The dog days of summer have officially arrived, and those dogs are hungry—especially if it’s barbecue. But can dogs eat BBQ sauce? And what about that hot grill? We’ve got your answers in this guide to BBQ for dogs and their families. Get the scoop on which barbecue foods are safe for dogs, and how to host a dog-friendly summer cookout.
BBQ for dogs: what’s safe to eat?
No guide to BBQ for dogs is complete without this number one safety tip. Don’t feed your dog bones! Cooked chicken bones in particular are a major health hazard, as they splinter easily. They can cause serious obstructions and other difficulties if consumed.
Other common barbecue foods that are toxic to dogs include avocado, grapes, onions, and chocolate.
When in doubt, stick to whole foods like veggies and meat off the bone.
Safe BBQ foods for dogs:
- Hot dogs. We recommend cutting them up into pieces and dispensing them like treats.
- Hamburgers. Too much fatty meat can be a health hazard for dogs, but a bite or two of plain, cooked burger patty will be a welcome treat.
- Dog-friendly grilled veggies like zucchini and sweet potato
- Select summertime fruits like blueberries and watermelon (seeds and rind removed). Try freezing fruit for a heat-busting treat!
- Small portions of grilled meat and fish like steak, ribs (off the bone, please), and cooked salmon. A little BBQ sauce won’t hurt your pooch, but leave off the intense spice rubs.
Like people, dogs who overdo it at a cookout may end up with tummy trouble the next day, so share in moderation. Supplement their regular meal with a few choice bites off the grill. Sweeten their day with fruit. Just don’t overdo it on rich sauces or sides! When in doubt, stick to whole foods like veggies and meat off the bone.
BBQ for dogs: grill safety tips
For general dog safety at a cookout:
- Ask guests not to feed your dog scraps
- Supervise kids around dogs
- Give your dog a break in a quiet, indoor space as needed
- Avoid using potent insect sprays or sunscreens around your dog, and keep such products out of reach
- Use lidded receptacles to keep dogs out of the trash
To keep the grill area safe for your dog:
- Have a covered container on-hand to collect bones from grilled chicken, ribs, and other meats
- Put the lid down to prevent curious pups from putting their feet on a hot grill
- Keep lighter fluid, charcoal, and matches out of reach
- Secure your dog with a leash, or ask friends to play with her while you grill
Delicious BBQ recipes for dogs
When it comes to BBQ for dogs, there’s a lot they can eat. But why not make them a special dog-friendly dish? It’s all about simple ingredients. Humans and dogs alike will enjoy these three barbecue recipes:
- Sliders. This recipe is catered to dog people, with pooch-friendly ingredients flavorful enough for humans to enjoy. We recommend leaving the bun off your dog’s burger, and limiting their serving size to one slider (humans will likely want two or three apiece).
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette. Every ingredient here is dog-friendly, but you may want to leave the vinaigrette off your dog’s first bite. You know, in case they don’t like citrus.
- Shish Kebabs with dog-friendly veggies and meats. Feel free to mix it up with different vegetables and proteins, just make sure to use ingredients that are safe for dogs.
If you’re not one to follow recipes when you grill, don’t worry. You don’t have to get fancy with barbecue foods for dogs. A simple bit of grilled meat or vegetable will be a welcome treat!
Top image via Flickr/fungibleconvictions