The summer is a wonderful time to spend time relaxing in the backyard. BBQ dog safety must be considered when grilling and enjoying evening campfires as everyone unwinds and spends time together.
One of the central features of get-togethers for family and friends is cooking out. There is something about cooking outside that makes food taste better. This is true if you have a gourmet outdoor kitchen or just enjoy hot dogs and burgers on an old charcoal grill. Of course, it is hard to forget the gooey, rich flavor of s’mores or simple roasted marshmallows over a backyard campfire.
The same wonderful scents and fantastic flavors that you associate with outdoor cooking and backyard entertaining are also attractive to your four-legged family members. Outdoor cooking provides lots of opportunities for smart dogs to beg for a piece of that hotdog or to get into food items left in dog-accessible areas.
While some of these behaviors are a nuisance, there are also some behaviors that can create serious and even life-threatening situations for your dog. Knowing issues of concern and making your backyard cookout safe and dog-friendly only takes a few minutes.
Dogs, as well as other pets and even wild animals, are naturally hesitant to approach an active campfire. However, if dogs are playing around the fire pit or area, or if the dogs are chasing balls or Frisbees, they may not be focused on where they are going. Dogs playing with other dogs can also run into a fire as their attention is focused on the other dog and not where they are going.
Remove any games or play areas from the vicinity of the fire to prevent this issue. If the dog is particularly rambunctious or energetic, take them for a walk or place them on a lead until they calm down.
It is more common for dogs to run through the ashes of a fire, which may still be hot enough to burn the dog’s feet. Always pour water on the ashes until steam no longer rises, and stir the ashes several times to make sure all areas of the fire are cold and no longer smoldering.
The danger of brushes is also a BBQ safety issue for your dog. The fine metal bristles are easily detached from some brushes. The bristles can be swallowed or lodge in the mouth or throat. These bristles can cause a serious and potentially life-threatening issue if the dog chews on the brush bristles coated with meat juices and sauce.
Ideally, avoid using these dangerous BBQ tools for the health of both the people and the pets in your life. Keep a metal can or a pot close to the grill and place all BBQ tools in the metal container safely out of reach.
Remember, it is also important to teach your dog not to jump up on grills or outdoor cooking surfaces. Correcting the dog immediately, even if the grill is not in use, is an effective way of preventing possible burns and injuries.
Teaching dogs a “leave it” command is also a good idea. This allows you to cue the dog to leave anything hot that may fall from the grill. Training with dog biscuits is a safe option. Once outside, be sure to let the dog have the fallen treat after it is cool and safe to eat, reinforcing that waiting always results in the treat.
Now that you understand BBQ safety for your dog, enjoy the great outdoors together.