Bringing Your Pet to a BBQ? Be Aware of These Safe & Unsafe Foods

When the weather is nice, many of us look forward to firing up the grill and enjoying a backyard cookout with family and friends. But while we indulge in these tasty treats, it’s important to remember that our pets may also be tempted by the enticing smells from the grill. However, not all BBQ foods are safe for our pets. Here, we’ll highlight both safe and unsafe foods to keep in mind when it comes to our four-legged companions.

Remember that even if a food is safe for pets in moderation, that doesn’t mean it should be freely given. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, introducing a new food in could cause tummy issues. Always consult your vet before switching up your pet’s diet.

Safe Foods for Pets at BBQs

  1. Lean Meats: Grilled lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, or beef, can be a safe and protein-packed treat for your pets. Ensure the meat is well-cooked, free from seasoning, and completely deboned. Avoid fatty cuts, as they can lead to gastrointestinal issues or pancreatitis in pets.
  2. Fish: If you’re grilling fish, it can be a healthy option for your pet. Fish like salmon and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for their overall health. Remove all the bones before serving, and avoid any seasonings, especially those containing garlic or onion, as they can be toxic to pets.
  3. Some Fruits and Vegetables: Many fresh fruits and vegetables can be an excellent addition to your pet’s diet. Many pets enjoy the taste and texture of fruits like watermelon, apples (without seeds), or blueberries. For vegetables, consider grilling slices of zucchini, sweet potatoes, or green beans. Always ensure that the fruits and vegetables are thoroughly washed, free from any seeds, pits, or skins that may pose a choking hazard or be toxic to pets. Make sure to check before giving your pet a fruit or vegetable you’re unsure about. For example, grapes and onions are toxic to dogs!
  4. Plain Rice: Plain rice can be a simple and safe side dish for your pet. It’s a good idea to set aside a portion before adding any seasonings or sauces that may contain ingredients harmful to pets, such as garlic or onion.

Unsafe Foods for Pets at BBQs

  1. Seasonings and Sauces: Many of the seasonings and sauces we use to enhance the flavors of our BBQ foods can be harmful to pets. Ingredients like garlic, onion, salt, and artificial sweeteners (such as xylitol) can cause serious health issues in animals. Keep your pet away from BBQ sauces, marinades, and rubs, as they often contain these ingredients.
  2. Bones: Although it may be tempting to share the joy of gnawing on a BBQ chicken or rib bone with your pet, it’s crucial to resist the urge. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking, obstruction, or internal injuries to your pet’s digestive tract. Dispose of bones safely and keep them out of your pet’s reach.
  3. Processed Meats: Hot dogs, sausages, and other processed meats are popular staples at BBQs, but they are generally not suitable for pets. These foods are often high in fat, sodium, and preservatives, which can lead to digestive issues or even pancreatitis in pets. Additionally, processed meats may contain spices, onion powder, or garlic powder, which can be toxic to animals.
  4. Alcoholic Beverages: While enjoying a refreshing beverage under the sun, it’s important to remember that alcohol is highly toxic to pets. Even a small amount can cause alcohol poisoning, leading to symptoms like vomiting, disorientation, and in severe cases, respiratory distress or coma. Ensure your pets don’t have access to any alcoholic drinks at your BBQ gathering.