How to take good care of your dog at a barbecue

How to take good care of your dog at a barbecue

Who doesn’t love a barbecue or a bit of al fresco dining now that summer has well and truly arrived? (in between the torrential downpours, obviously) However, whilst it's tempting to share your favourite barbecue treats with your furry friends, it's important to be aware that some foods can be harmful or even toxic to dogs. Which is why, this week we are taking a look at some of the barbecue foods that dogs should avoid and how to keep them safe from any potential dangers that you might not necessarily even be aware of. 

Corgi Photo by Cottonbro Studio on PexelsCorgi Photo by Cottonbro Studio on Pexels

Foods to Avoid

Onions and Garlic 

These common barbecue ingredients can cause a condition called hemolytic anaemia in dogs, leading to the destruction of red blood cells. Keep your dogs away from any dishes that contain onions or garlic, such as marinades, sauces, or seasoned meats.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, even in small quantities. Keep any grapes or raisins or foods containing them including salads, desserts, or sauces safely out of harms way. 


Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Be cautious of desserts like chocolate cake or brownies that may be within your pet's reach. Chocolate contains theobromine, which dogs metabolise much more slowly than humans, making it highly toxic to them.


Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can be toxic to dogs when consumed in large amounts. Keep guacamole and other avocado-based dishes out of reach


Alcoholic beverages can have severe effects on dogs, including intoxication, depression of the central nervous system, and even liver damage. Ensure that your dogs don't have access to any alcoholic beverages or beverages containing alcohol. 

Barbecue food photo by Pam Menegakis on UnsplashBarbecue food photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

Barbecue meats

Make sure your pooch can’t get their paws on any leftover meats. Speaking about this recently, the Yorkshire Vet said that fatty meats can pose a significant risk, particularly to certain breeds:

“Vets commonly see dogs with a horrible condition called pancreatitis. There are two forms of the disease - the acute form, which can be life-threatening, and the chronic form. We see the chronic form far less commonly, and in most cases, the dogs that suffer from chronic pancreatitis appear slightly under the weather, are lethargic and vomit occasionally. Other than that, it isn’t particularly obvious they are poorly. Dogs suffering from acute pancreatitis tend to be severely ill, often vomiting profusely, which can, in many cases, contain blood too. Sufferers are usually visibly in pain, appearing miserable and depressed as a result.

“Historically, pancreatitis was considered to occur from middle age onwards in dogs that are obese or have just eaten a large fatty meal. In other words, they had been cheeky and stolen some human food during BBQ or raided the rubbish bin in most cases! We now know that this isn't the case. In the medical world, we have a fancy word – idiopathic – which describes pancreatitis perfectly and means that we don’t often know what triggers it. 

“What we do know, however, is that it is most commonly seen from middle age onwards in slightly overweight dogs - and it’s particularly common in the spaniel and the schnauzer.”


If you’re cooking anything on a skewer (but especially any kind of meat) make sure that these are disposed of carefully and not left on a plate where your dog may be able to access them. Even an empty skewer with some meat remnants on it may prove irresistible and these can cause great harm when swallowed. Make sure all your guests know about this and place any leftover skewers straight in the bin – or if they are wooden ones, just throw them back into the barbecue and let them burn.

Dog with asparagus photo by Nastya Korenkova on PexelsDog with asparagus photo by Nastya Korenkova on Pexels

Dangers at a Barbecue

Hot Grills and Flames

The grill and flames pose burn risks for dogs. Keep your pets away from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns. Make sure they are not hanging around close enough to get splashed with fat or eat anything that has dropped off of the grill as this could easily burn their mouth. Also ensure that they cannot knock over the grill, causing a potential fire hazard and that no one is throwing a ball for your dog in this area. 


Although it may be tempting to give your dog a bone from the barbecue, it can be extremely hazardous. Cooked bones can splinter easily, leading to choking, internal injuries, or blockages in the digestive tract. Offer your furry friends safe and appropriate chew toys instead.

Food Scraps and leftovers

Dogs are notorious scavengers, and a barbecue can be a treasure trove of discarded food scraps. Many foods commonly found at barbecues, such as chicken bones, corn cobs, or skewers, can pose choking hazards or cause intestinal blockages. Ensure that all garbage and food scraps are securely disposed of in covered bins.

French Bulldog Photo by Cottonbro Studio on PexelsFrench Bulldog Photo by Cottonbro Studio on Pexels

Tips to Keep your Dog Safe at a Barbecue

Create a Safe Space

Set up a designated area away from the grill and food table where your dog can relax and feel comfortable. Provide them with fresh water, shade, and a comfortable bed or mat.

Get your Guests on Board

Notify your guests about your dog's presence and any dietary restrictions or allergies they may have. Educate them about the importance of not sharing food with your pets and keeping their plates out of reach.

Serve Dog-Friendly Treats

Prepare special treats for your dog to enjoy during the barbecue. They might enjoy some dog-safe fruits and vegetables, like watermelon or carrots, as a healthy and refreshing alternative. Unless you’re eating a sausage in front of them, of course!

Supervise Carefully 

Keep a close eye on your dog throughout the event to ensure they don't consume any prohibited foods or get into dangerous situations. Assign a responsible family member or friend to help you with this task if needed.

Provide Distractions

Engage your dog in fun activities or play with them to divert their attention from the tempting smells and foods. This will help keep them occupied and reduce the likelihood of them sneaking forbidden treats.

Barbecues can be a wonderful summer activity for both humans and dogs. By being aware of the foods that are harmful to dogs and taking appropriate precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. As a responsible pet owner, your dog's health and well-being should always be a top priority and with a little planning and consideration, you can create a barbecue atmosphere that is fun, delicious, and safe for all involved.

Main photo by Rosemary Ketchum on Pexels

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published