The days are longer, the sun is shining, and the heat is rising – that must mean BBQ season is upon us! While there isn’t much better than getting together with family and friends during the great British summer, the tempting treats and hot grills can pose a danger to our beloved pets.
To help make sure your summer get-together is fun for everyone (including your four-legged friends), we’re sharing some of our top BBQ safety tips for pet owners.
Pet proof the area
Burning coals, hot wire racks, utensils and food can all cause serious burns to your pet if they get too close – not to mention the scorching open flame and the BBQ itself.
When setting up your BBQ, make sure it’s on a flat surface and out of the way to prevent it from falling over. When the BBQ is lit, never leave it unattended when your pets are around as their curiosity can often get the better of them.
Keep harmful items or substances out of reach
Many BBQ items and accessories should always be kept out of your pet’s reach, especially products like lighter fluid or firelighters. Alcohol can also be dangerous to your pets, so if you’re serving drinks, make sure any spillages are mopped up quickly and that bottles and cans aren’t left lying around.
Bin the leftovers
Pets are opportunists and will take their chances if they can easily get hold of something they shouldn’t! Things like skewer sticks or the cores from corn on the cobs can be extremely dangerous and sometimes life-threatening when ingested, as they can cause gut blockages and other injuries.
Be sure to throw away any leftovers or rubbish into a lidded bin that your pet can’t access when your back is turned.
Skip any scraps
Don’t give in to the puppy eyes! BBQ food can be especially dangerous to our pets; greasy or fatty foods can upset their stomach, while bones can cause blockages.
While people are eating, try to give your pet a healthy chew or a fun toy to play with to occupy them instead.
Keep it cool
Cats and dogs can overheat very quickly on hot days, so it’s important to provide them with a shaded area and plenty of clean drinking water. Where possible, try to keep them indoors in the cool during the hottest times of the day.
Keep an eye on your pet for signs of heat exhaustion, such as heaving panting or excessive drooling. Those that are larger, older, energetic, overweight, flat-faced or have a thick coat will be more at risk than others.
Slather on the suncream
Did you know your pet can get sunburnt just like us? If they have white fur, a thin or patchy coat or are completely hairless, we recommend you put some sun cream on them, paying careful attention to exposed areas like the tips of the ears or on the end of their nose.
If you’re unsure what sun cream to use, talk to the team at your local St Kitts practice who will be able to recommend a pet-safe option.
A house full of strangers can be both exciting and stressful for your pet, so try to give them plenty of opportunities to have time to themselves to relax in peace.
For pets that live in the garden, such as rabbits or guinea pigs, big groups of people and loud noises can be frightening for them. Before people arrive, try to cover part of their cage or move it to a quieter part of the garden.
If you have any concerns about your pet or would like to ask us a question about BBQ safety, please get in touch with your local St Kitts practice.
St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799