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Barbequing With Fido

June 1 2022

Summer is on the way. As the weather warms up, many backyard chefs are already firing up their grills and dusting off their favorite cookbooks, or perhaps binging some new recipe tutorial videos. Your canine companion will of course be delighted to keep you company as you’re barbecuing. However, you’ll need to take some precautions to keep your pooch safe. A local Champaign, IL vet offers some advice on this below.


There’s nothing wrong with giving your pup a special plate, but you will want to be careful to only give him things that are safe. Usually plain, cooked meat, fish, or chicken is fine, as long as you’ve removed the skin, bones, and fat. Just limit fatty meats, like bacon and sausage.

It’s also important to know what isn’t safe for your canine pal. Some dangerous foods include garlic and onions and their cousins, scallions and chives. These are often used as seasoning for foods that are otherwise safe, so pay attention to things like sauces and marinades. Also on the dangerous foods list are chocolate, meat on the bone, avocado, pitted fruit, raw dough, grapes and raisins, alcohol, and anything including xylitol, caffeine, or a lot of salt, sugar, and fat.

Preventative Care

Fido should be microchipped, wearing ID tags, and current on his vaccines and parasite control. Follow your vet’s recommendations.


Man’s Best Friend is a very opportunistic eater, and isn’t shy about going through garbage or even grabbing from plates on tables. This is quite concerning, as the garbage could contain things like skewers, toothpicks, bones, tin foil, can lids, or fat trimmings, which are all dangerous for Fido to eat. Keep trash and leftovers in secure containers.


Make sure your canine buddy always has clean water and access to cool, shady areas. Fido may also enjoy a cold snack, like frozen cubes of sodium-free broth.

Doggy Antics

If you’re having a crowd over, take time to walk and play with your pooch before everyone arrives. Your furry pal will be tired after a good workout, which will naturally leave him calmer and better behaved. Finally, keep a close eye on Fido, and make sure he doesn’t slip out an open door or get his tail stuck beneath someone’s chair.

Our Advice on Barbequing With Fido in 2024

What are the specific symptoms of heat stress in dogs, and how can pet owners recognize them during outdoor activities?

Specific symptoms of heat stress in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, increased heart rate, lethargy or uncoordinated movements, and vomiting. During outdoor activities, dogs might also exhibit signs of discomfort such as restlessness, seeking shade, or reluctance to keep moving. In severe cases, symptoms can escalate to collapse or convulsions. Pet owners should monitor their dogs closely for these signs, especially in hot weather, to prevent heatstroke. Providing ample water, shade, and breaks can help manage their temperature and ensure their safety during outdoor activities.

What are some dog-friendly alternatives to traditional barbecue foods that can be safely prepared and served to canine companions?

Dog-friendly alternatives to traditional barbecue foods include plain, cooked meats like chicken, turkey, or beef without added seasonings, fats, or bones. Steamed vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes are healthy options. For treats, consider making frozen cubes of sodium-free broth or preparing small pieces of apple or banana. Avoid onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and anything containing xylitol or caffeine. Always ensure that any food offered to your dog is cooked without harmful ingredients and served in moderation to maintain a balanced diet.

How can pet owners create a designated safe space for their dogs during barbecues?

To create a designated safe space for dogs during barbecues, pet owners should set up a quiet, comfortable area away from the crowd and grill. This space should include fresh water, a shady spot, and a cozy bed or blanket. Consider using a baby gate or playpen to define the area clearly and keep the dog secure. It’s also beneficial to include some favorite toys to help the dog feel at ease and distracted from the festivities. Regularly check on the dog to ensure they are comfortable and stress-free.

What are the potential risks associated with using insect repellents, sunscreens, and other outdoor products around dogs?

Using insect repellents, sunscreens, and other outdoor products around dogs can pose several risks. Many of these products contain chemicals like DEET, zinc oxide, or picaridin, which are toxic to dogs if ingested. Ingestion can occur when dogs lick their skin or fur where these products have been applied. Symptoms of toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and, in severe cases, neurological issues. Pet owners should use only pet-safe products specifically designed for dogs and avoid applying any human insect repellents or sunscreens on their pets. Always consult a veterinarian before using new products on your dog.

How can pet owners properly clean and sanitize their outdoor spaces after a barbecue to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses for their dogs?

To minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses for dogs after a barbecue, pet owners should thoroughly clean and sanitize all outdoor areas. Remove all food scraps and dispose of garbage in securely closed bins to prevent dogs from scavenging. Clean surfaces and grilling tools to eliminate residues that could attract pets. Rinse areas where any spills occurred, especially those involving potentially harmful foods or condiments. Additionally, check the yard for small items like toothpicks, skewers, or bones that could be ingested and cause internal harm to the dog.

As your Urbana, IL animal clinic, we’re here to help! Please contact us for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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