Keeping your pets safe during a summer BBQ

Many of us can’t wait to fire up the barbecue when the weather heats up, but while we’re planning delicious alfresco meals and celebrating with family and friends, it’s easy to forget the hazards these sizzling summer get-togethers can pose to our furry family members. 

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “There are lots of potential hazards for pet owners to think about when organising a summer barbecue – heatstroke, burns, poisonous foods, and choking hazards to name but a few. Thankfully, there are some key steps we can follow to ensure our precious pets stay safe and avoid any mishaps throughout the day.  

Dangers of heatstroke  

Pets can quickly overheat in warm weather, so it’s important to keep your furry friends cool while they’re enjoying time outside. Heatstroke is a serious situation that without swift treatment can progress quickly, with sometimes fatal consequences.  

Signs of heatstroke can vary from excessive panting, confusion, bright red gums, foaming at the mouth, collapse or even seizures. It’s important to ensure your pet can easily head indoors or find some shade when they need to cool down. If your pet is a sun-worshipper, you may need to shut them indoors to prevent overheating. 

If you’re planning to host a barbecue on a particularly hot day, consider scheduling an evening soirée instead, when the temperature should be cooler. You can also provide a pet paddling pool so your furry friend can hop in for a refreshing dip. It’s important that they also have access to fresh, clean water at all times, so they can stay hydrated. 

Skip on the scraps 

Although it can be tempting to share tasty barbecue treats with your furry friend, undercooked and fatty foods can upset their stomach and cause sickness or diarrhoea. Bones can also be a nasty choking hazard for dogs and risk causing dangerous blockages to their insides so, instead, offer a healthy chew or a toy to play with to keep them occupied while you eat. 

Create a safe space  

Having a house full of strangers can be unsettling for our pets, so make sure they can retreat to a comfortable, safe space to relax in peace. Set up a quiet area in a room or corner of the garden, making sure they have access to food, water and a couple of their favourite toys.  

Dispose of any dangers  

One thing to be wary of at a barbecue is pets getting hold of something they shouldn’t – eating things like kebab skewers or the core from corn-on-the-cob can cause serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. Make sure any leftovers and rubbish are thrown away in a bin that your furry friend can’t raid – food smells are incredibly tempting for pets, so make sure it’s paw-proof! 

Paw-ping hot  

Always keep pets a safe distance from a barbecue. Hot food, oils, coals, and ashes can cause severe burns if they come into contact with their skin, so ensure the grill is cooled down immediately once you finish cooking – being careful not to leave four-legged friends alone while there are still hot items in the area.”