Summer is nearly always synonymous with beach parties and barbecues, but nothing screams barbecue parties like Fourth of July celebrations around the nation. Most family members would love some barbecue, burgers, and hot dogs off the grill, but this does not always translate well for pets, most especially dogs.
Our favorite pets would love nothing more than hang out with family and maybe steal some food off the table, but can dogs eat barbecue sauce or drink some of that thick chocolate milkshake? Check out this quick guide to dog diet below.
Dog-Friendly Barbecue: Food to Avoid
Television, films, and cartoon shows always show dogs with bones in their mouths, but as a safety tip for big barbecue parties, you’re not supposed to feed them bones. Cooked chicken bones in particular are a major health hazard because they splinter pretty easily. This can cause choking and other serious obstructions when consumed by pets.
There are also yummy summer food that may taste great for humans but may be toxic to dogs. Among those in this category include avocado, grapes, onions, and chocolate.
This delicious summer fruit has a fungicidal toxin that is not necessarily dangerous to humans but can be toxic when fed to domesticated animals—like cats and dogs—in large quantities. When consumed, it could cause them stomach upsets. To be safe, keep pets away from avocados because the persin is present in leaves, seeds, bark, as well as the fruit.
It is not clear what there is in grapes and raisins that make them toxic to dogs, but their toxicity has been well-documented. Pet owners are advised to keep dogs away from these because grapes can cause stomach ulcers and vomiting when ingested in small quantities.
A chemical called thiosulphate, which is present in onions, is highly toxic to cats and dogs. In fact, consumption of as little as 5 grams of onion can be dangerous to dogs and cats around 15 to 30 kg in weight. Ingestion of onions causes hemolytic anemia, which can damage red blood cells. Symptoms of onion poisoning include breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The toxic component in chocolate that makes them dangerous to dogs is theobromine. While humans can easily metabolize this chemical, dogs process it slowly. It then builds up to toxic levels. In small doses, chocolate can cause upset stomachs, vomiting, or diarrhea. In large doses, however, it can produce muscle tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeats, and even internal bleeding and heart attacks.
When in doubt, always make sure to stick to veggies and meat off the bone.
Dog-Friendly Barbecue: Safe Food
Dogs can eat meat, though, including barbecue favorites such as hot dogs and burgers. However, take note that even “safe” meat should be eaten in moderation.
Hot dogs—while this is safe for dogs to eat, it is important to cut them up to smaller, bite-sized pieces. This is to avoid dogs from choking.
Hamburgers—dogs love burger patties, but too much fatty meat can be a health hazard. A bite or two of plain patties, though, would be a welcome treat for the little mutts.
Grilled veggies—zucchini and sweet potato make great side dishes for barbecues, but they make even better treats for dogs. Not only are they delicious, they are also very healthy.
Blueberries and watermelon—these amazing summer fruits are also loved by dogs. Always remember to remove the rind and seeds before feeding them to your pets, though.
Grilled meat and fish—a dog-friendly barbecue also includes small portions of steak and ribs off the bone and some cooked salmon wouldn’t hurt. It’s also okay to add a little barbecue sauce on them as well, but leave off the intense spices.
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Remember to feed your guests and pets in moderation! Like people, dogs also end up with tummy troubles if they eat too much at a cookout. Dog-friendly barbecue parties mean that you can supplement their regular meals with their favorite meats and a few bites of food off the grill, but don’t limit their food to these! You can also sweeten their day with delicious (safe) fruits. Remember to minimize servings of rich sauces and sides, though. To have a dog-friendly barbecue party, always stick to whole foods, veggies, and meat off the bone.
Grill-Safety Tips for Dogs
For dog safety during a cookout
- Remind guests not to feed scraps to the dogs
- Supervise children around dogs
- Give your dogs their necessary breaks as needed
- Avoid using potent insect sprays or sunscreens as they could be toxic for dogs
- Use lidded receptacles to keep dogs from digging into the trash
- Use GPS trackers like Trackimo for safety and security especially when you need to find lost pet. The Fourth of July crowd could compromise a dog-friendly barbecue if your little pooch gets lost in the throngs of people.
For general safety around the grill
- Have a covered container to collect bones from chicken, ribs, and other meats
- Always keep grill lid down to prevent pups and small children from putting their hands and paws on the hot grill
- Keep lighter fluid, charcoal, and matches out of reach of children and dogs to avoid fires
- Secure dogs with leashes, or ask friends and children to keep the dog company
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