Protecting Your Dog At Summer Cookouts

14 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Although family cookouts wouldn't be the same without the family dog, there are various dangers that must be considered. Dogs get as excited as anyone else about the bounty of food that is available at cookouts, but have the reason and impulse control of a small child. Owners must plan ahead and prepare for possible risks that may send their beloved pet to an emergency animal hospital.

Danger from grilling

Although any type of grill is dangerous, portable grills such as inexpensive tripod type setups or hibachi table top grills pose additional risks of burns from charcoal, grease, and fire. Dogs will smell the food atop the grill and may make an attempt to grab something and overturn it, causing severe and possibly fatal burns to themselves and anyone around the grill.

Hot grease that may drip onto the ground is also an issue, because it is so delicious to a dog that they may eat anything that is coated with grease drippings, including sticks and stones. They may even eat aluminum foil that is covered in grease.

These type of items can cause intestinal blockages that may require surgery for removal.

Cookout foods that may be hazardous to your pet


Bones that splinter easily, such as chicken and pork ribs bones, can cause intestinal blockage or punctures, as their sharp edges embed themselves inside intestinal walls. Emergency veterinary services may be needed to removal the offending bone slivers.

Hot dogs

While not dangerous as a food, they can cause choking because of the shape if your dog attempts to swallow one whole, which is not beyond the realm of possibility for many dogs. Cut hot dogs into small pieces as you would for a toddler if you intend to give them to your dog.


Onions can be toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities, and cause severe illness in lesser amounts. While dogs will not usually eat raw onions, grilled onions that are flavored with grease will be devoured greedily. Keep onions, as well as garlic, away from your canine companion.


While grapes alone are not a standard cookout treat, they are often included in fruit salads, which are a cookout staple. Grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Diet drinks

Diet drinks or sugarless gum that contains the artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause insulin spikes that could result in possible liver failure, as blood sugar levels plummet. Effects from Xylitol sweetened drinks can occur in less than thirty minutes, and can include tremors, loss of coordination, and seizures.

Emergency veterinary care is needed if your dog exhibits these symptoms after having access to diet drinks.

Vigilance and awareness are the keys to keeping your dog safe during family cookouts. Share your insight with the rest of the family and have everyone work together to keep an eye on your pet and keep them safe for many summers of cookout fun.