Dog Safe Summer BBQ Tips

Dog Safe Summer BBQ Tips

Keep Pets Safe This Grilling Season with These BBQ Safety Tips


Summer has arrived, which means we are spending more time outdoors. This also means we are cooking, entertaining and eating more outdoors too. It's BBQ Season! Barbecues are great summer social events, but they can also be dangerous for dogs. Having a BBQ that's safe for dogs involves careful planning and vigilance to ensure your furry friends enjoy the event without any health risks. Here are some of my top tips to ensure a dog-safe BBQ

Preparation and Setup

Preparation and BBQ Setup

Secure the Area: Make sure the BBQ area is secure, with no open gates or gaps in fences where dogs could escape.
Keep Dangerous Items Out of Reach: Set up a designated area for dogs away from the grill, hot surfaces, and sharp utensils.
Create a Safe Space: Provide a shady, comfortable area with water and toys where dogs can relax away from the main cooking and eating areas.

Food Safety

Always Avoid Toxic BBQ Foods

Common barbecue items like onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes, and certain seasonings are toxic to dogs. These are a big no no. Other barbecue foods you may not realize are toxic to our four legged friends include:

  • Marinades and meat seasonings
  • Corn on the cob: The cob should never be given to a dog unsupervised and should not be used as a chew treat. If your dog has eaten corn on the cob, it could get lodged in your pet's throat, so watch for signs of choking or gastrointestinal distress. If you see these signs, visit your vet asap.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can cause intoxication in our pets, and no pet parent wants that.
  • Kabob skewers and ribs
  • Chicken wings and in-bone meat: It is a myth that dogs need to chew bones. While dogs want to chew, and most would love to chew on bones, bones and ribs are dangerous and they can cause serious injuries.
  • Fatty meats: Feeding dogs high-fat foods, including fatty human foods like meat trimmings, can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. And because fats contain almost three times as many calories as proteins and carbohydrates, adding foods with high fat content to a dog's diet can lead to obesity.
  • Chips and salty snacks
  • Xylitol-containing products: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in peanut butter, sugar-free candy, and gum. If you buy sugar-free condiments, check the packaging/bottles for xylitol.
  • Guacamole
  • Raw meat
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • BBQ sauce: BBQ sauce also contains onion and garlic, which are considered toxic and can cause anemia; and sugar and acidic or spicy ingredients, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and lack of appetite.

Keep these out of reach and inform guests not to feed these to the dogs. Vomiting and diarrhea from eating food meant for people are both common issues pets face during barbecue season, when food items from the grill may be most accessible to them. If your dog ate any harmful foods, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Also Read: The Benefits of Pet Insurance

Safe BBQ Food and Treats for Your Furry Friend

Safe BBQ Food and Treats for Dogs

While grilling, it can be all too easy to leave human foods laying around unattended. But keep in mind many of the summer treats and snacks that we love can be dangerous for our pets to eat—especially foods that contain bones and sticks, like chicken wings and kabobs, which can be a choking hazard. Be sure to store or throw away leftovers in a secure, lidded bin that your pet can’t access.

When it comes to BBQ for dogs, there’s a lot they can eat. But why not make them a special dog-friendly dish? Have dog-friendly treats available, such as plain cooked meats (chicken, beef) without seasoning, grilled vegetables or store-bought dog treats. Some other delicious and safe options include:


Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K. It also contains significant amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. These nutrients help promote a healthy immune system and support your dog's organs, skin, and coat.

Green Beans

Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals, such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. Green beans are also full of fiber and are low in calories, which can help dogs and humans feel full when they are dieting.

Fresh Berries

Certain types of berries safe for dogs. You can feed your dog strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. These berries are soft and easy for dogs to chew and don't contain any ingredients that are toxic to canines. They also contain antioxidants, fiber and vitamins C and K. These nutrients support the immune system and contribute to overall health.

Watermelon (fresh or frozen)

The fleshy pink fruit of a watermelon is loaded with healthy nutrients that are as beneficial for humans as they are for our canine companions. Watermelon is rich in potassium and vitamin C, and it's also a great source of vitamins A and B6. It also contains fiber, which can aid healthy digestion.

