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Barbecue Hazards for Dogs

May 15 2021

Summer is almost here! For many of you, that means it’s time to fire up the grill. Our canine companions love being part of these gatherings, but they do sometimes tend to get underfoot. You’ll need to keep a close eye on Fido, and keep him out of trouble. A local Rancho Santa Fe, CA vet lists some hazards for you to be aware of below.


Fido can certainly enjoy a plain brat, burger, or hot dog. However, don’t give him meat on the bone. Bones get very brittle when they are cooked, and can break into very sharp shards. These can be very dangerous, and can cause serious–and even fatal–injuries if swallowed. Other unsafe foods include grapes, currants, and raisins; pitted fruits; avocado (even as guacamole); chocolate; alcohol; raw dough or yeast; caffeine; and anything that contains xylitol. Anything that contains garlic, onions, scallions, or chives is also unsuitable.


Keep things like bug spray, gasoline, lighter fluid, torch oil, and sunscreen away from Fido. Your four-legged friend can ingest these toxins just by walking through a spill and licking his paws.


It’s starting to get pretty hot, so you’ll need to keep Fido cool. The most important thing here is to make sure that your pup always has fresh water and access to shady areas. You can also get your furry bff a cooling vest or pad, or offer him a kiddie pool or sprinkler to play in. Your pooch would likely also enjoy some doggy ice cream.


Our canine friends are definitely not above going through the trash in search of yummy leftovers. This can be dangerous for Fido, as the garbage could contain things like toothpicks, skewers, bones, fat trimming, tinfoil, can lids, and wrappers … none of which are safe for him. Clean up garbage and leftovers right away, using cans that close securely.


Are you hosting the gathering? Take extra care when people are coming and going. Your furry pal could easily slip out an open door! Fido should be microchipped and wearing ID tags, just in case. Also, keep a close eye on your pooch in general. You don’t want him getting stepped on, or having something spilled on him. 

Our Advice on Barbecue Hazards for Dogs in 2024

What common foods found at barbecues are dangerous for dogs and why?

Common barbecue foods dangerous for dogs include cooked bones, which can splinter and cause internal injury, and foods like grapes, raisins, and currants that can lead to kidney failure. Pitted fruits and avocado can cause obstruction and toxicity, respectively. Chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, and anything with xylitol are toxic, causing various issues from vomiting to more severe conditions like hypoglycemia and neurological problems. Garlic, onions, scallions, and chives contain compounds that can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. Always ensure your dog’s snacks are safe and avoid these harmful items.

How can you keep your dog cool in the summer heat during a barbecue?

To keep your dog cool during a summer barbecue, ensure they have constant access to fresh water and shady areas. Consider providing a cooling vest or pad for extra relief from the heat. A kiddie pool or sprinkler can also offer a fun way for your dog to stay cool and enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, avoid excessive exercise during peak heat hours and monitor your dog for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting or lethargy. These steps can help maintain your dog’s comfort and safety during warm weather gatherings.

What should you do immediately if your dog ingests a dangerous food or chemical?

If your dog ingests a dangerous food or chemical, act immediately by removing any remaining substance from their reach. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional. Quickly contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency pet clinic to get specific advice based on what your dog has ingested. Be ready to inform them about the substance consumed, the amount, and the time of ingestion. For potential poisoning, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can also be a valuable resource for immediate guidance. Time is critical in these situations for the best outcome.

How can you adequately supervise your dog in a busy barbecue environment?

To adequately supervise your dog in a busy barbecue environment, keep them on a leash or in a secure, visible area close to you. Regularly check on them, ensuring they’re comfortable and not ingesting any dangerous items. Consider assigning a responsible family member or friend to help watch your dog if you get distracted. Training commands like “stay” or “leave it” can also be beneficial. If the environment is too hectic, providing a quiet, safe space away from the crowd can prevent stress and potential hazards.

Should you keep your dog leashed at a barbecue?

Yes, keeping your dog leashed at a barbecue is advisable, especially in environments with lots of people, food, and potential hazards. A leash provides you with direct control over your dog’s movements, preventing them from accessing dangerous foods, chemicals, or running into unsafe areas. It also helps in managing interactions with guests, including children and other pets, ensuring everyone’s safety and comfort. Use a comfortable, secure leash and remain attentive to your dog’s needs and behaviors throughout the event.

As a provider of veterinary services in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, we are committed to providing high-quality care for your pets. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your pet’s veterinary needs.