Summer temperatures are rising, which means it’s a great time to fire up the grill. Backyard cookouts are a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family, including your pets. As burgers and hot dogs sizzle on the grill, you and your furry pal can run through the sprinkler or splash in a wading pool to stay cool. But, our Millbrae Pet Hospital team encourages you to note a few important pet safety measures during your cookout. Several toxins and hazards can harm your pet if you’re unaware of their dangers, so keep a close eye out for the top six cookout catastrophes that may ruin your barbecue.


#1: Skip the snack foods for your pet

What goes better with hamburgers and hot dogs than bags of crunchy, salty chips? Although your furry pal would love to dive head first into a bag of chips, those salty snacks are not good for them. Snacks like potato chips, tortilla chips, and pretzels are loaded with sodium that can lead to excessive thirst and urination in your pet. Too many salty snacks can also poison your pet, causing vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and death in severe cases. Skip the salty snacks, and toss your pet a chunk of fresh broccoli, a green bean, or a carrot instead. 


#2: Be aware of bones and other pet choking hazards

A leftover juicy steak bone or rib bones can be incredibly tempting for your four-legged friend, but they can also be dangerous. Cooked bones tend to be brittle and to splinter when chewed, and may pierce your pet’s mouth, or shards can lodge in their gastrointestinal tract. Your pet will require emergency surgery to remove any stuck foreign object before they perforate the intestinal tract and cause life-threatening illness. 


#3: Forgo some fruits and vegetables when sharing with your pet

While many fruits and veggies are healthy pet snacks, some produce can be toxic. Except for berries, most fruits are high in sugar, so share them sparingly with your pet. Ensure you avoid all grapes and raisins, which can potentially cause lethal kidney issues, despite only a small amount being ingested. 

Vegetables from the Allium family, including onions, garlic, leeks, and chives, are the most dangerous vegetables for your pet and should be kept out of your pet’s reach. A pet who eats these foods, which are often found in side dishes, such as potato salad, pasta salad, and guacamole, or used as condiments, can suffer from a type of anemia caused by red blood cell destruction.


#4: Keep lighter fluid and matches out of paws’ reach

A lit grill is certainly a threat to your pet, but the grilling area can be dangerous long before the charcoal or gas ignites. Lighter fluid is incredibly caustic and toxic for pets, and matches should never be ingested. Before, during, and after firing up the grill, ensure all chemicals and equipment are securely locked away from your pet.


#5: Keep a lid on the trash

While the picnic table is packed full of mouthwatering foods, the trash can holds a certain appeal for your pet. Discarded chicken bones, half-eaten hot dogs, and the potato salad that didn’t taste quite right can lure your four-legged friend into a world of troublethe trash can. Depending on what your pet snatches out of the trash, they can suffer from a gastrointestinal blockage, vomiting and diarrhea, pancreatitis, or a food toxicity. Ensure all trash cans are tightly lidded to keep your furry pal out of danger.


#6: Avoid using people products on your pet

When enjoying your cookout, some uninvited guests may show up. Mosquitoes, gnats, and flies can be dissuaded from sticking around with insect repellent, citronella candles, and tiki torches, but these products can harm your pet. Avoid using insect repellent or sunscreen that is not specifically labeled for pets, and keep your pet’s parasite preventives current to thwart fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Ask our team for advice on the best products to keep other biting insects off your four-legged friend.


Did your furry pal overindulge during your summer cookout? Are you worried their parasite prevention products will run out? Contact our Millbrae Pet Hospital team for help soothing your pet’s upset stomach, or to refill their parasite preventives.