BBQ foods to keep away from your dog this summer

Nearly three in 10 (29%) pet owners admit to feeding their dogs something toxic and, with BBQ season upon us, new research has revealed the most toxic foods for dogs this summer.

The research has been conducted by dog-friendly holiday lettings company Canine Cottages, which also polled pet owners across the nation to reveal which foods they did and didn’t realise caused harm to their pets. The poll also showed how many people have accidentally fed their furry friends something harmful.

Working with a vet, Canine Cottages has also created an interactive tool, highlighting how toxic foods can affect pets from the inside out, and giving advice on what to do to treat them upon consumption.

In terms of toxic BBQ foods, the main foods to avoid are:

Corn on the cob

In our study, 88% of pet owners didn’t realise that corn on the cob was dangerous for our pets – but it’s a BBQ staple that should always be kept away from our furry friends. Although corn itself isn’t a cause of danger, the cob is a choking hazard for dogs and can cause an intestinal blockage which can be fatal.


Although it may seem obvious, our research found that over half (55%) of pet owners didn’t realise alcohol was toxic to dogs. Ethanol (the intoxicating agent in alcohol) and hops (used to brew beer) can cause dogs alcohol intoxication, causing vomiting, disorientation, muscle tremors and even seizures – so it’s important to keep those summer Pimm’s and beers away from our pooches.

Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are some of the main ingredients used to season our BBQ food, including burgers, but they are highly toxic to dogs. 65% of pet owners didn’t realise garlic was toxic while 70% didn’t know of the harm onions could cause our pooches. However, these ingredients can cause stomach upset (including nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea) and in severe cases can lead to major organ damage which could be fatal.

Kebab sticks

If you’re cooking a skewer on your BBQ, keep the evidence away from your pets. Wooden skewers can cause damage to our dogs’ mouths and digestive systems, or can even become lodged and cause choking, which can be fatal. If your dog chews on a wooden skewer, in many cases they are able to digest them when broken down, but if your dog starts to vomit then seek help.

Uncooked/raw meats

When prepping a BBQ, make sure to keep raw meat and fish away from the hungry mouths of our dogs. Raw or undercooked meat can contain bacteria such as salmonella and listeria that are harmful to dogs, so keep a close eye on them.

And when it comes to foods that are safe for our pooches, the following are all canine-friendly:

  • Plain pork, beef, chicken, salmon (properly cooked, no seasonings)
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Some fresh fruit (avoid grapes, plums, peaches, raisins or apple seeds – stick to bananas, oranges, pineapple or mango)
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes (fully cooked, as raw potato contains solanine, a compound that is toxic to dogs)

So, if your dog does accidentally eat something they shouldn’t, what’s the best course of action? With 47% admitting they wouldn’t know what would happen to their dog if they ate something toxic, Dr Charley Webb, vet and nutritionist at offers her advice if you ever find yourself in the situation:

“If you think your pet has eaten something that might be dangerous to them, stay calm and try not to panic. The best course of action is always to call the vet for advice right away, even if it’s the middle of the night or on a weekend. Most pets recover fully if treated rapidly so it’s important to tell your vet as soon as you know that it has happened, as this can prevent them from causing serious harm and in some cases could save their lives.”

Commenting on the research, Shannon Keary, Digital PR Manager at Canine Cottages, says: “With BBQ season in full swing, many of us may be tempted to feed our furry friends a little titbit from the grill, without realising how harmful this could actually be. That’s why we have conducted this research to raise awareness of the summer BBQ foods we should keep away from our pooches.

“Although in most cases, a trip to the vets will be able to treat your pet, in this instance, as pet owners, it’s important to understand what these foods can do to our beloved pets. This is why we have created an interactive tool, highlighting the harm toxic foods can cause. We hope this piece will help educate pet owners to understand the impact these foods can cause, especially as we approach the summer season and may be tempted to treat our pets to human food!”

To read more on the research and see the tool for yourself, please visit: