are mopped up quickly.Make sure your guests don't leave any bottles or cans on the floor where your pet can have a sneaky slurp.

Bin Your BBQ Bits


Rubbish should be safely discarded to avoid any injury or ingestion. Sharp bamboo sticks or metal skewers used for kebabs can cause serious damage to your pet's eyes, paws and mouth. 

Dispose of tin foil, cling film and other BBQ essentials properly, as well as fatty food leftovers and bones. 

These are choking hazards and can cause potentially life-threatening problems, such as gut blockages and injuries for dogs and cats. 

Throw everything away in a super secure lidded bin that your pet can't break into! 

Set Up A Safe Space


BBQs involve big groups of people in your garden or home, which can be unsettling for pets. Especially if you have a house full of strangers and small children. 

Some dogs can find this situation exciting and fun, but others can get overwhelmed with all the commotion and attention. Our doggos are eager to please and sometimes don't know when to stop. 

That's why it's important that you watch them closely so you know when to give them some time to themselves. 

Cats in particular can get startled and may become skittish with unfamiliar faces, sudden loud sounds and excitable behaviours. This may cause the fight or flight response to kick in and they could end up running off. 

Before your guests arrive, set up a calm, quiet area where they can retreat if it all gets too much. Leave them with lots of water, toys, their bed and a favourite blanket. 

Supervise Your Pet


We all know when our pets are up to something. The house goes unusually quiet and your pet parent senses kick in.  

But it's easy to get distracted and lost in all the fun when you're hosting a barbecue at your home. 

If you have a four-legged family member that's taking part, keep one eye on them as much as you can, just in case curiosity gets the better of them! 

A playful pup or climbing cat could take a tumble causing the BBQ or furniture to tip resulting in injury.

Don't Feed BBQ Food


Under cooked or fatty meats can upset your cat or dog's stomach.  BBQ staples such as sausages, burgers and chicken legs have a high fat content which makes them unsuitable for pets.  

Overly fatty foods can sometimes cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) which can be life threatening. 

Corn on the cobs can cause serious blockages as dogs are unable to digest the cob at all. If swallowed, it will try to pass through the intestine without being digested. This can lead to blockages and perforations. 

Cooked bones are similarly dangerous as they too can cause blockages and perforations in the stomach and intestines or puncture your pet's mouth or throat. 

Make sure you brief any guests who may be tempted to feed your furbaby a tasty treat under the table. Let them know that what they believe is a positive gesture of affection is actually doing more harm than good. 

Not only does it encourage bad manners like begging, but many BBQ foods are often high in salt or may contain garlic and onions, which are highly toxic to both cats and dogs. 

Treat Them


Just because your pet can't enjoy the BBQ food doesn't mean you can't prepare some pet-friendly treats for the party!  

Stuff a Kong with peanut butter and chopped blueberries and stick it in the freezer to create a frozen pup pop. 

You can also do this with wet food for your dog or cat! Spread some into a small puzzle feeder and freeze overnight for a tasty and time-consuming treat that will keep them cool. 

Likewise, you can give them seedless watermelon that's been in the fridge for a refreshing snack. 

Many cats and dogs also love a good ice cube. Contrary to popular belief, ice can be a good and safe way to help keep them cool. Drop them in your pet's water bowl or on the floor to push around and play or simply chomp away. 

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, don't give them an ice cube, instead call your vet straight away. 

Provide Access to Shade and Water


If your furr fam' are joining you for the barbecue fun, they should have access to shade and water at all times. 

Heatstroke can affect both cats and dogs, so they need somewhere cool in the garden or house where they can go If it gets too warm. 

Make sure your pets have clean drinking water, preferably in a shaded place far away from the BBQ area. Keep bowls topped up throughout the day so they can remain hydrated.

Slather on Sunscreen


Although we rarely get scorching sunshine in the UK, when we do our pets can get sunburn just like us! 

Especially If they have white/light coloured fur, a thin/patchy coat or they're completely hairless like a Sphynx cat or Chinese Crested dog. 

Sunburn is painful, and the damage it causes can sometimes lead to skin cancer. Talk to your vet about pet-safe sunscreen if you're concerned. 

While sun cream will help prevent sunburn, it doesn't stop overheating so you will still need to provide your pet with a shady spot to protect them from heat exhaustion. 

Now you know how to keep your cats and dogs safe during BBQ season, you can get your grill on! Happy barbecuing! 

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other blogs. We think you'd be making a huge missed steak if you didn't! Yes, that's a barbecue pun, no we're not sorry. 

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Fiona Eldridge
Hi! I'm Fiona, Buddycare's lead Veterinary Nurse and I'm here to answer all of your pet related questions dog and cat emoji
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