BBQ Safety For Your Pets

Summer is in the air!  The weather is heating up, the pool is as mainstream as the couch, and all the outdoor BBQs are getting dusted off in preparation for the summer.  Although the weather in South Florida is usually beautiful year round, we do tend to BBQ more this time of year like the rest of the country.   The delicious burgers, the amazing hotdogs, twice baked potatoes, and corn on the cob!  Just thinking of all the amazing summer BBQ foods makes my mouth water. As much as we love cookouts, so do our pets. Our fur babies love to feast on all the amazing cookout food like us, however there are many foods that are toxic for our pets. As a small animal veterinarian, I see a lot of food toxicities and upset stomachs during the summer because of table scraps and foods that guests give to pets.  With Memorial Day around the corner and my menu plans for our family BBQ in full gear, I thought I would take a moment to discuss BBQ safety for our pets. Let’s get started:

Toxic BBQ Foods For Our Pets:

Rich and fatty foods.  Summer is great for BBQs and I certainly love hosting, but these cookouts can be harmful to our pets.  Dogs and cats are used to eating the same food everyday.  Their gastrointestinal tracts develop a natural flora or bacteria that specifically digests their regular food.  When they get something that they aren’t normally accustomed to, such as burgers or hot dogs, they can develop severe inflammation with vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis.  

Corn on the cob, fruits with pits, and foods with bones, toothpicks or skewers. These foods can pose a risk of choking or obstruction.  I have surgically removed all of these items from a pet’s intestine, which can be very costly and stressful.

Onions, Garlic, Chives. Onions, garlic and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation and can lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

Uncooked meat, fish, and poultry can contain disease-causing bacteria, such as E. coli, and parasites like Toxoplasma Gondii.

Bones from fish, meat, or poultry, even small bones, can splinter and cause tearing throughout the intestinal tract requiring surgery.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods.  Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs of salt toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.

Grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener) are toxic for pets.

Uncooked yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Chocolate, coffee, and tea all contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause nervous system or urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation.  Problems from ingestion range from diarrhea to seizures and death. Unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the most toxic to our pets.

Alcohol can cause intoxication in our pets, and many dogs are attracted to the sweet taste and smell.

I hope these summertime BBQ tips are helpful in keeping your pets safe and healthy during the summer months.  Being prepared and avoid these common pet emergencies to help keep summer fun and laid back for you and your pet!  During your cookouts, make sure to talk to any guests, especially kids, and remind them to not feed your pets any food.  You want to enjoy the party too, not spend it looking after a pet with an upset stomach or a toxicity.  There is no need for your pets to feel left out during your cookouts. Let them indulge too.  I tell all my pet parents to have your treats and food easily accessible during the cookout and spoil your pets rotten.  I absolutely love and trust Wellness CORE and it is what feed my own dog. Wellness CORE is a balanced diet that is grain free, contains all the highest quality ingredients, added supplements (omega 3 fatty acids, and glucosamine), and higher protein for lean body mass and muscle tone.  My goal is to always keep our pets safe and healthy!  I hope this helps!


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