What can dogs eat at a barbecue?
When it comes to dog-friendly barbecue foods, simple ingredients are best. “Lean meat and skinless chicken (and barbecue sauce) are appropriate for your dog in limited quantities,” explains Tom Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH, chief veterinary officer for American Humane, a nonprofit organization dedicated to safety and animal welfare. The same goes for most grilled vegetables — such as broccoli and carrots — as long as they are cooked in balsamic vinegar or another low-fat condiment, he adds. Sehaj Grewal, DVM, a veterinarian at The Melrose Vet in Los Angeles, echoes this idea, and advises pet parents to ensure these foods are not saturated with heavy oils and spices.
In the fruit department, options like blueberries, seedless melons and bananas are safe for dogs, says Allison Wegman, MD, a veterinarian at Metairie Small Animal Hospital in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Again, make sure this fruit is served on its own and doesn’t contain other ingredients (or picked from a fruit salad!) to be safe.
Barbecue foods your dog should never eat
Sure, dogs love to chew on bones — but not all bones are created equal. Specifically, the bones in classic grilled meat dishes can be especially dangerous for your pup. This includes meats like ribs and pork chops, which contain bones that tend to break into irregular pieces, which can cause problems in the esophagus or intestines, says Dr. Wegman.
Fatty meat and chicken skin should not be fed to dogs, as the high fat content in these foods [are] “It’s much higher than your dog’s normal diet,” says Dr. Edling. Such foods are the main causes of vomiting and diarrhea [in dogs] And in some cases, pancreatitis, which can be very serious and generally lead to hospitalization,” according to Dr. Wegman.
As for corn on the cob, it’s a popular takeout food? It’s unacceptable, says Dr. Wegmann, as it almost always causes intestinal obstruction in dogs. The same can be said about anything on skewers, Dr. Grewal notes, so you’ll want to keep those kebabs away from your furry friends. Finally, foods like grapes and raisins and salty snacks like potato chips are toxic to dogs, so be extra careful if these ingredients are part of your barbecue.
Other ways to keep dogs safe when cooking outside
Between eating delicious food and communicating with guests, it can be easy to get distracted while cooking outside. But if your four-legged friend is joining the party, it’s essential to take extra steps to keep him safe. Start by keeping your pet away from barbecue and barbecue tools, says Dr. Grewal. This will reduce the risk of accidents such as burns. Also, keep an eye on the litter and get rid of food scraps and droppings as soon as possible. As Dr. Wigman points out, “dogs have been known to go into the litter and consume used tissues and paper plates with leftovers, which can also lead to gastrointestinal obstruction.”
Consider chatting with your guests about food and dog safety, especially if they have limited experience with pets. “Be sure to tell everyone that feeding table scraps to dogs is not a good idea,” Dr. Edling says. This is especially important if alcohol is served, as everyone should know that dogs should not consume alcoholic beverages.
You can also keep a small bowl of your dog’s usual food on hand, so people can feed your pup and include it in the festivities, suggests Dr. Edling. Measure the total amount of food fed per day and subtract the amount in the party food bowl, so your pup [isn’t] They overindulge that day,” he says. Another option, says Edling, is to provide small pieces of dog-safe vegetables, such as carrots, for guests to feed your dog.
And if you decide to treat your dog with food outside the grill? Be sure to wipe or wash your equipment to remove any hot or sweet sauces. This includes barbecue sauce, which can cause stomach pain in dogs. Otherwise, consider cooking your dog’s food first before preparing dishes for your human guests.
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