The dog days of summer are on their way, and those dogs are hungry—especially if there’s something cooking on the barbecue. But can dogs eat barbecued food? And what about that hot grill? We’ve got your answers in this guide to BBQs for dogs and their families. Get the scoop on which barbecue foods are safe for dogs, and how to host a dog-friendly summer do.
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 without the bun will be a welcome treat.
- Dog-friendly grilled veggies like courgette and sweet potato
- Select summertime fruits like blueberries and watermelon (seeds and rind removed). Try freezing fruit for a cool treat!
- Small portions of grilled meat and fish like steak, ribs (off the bone, please), and cooked salmon.
Like people, dogs who overdo it at a barbecue 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 any 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 barbecue:
- 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 a bin with a lid to keep dogs out of the rubbish
To keep the grill area safe for your dog:
- Have a covered container on-hand to collect bones from grilled chicken and other meats
- If your barbecue has a lid put it 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 lead, or ask friends to play with her while you cook
Delicious BBQ ideas for dogs
When it comes to barbecued food 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 ideas:
- Mini burgers. Humans and dogs love this barbecue staple. We recommend leaving the bun off your dog’s burger, and limiting their serving size to one mini burger (humans will likely want two or three apiece).
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great for dogs, but you may want to add a vinaigrette to make it a bit more exciting for human guests.
- Shish Kebabs with dog-friendly veggies and meats. Assemble different vegetables and chunks of meat on a stick, just make sure to use ingredients that are safe for dogs.
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! Check out these articles to find out more about which foods your dog can and can’t eat:
- 9 Surprisingly Dangerous Foods for Dogs (Starting with Popcorn)
- 11 Fruits & Veggies That Are Good for Dogs
- 5 Safe and 5 Dangerous Spices and Seasonings for Dogs
Top image via Flickr/fungibleconvictions