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Keeping Pets Safe Around BBQs: Essential Tips for Pet Owners

Published: 07.06.2024

Summertime is synonymous with garden barbecues, family gatherings, and outdoor fun. While these events are a source of joy for many, they can pose a number of hidden dangers for our furry friends. As responsible pet owners, it's crucial to ensure that our pets are safe and comfortable during these festive times. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your pets safe around BBQs.

1. Keep Pets Away from the Grill

The grill is the centerpiece of any BBQ, but it can be extremely dangerous for pets. Curious cats and dogs can easily get burned or suffer other injuries if they get too close. Always set up a physical barrier to prevent your pets from approaching the grill. This could be a pet gate, playpen, or simply keeping them indoors while the grill is in use. Additionally, never leave the grill unattended, as even a momentary distraction can lead to accidents.

2. Watch Out for Toxic Foods

Many common BBQ foods can be harmful to pets. Foods like onions, garlic, grapes, and chocolate are toxic to dogs and cats. Alcohol is also dangerous and should be kept well out of reach. Make sure to educate your guests about the importance of not feeding your pets any table scraps. Instead, have pet-safe treats on hand so your pets don’t feel left out. You can also prepare special pet-friendly BBQ treats to ensure they are included in the festivities without compromising their health.

3. Be Mindful of Bones and Skewers

Cooked bones and skewers are major hazards for pets. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking or internal injuries, while skewers can cause puncture wounds or get lodged in your pet's digestive tract. Dispose of these items immediately in a secure, pet-proof trash bin. Consider using alternatives like boneless meats and avoid skewers altogether if you have pets that are prone to scavenging.

4. Provide a Safe Space

BBQs can be overwhelming for pets due to the noise, unfamiliar people, and general commotion. Create a safe, quiet space for your pets where they can retreat if they feel stressed. This could be a room inside the house, a crate, or a shaded spot in the yard equipped with their favorite bed or blanket. Make sure they have access to fresh water and a few toys to keep them occupied.

5. Beware of Hot Surfaces

It's not just the grill that's hot during a BBQ. Surfaces like decks, patios, and pavement can heat up quickly in the sun and burn your pet's paws. Test these surfaces with your hand before allowing your pets to walk on them. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for their paws. Provide plenty of shaded areas and consider setting up a cooling mat or kiddie pool to help them stay cool.

6. Keep an Eye on Alcohol

Alcohol is toxic to pets, and even small amounts can cause severe health issues like intoxication, respiratory failure, and even death. Keep all alcoholic beverages well out of reach and educate your guests on the dangers of alcohol to pets. Empty any leftover drinks into the sink immediately to avoid accidental consumption.

7. Use Pet-Safe Insect Repellents and Sunscreens

Many insect repellents and sunscreens designed for humans contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. Use only products that are specifically labeled as pet-safe. Consult your Vet for recommendations if you're unsure about which products to use.

8. Monitor for Signs of Heatstroke

Pets can overheat quickly, especially during hot summer days. Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, move them to a cooler area immediately and offer them water. Wetting their paws and applying cool (not cold) water to their body can also help. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, as heatstroke is a medical emergency.

9. Be Cautious with Decorations

BBQs often involve festive decorations, which can be hazardous to pets. Balloons, streamers, and other small decorations can be ingested, causing choking or digestive blockages. Keep decorations out of your pet’s reach and dispose of them properly after the event.

BBQs are a fantastic way to enjoy the summer with friends and family, but it's important to prioritise your pets' safety. By following these tips, you can ensure that your pets are protected from the various hazards that BBQs present. Always keep a watchful eye on your furry companions and take proactive steps to create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone. With a little planning and vigilance, you can host a fun and safe BBQ that both you and your pets will enjoy.

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