As we prepare for family picnics, cookouts, and holiday celebrations, do you know if cookout food is hazardous for dogs?
Your dog can enjoy tail-wagging fun in the sun with you during your family gathering. They can even enjoy a delicious treat with you, so long as you know which foods are safe and which are hazardous.
Picture your dog sitting politely, catching sniffs off the grill. While we all know your dog would love a bite of that steak, here are some things you should know before giving in.
First of all, bones are dangerous for dogs to eat. Their rigid shape poses a choking hazard and a risk for internal obstruction. Also, these brittle cooked bones can splinter while your dog digests them, which could lead to internal damage of the throat and intestinal tract.
Check for your meat seasoning. Onions and garlic are especially dangerous for dogs.
Although you may be tempted to deliver those fatty bits and leftovers, know that excess fat in your dog’s diet could lead to health problems like acute pancreatitis.
What about raw meat? Raw meats intended for human consumption can contain hazardous bacteria like E.coli and salmonella. While these bacteria are typically destroyed while cooking, feeding the raw scraps to your pup can cause an upset stomach.
Well, what about hotdogs? Hotdogs can have a variety of ingredients that may be unsafe for your dog.
Not only do they contain unhealthy additives unfit for your dog’s diet, and onions and garlic, they also can contain high amounts of salt.
While you may enjoy that extra salty treat on a hot day, it could cause your dog to get dehydrated out in the sun. It also can impact their blood pressure and be a choking hazard.
If you want to share your meal with your dog, consider preparing them some plain boiled chicken ahead of time. Or spoil them with raw freeze-dried protein treats, which have the nutritional benefits of raw meat, without the hazard of harmful bacteria.
The freeze-drying process preserves the nutrients of the meat without cooking them off or adding unnatural preservatives. It’s a great way to pack in the nutrition, without the dangers of you handling raw meat or exposing your dog to bacteria.
Is your family enjoying buttery corn on the cob this cookout season? While corn is not dangerous for dogs, the cob could be. Giving your dog corn on the cob could risk choking or intestinal blockage if they ingest the cob.
If you want to cut off some kernels from the cob for your dog, make sure they are plain and not buttered or salted. Excess butter can lead to pancreatitis while salt can cause high blood pressure and dehydration.
Some cookouts offer a healthy option of a vegetable platter to dip veggie sticks in ranch dressing or hummus. Plain carrot sticks can be a nutritious crunchy snack for your dog to chew on. Hold the dip!
Does your family lay out a delicious cheese spread or charcuterie board for their picnics?
While many dogs love cheese, some find it hard to digest, leading to gastrointestinal upset. Some dogs are sensitive to lactose and most dogs are sensitive to the amount of fat in cheese.
Always feed cheese in moderation. Low-fat cheeses are a safer option. Find out more about dogs and cheese here.
Does your family have a yummy fruit salad prepared at your picnic?
Watermelon can be a refreshing summertime snack for your dog. Seedless and off the rind is the safest bet to avoid an upset stomach.
Blueberries are a bite-size bubble of delicious nutrition for your pup. They are low-calorie and full of antioxidants that help the immune system and support a healthy diet. Treat away!
Grapes are a human-only snack. Avoid feeding grapes to your dog as they are dangerous to the kidney system.
Although it may be tempting to spoil Fido with chips, pretzels, and other salty goodies, excess salt can be harmful to your dog. Avoid these salty foods for the risk of sodium poisoning which can cause diarrhea, fevers, and seizures.
WHAT IF MY DOG ATE SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN’T?
To find out more human foods your dog can eat, check out our blog post here. Always check with your veterinarian before feeding anything new.
If your dog ate something that you are not sure is safe, reach out to your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
SO IS COOKOUT FOOD HAZARDOUS FOR DOGS?
Many human foods are best avoided while treating your pup at your cookout. There are some exceptions.
What about the delivery? To avoid reinforcing behaviors like begging, do not feed your dog from the table. Feed your dog from their bowl to increase a sense of normalcy.
You can also use these treats, or your dog’s favorite high-value dog treats, a slow feeder bowl, or a treat stuffing game to elongate mental stimulation. This will keep your dog occupied, and reduce the stress of all the cookout excitement.
If you mentally or physically exercise your dog before your company arrives, that may increase their calm when the cookout starts.
Don’t forget to prepare for those fireworks. Make sure your dog is safely secured in your home before it gets dark.
There are many techniques for calming your dog during this, particularly stressful time. Have their favorite treats on hand, calming chew bone, and anything else that makes them comfortable. Some tips for creating a calming environment for your dog found can be found here.