13 Summer BBQ Safety Tips For Dogs From Dr. Sheldon

Our vet-in-residence gives advice to keep your dog safe at the BBQ.



One of our favorite summer time activities is barbecuing and entertaining. When you’re hosting the BBQ, it’s always a good idea to inform your guests of all the rules pertaining to your dog.

Read on or watch to learn about the key tips you need to be mindful of when hosting or attending a BBQ with your dog.

No Bones About It

You should never give your dog any bones or let your guests give your dog any bones. Pieces can get lodged in their gums or splinter and cause damage to the gut. This decadent little treat is definitely not worth it.

Tasty for You, Toxic for Them

Onions are a common condiment and are very toxic to dogs. In the fruit salad, we always like to add grapes or raisins, which are very toxic as well. And finally for dessert, chocolate cake, one of our favorites, is very toxic to dogs.

Don’t be Corny

One thing you might not think of is corn on the cob, but at least once a week during the summer, we’re pulling a cob of corn out of the back of a large dog’s throat, so be very careful whether you’re eating it or putting it into the garbage.

Cut the Fat

The foods we’re barbecuing are generally very fatty, and a dog ingesting one meal of a fatty food can lead to an inflamed pancreas, which can be deadly if not treated very quickly.

Foiled Plan

Be careful of items that are BBQ’d and wrapped in aluminum foil. A dog will eat the entire package, foil and all, and it will cause a tearing of the intestine, and it’s quite often deadly.

Juicy Temptation

The knife you use to cut products is very tasty, with the juices from the food, and also very sharp. A dog can easily cut its lip, mouth, or tongue.

Skewing Dangerous

Another common way of cooking is using a kabob skewer. People put on meats or vegetables, and skewers are either metal or wood. If a dog were to go for the meat or veggies, they’re not going to remove the skewer and they could impale their throat and cause a big problem.

Wrappers Delight

The last thing of course, is cellophane wrap that we use to wrap up meats and products. Your dog will ingest the entire product, cellophane and all, and this will cause a blockage in the intestine and lead to vomiting, and possibly, a very critical situation.

Grill Beggin’

Don’t forget, your grill is very hot, so always leave the lid down, or always attend to the food, because a dog will jump up if they are large enough, and attempt to eat the food, right off the grill, or lick the grill. This could cause burns to the tongue and mouth which are very severe.

Booze Hounds

Watch your unattended alcohol.  A lot of dogs love the taste of beer, and they also like the creamy type of drinks, like Bailey’s and Kahlúa. A dog has a very low tolerance; they will get clinically depressed by just having a few licks of your drink.

Hidden Toxins

Always make sure you have garbage containers that have sealed lids on the top and keep it secure. Watch your dog very carefully if you are at someone else’s house because there can be a lot of dangers hidden in the backyard that you might not think of, like insecticides, citronella candles and other chemicals, even fertilizer. If it’s not your house, keep your dog on a leash, and ask the host what’s been put out on the yard.

The kids are Alright

Whenever there’s children at the BBQ, always remember, not all kids are good with dogs, and not all dogs are good with kids. So, please ask the host and guests, are the children good around dogs, and if there are strange dogs around, always keep them on a leash. Children have a tendency to pull on ears and tails and on a hot day, a dog will snap at a child, especially if they are eating a hot dog or hamburger, and the last thing we want is for a child to be bitten.

Heat of the Moment

On beautiful, hot summer days, dogs will run around and children will chase them, and they just don’t know when to stop. They don’t have self control; they won’t go to the shade and they won’t have water, and before you know it, your dog will be suffering from something very critically dangerous called heat stroke.  Always make sure you have time outs, where you put your dog in the shade, and give them a fresh bowl of cool water.

This may seem like a daunting list, but with just a little thought ahead of time, you can save your dog possibly their life, and you a lot of money in veterinary bills.

So have a great summer and remember:  safety first!

-Dr. Sheldon

Dr. Sheldon Jafine Summer BBQ Safety