It’s almost Labor Day Weekend, which means there is a good chance you are having or going to a BBQ. But before your next party, make sure you are giving extra consideration to your four-legged friend.
“It’s easy for dogs to quickly access food and other items that could be dangerous to them,” says Kiko Bracker, D.V.M., director of emergency and critical care at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. For instance, Bracker recalls a dog who needed emergency surgery after he ingested enough gravel to fill his stomach. Gravel alone may not be appealing, but drippings from the grill had splashed onto the rocks, tempting the dog. The hospital also receives numerous cases every summer of dogs who consume corncob holders and barbecue skewers.
7 ways to ensure everyone has a great time at your next cookout!
1. Consider your Menu.
Because skewers pose a threat, Bracker recommends not using them. Be aware, too, that bones and corncobs can be life-threatening. “If they’re not digested, they can pass through to the small intestines, resulting in small bowel obstruction, which can become fatal without emergency veterinary care,” he says. If you do serve these items, place corncobs and bones in a garbage can that’s out of a dog’s reach. Peach pits, foil, plastic wrap, and cotton string used to bind roasts can also cause issues, so keep them away from your dog. If you want to treat your dog to a piece of meat, make sure it doesn’t contain bones and isn’t so hot that it burns your dog’s mouth.
2. Dog-Friendly Foods.
3. Hot Off the Grill.
Although most dogs are smart enough to avoid an open fire, they can still get into issues with the grill, especially if it falls over and injures them, Bracker says. Their leashes, for example, may get tangled in a grill’s legs, knocking it over. Be aware that this could happen and take steps to prevent it, by securing the grill, limiting your dog’s access to it, and removing leashes or other items that might become entangled in the grill.
4. Scan the Perimeter.
In your own home, you have probably already done this, but if you are going somewhere new or heading to a park for a BBQ, check that poisonous or harmful plants and gardening supplies are out of your dog’s reach, including fertilizer, rat poison, and plant food.
5. Heat Check.
Because dogs can’t cool down as quickly as people, heat can be problematic. The rule of thumb? “When it’s too hot for us, it’s too hot for our dogs,” Bracker says. If it’s safe for your dog to be outside, provide fresh water and shelter in the shade. Otherwise, keep your dog inside and allow access to an air-conditioned room.
6. Set Some Ground Rules.
Finally, if you’re at home ask your guests to help keep your dog safe. If your dog is inside your home, remind guests to close doors behind them or watch that your dog doesn’t escape when opening yard gates.
7. Have fun!
Break out the ball or throw a Frisbee and have a doggone great time!
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