9 Ways To Puppy-Proof Your Summer BBQ

Barbecue is one of America’s favorite summer traditions. But this beloved tradition can also pose risks for your pup, especially if s/he tries to eat from the grill or gets too close to the flames. Read on for easy ways to keep your canine companions happy and safe when you fire up the grill this season.

9. Barbecue With Caution

The grill remains the water cooler of every summer BBQ — people will hang out here throughout the party, which means your pooch will want to be involved, too. But it’s critical to keep your pet away from the party’s prime appliance — and not just because she’s naturally inclined to swipe whatever’s cooking. Charcoal, briquettes, grill cleaners, and lighter fluid can cause serious damage if digested, and we probably don’t have to mention what could happen if your pet’s fur gets too close to the flame.

8. Be Wary of Bug Repellants

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Don’t leave insect repellants, bug sprays, or citronella torches within easy reach of your animal. It’s never wise to let your animal get too close to a burning candle, but citronella torches and bug sprays post extra danger by diffusing chemicals that inflame your pet’s digestive tract and sensitive skin.

7. Stay Out Of The Pool

The only thing better than a BBQ is probably a pool party, but pools should be considered an exclusively human domain. According to the ASPCA, chlorine and other chemicals aren’t healthy for your pet. If Fido loves water as much as you do, consider moving the party to a nearby beach or lake.

6. Don’t Leave Dogs In Hot Cars

Never leave your pet alone in a hot car, not even if the windows are rolled down. Every year pets needlessly die because their owners weren’t aware of how quickly cars can quickly heat up in extreme temperatures; growing numbers of states are even passing laws that make it illegal to lock pets in the car for longer than a few minutes.

5. Play It Cool

Dogs don’t wear sunscreen, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get sunburned or feverish if they hang out in the sun all day. Whether its a tree or a tent, make sure your pet always has a shady place to escape the heat.

4. Water Rules

H2O is important for both humans and pets, especially on a hot sunny day. Make sure your dog always has access to a bowl of water, and that it’s constantly refreshed.

3. Party Favors

Don’t forget to bring along some of your dog’s favorite toys and treats, all of which can go a long way to keeping your pet entertained. These will be especially important when the food is served!

2. Quiet Time

Bring a crate or a playpen where your pet can have some quiet time. This can be helpful for anxious animals that might get overwhelmed by the crowds and double as a time-out area for dogs who insist on begging.

1. Grill Up Dog-Friendly Fare

Almost everything on the standard BBQ menu — ribs, chicken wings, hot dogs, fruit salad, chips, guacamole, pretzels, chocolate, corn on the cob, and beer — is really bad for your dog. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy the party. Just grill up some dog-friendly snacks, like grilled zucchini and lean meats, and instruct your human guests to consider Fido’s gastrointestinal health before feeding him table scraps.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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