Tips for a pet-safe barbecue
Is there anything better than a relaxing barbecue with family and friends on a sunny afternoon?
But what does a barbecue mean for our pets?
Unfortunately, barbecues can pose potential risks to our furry friends if we do not take precautions. Therefore, we are sharing our top summer BBQ safety tips to keep your cats and dogs safe and happy all season long.
How do I protect my dog from the BBQ?
The smell of tasty food grilling away can be tempting for many dogs but keeping them away from the barbecue is essential to protect them from harm.
Here are our top BBQ fire safety tips to keep your dog safe this summer:
- Position your BBQ in a safe place – Placing your BBQ on a flat surface, preferably at ground level, will reduce the risk of it being knocked over. Also, be sure to keep the BBQ away from anything flammable such as sheds, fences, and trees.
- Keep a safe distance between the BBQ and pets – Dogs can be tempted to sniff around the delicious smelling grill but to prevent any potential burns, always keep your pets several feet away from the BBQ and consider placing a secure, ideally brick barrier, around the perimeter of the BBQ.
- Do not leave the BBQ unattended – One of the most important BBQ safety tips to prevent potential burns is to ensure the BBQ remains supervised at all times and to keep the lid down as often as possible.
- Quick and safe disposal of utensils and leftovers – Tin foil, skewers, scraps of human food, BBQ utensils, lighter fluid and matches can all be harmful to dogs, so be sure not to leave any of these items within a dog’s reach. Instead, place them securely in the bin, in secure lidded containers or take them indoors out of reach.
- Dispose of hot coals safely – Throwing hot coals onto the ground could result in a dog burning their paw or mouth if they walk on or try to eat the remaining ash, so it is always best to dispose of hot coals in a bucket of cold water.
- Always supervise your dog – It can be easy to become distracted when chatting away to family and friends, but you need to be aware of your dog’s location to prevent any potential accidents.
- Remain vigilant even after BBQ is turned off – Once you have finished using your BBQ, it will remain hot for several hours after use. Maintain a safe distance between the BBQ and your pet until the BBQ has completely cooled down.
Is BBQ smoke harmful for dogs?
Yes, barbecue smoke can be harmful to dogs.
Dogs have sensitive airways that can become easily irritated by smoke. The London Fire Service also state that BBQs can give off carbon monoxide fumes for several hours after they go out.
Therefore, it is essential to keep your dog away from the direction of the smoke and perhaps encourage them to take regular breaks indoors, safely away from the fumes, as much as possible.
What can your dog not eat at the BBQ?
While it may be tempting for guests to throw your dog a treat from the barbecue, some human food can be life-threatening for dogs.
If swallowed whole, BBQ favourites such as sausages, can cause stomach ulcers, while foods high in fat, salt and greasy foods can lead to stomach problems and dehydration. Cooked bones are at risk of splintering and can be potentially fatal for dogs. Alcohol, corn on the cob and onions can all be dangerous for our furry friends.
The recommendation is to stick to dog-friendly treats and keep any human food and leftovers away from dogs; consider using securely lidded containers so that dogs cannot reach them.
Other top tips for pet-friendly BBQs
While a BBQ may be enjoyable for you, being exposed to large crowds of people, unfamiliar noise and hot temperatures can sometimes be unpleasant for dogs. So, in addition to the tips above, we also recommend the following advice:
- Provide a calm and quiet space indoors where your pet can take a break if they are feeling overwhelmed.
- Consider investing in pet-safe sunscreen for hot days, especially for pale dogs. Applying it to their pale, thin fur, ears, and nose will all help to keep your dog sun safe.
- Ensure your dog has access to plenty of shade and water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
How do I protect my cat from the BBQ?
Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures, which makes it essential to keep an eye on them when you are barbecuing to prevent any potential accidents, here are our top BBQ dire safety tips:
- Put your BBQ in a safe area – Placing your BBQ on a flat surface, preferably at ground level, will reduce the risk of it being easily knocked over. Also, keep the BBQ away from anything flammable such as sheds, fences, and trees.
- Always keep a safe distance around the BBQ – Cats may be tempted to paw at tasty food on the grill or brush up against the side of a hot BBQ, so always maintain a safe perimeter, you may even consider placing a secure barrier to section off the area from the rest of the garden for maximum BBQ safety.
- Do not leave the BBQ unattended – Leaving the grill unattended may present the perfect opportunity for a cat to roam and potentially end up burning themselves. Also, remember to keep the lid down as often as possible to prevent your cat from jumping onto or pawing at the grill.
- Disposal of utensils and leftovers quickly and safely – Tin foil, leftover food, skewers, utensils, lighter fluid and matches can all be harmful to cats if eaten, walked on, or chewed, so be sure not to leave any of these items within a cat’s reach. Place them securely in containers, storage boxes, in the bin or take them indoors and place them out of reach.
- Dispose of hot coals safely – To prevent potential paw pad burns, dispose of hot coals in buckets of water rather than discarding them onto the ground where cats may walk across them.
- Always supervise your cat – As cats are naturally curious, they may seize any opportunity to explore the BBQ, which could have potentially harmful consequences. If you feel your cat may wander, it may be best to consider placing them indoors until after the BBQ has finished.
- Remain vigilant even after BBQ is turned off – Once you have finished using your BBQ, it will remain hot for several hours after use. Therefore, maintain a safe distance between the BBQ and your cat until the BBQ has completely cooled down.
Is BBQ smoke harmful for cats?
Smoke inhalation can damage a cat’s airways. The London Fire Service also state that even several hours after a BBQ has gone out, they can still give off carbon monoxide fumes for several hours, which is why it is important to keep your cat away from the direction of the smoke. You may even consider encouraging them to sit indoors away from the fumes as often as possible.
Can cats eat BBQ food?
Human food can be potentially life-threatening to cats. For example, common BBQ ingredients, such as garlic, can cause stomach upset, while onions can break down a cat’s blood cells leading to anaemia. Cats also cannot tolerate spicy or salty foods.
Remind guests to only feed your pet cat-friendly food to keep them safe and well.
Other top tips for pet-friendly BBQs
Some cats may enjoy being around groups of people; however, some may find this too stimulating, especially during the warmer months. We recommend the following tips to help keep your feline content:
- Create a shaded space indoors for your cat to relax, play and rest throughout the day.
- Ensure your cat has plenty of water to reduce the risk of dehydration.
- For hot days, consider using pet-safe sun cream to lather on your pets, particularly for cats with pale fur, eyes, and noses, to reduce the risk of sun damage.
For total peace of mind regarding your pet’s health, Asda Money Pet Insurance has you covered. From budget-friendly time-limited to comprehensive lifetime cover options, there is an option to suit any need or budget.