Grilled Meat

Grilled meats such as chicken, steak and fish are great for dogs, as long as they are boneless, plain, and fully cooked. Even cooked chicken bones and BBQ chicken would not be a good idea, as bbq sauce is not great for a dog's stomach or digestive tract. An example of grilled meat that would not be suitable for dogs: hot dogs. Yes, oddly enough, dogs are not good for dogs.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are often found as an ingredient in many high-quality dog foods because they are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins (like A, B6, and C), and minerals like iron, calcium, and selenium. They also provide beta-carotene, which is beneficial for your dog's vision, growth, and muscle strength.


Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy. Apples are also low in fat and are a good source of fiber. But remember not to feed them the core or the seeds.


Carrots are packed with important vitamins, along with potassium, which is good for a dog’s muscles, nerves, and kidneys. Their fiber can also help dogs stay regular.

Dog-safe Ice Cream

Typically, it's fine for dogs to have an occasional lick of plain vanilla or strawberry ice cream in tiny amounts. But it's not something that should become a regular part of their diet, since too much dairy, sugar, or high-fat foods can make your dog sick. Making doggie safe ice cream is really easy though. There are many recipes available online and it’s all based on plain yogurt and fresh ingredients that are good for dogs like bananas, strawberries and peanut butter.

Every dog's diet is different so you know what is good for them and how much they should enjoy. While it’s fine to give your dog these healthy foods, watch how much you dole out. Treats, including any bbq food, should make up 10% or less of your pet's diet and calories for the day. Small portions and small pieces are key.

Also Read: How to Keep Your Dog Safe During Summer Fireworks?

Monitor Food Waste

Ensure that your trash is secured and food scraps are not left where dogs can access them. Bones, corn cobs, and fatty foods can cause serious health issues such as liver failure, kidney failure, or severe cases of upset stomach.

Backyard Safety for Dogs

Backyard Safety for Dogs

It only takes one BBQ attendee to leave a door or back gate open for your dog to get loose. Having proper backyard safety protocols in place is key. Make sure your visitors know you have a dog, and if people are coming and going frequently, consider putting your dog on a lead or in a bedroom or crate.

Smoke can be irritating for pets and other animals, who can have sensitive airways. So, it’s important to not only keep pets far from the grill, but also not downwind of fumes. Have small pets and/or birds? It’s advised to keep their enclosure away from the barbeque and ensuing smoke.

For any dog, it’s always a good idea to give your dog some private space to retreat to in case they get overwhelmed. Be proactive and give your dog intentional breaks — put your dog’s bed or their crate in a quiet area of the home separate from the gathering

Trouble With Other Guests

Your dog may be sweet and friendly, but you should still be prepared for potential conflict with other guests (both human and canine). Don’t leave dogs together unsupervised, and be ready to intervene if a fight breaks out. Some recommended tips include:

  • Place an object or barrier between the dogs
  • Spray their faces with lemon juice or vinegar
  • Give firm commands, but avoid shouting or screaming

Of course, prevention is best when it comes to dog fights. If possible, bring a portable crate along, or ask for a spot indoors where your dog can stay if necessary.

Also Read: Backyard Safety Tips For Dogs and Dog Owners

If Your Pet Gets Burned By a Grill

Understandably, your pet may be scared and in pain, so be sure to approach your pet with care and caution. Next, carefully clean the burn area: Rinse the burn immediately with cold water, cover the area with a light bandage to prevent the animal from licking the area and take the pet to an emergency vet.

Safe Summer BBQ Tips for Dogs


The sun is shining, the pool floats are inflated, and the grill’s heating up. And as we brush up on our corn hole skills, it’s also the perfect time to freshen up on BBQ food and environment safety—especially for those of us pet parents who have a dog or two zooming in and out of the house and getting dangerously close to the grill.

While most dogs love to spend time outside, there are safety precautions to keep in mind before planning your next backyard BBQ bash. By following these bbq safety tips for dogs, you can create a safe and enjoyable BBQ environment for both humans and dogs. Always have the contact information and location of the nearest emergency vet clinic on hand just in case, and let your guests know the rules about feeding and interacting with your dog(s) to prevent any accidental harm.

Author Image


Paige Chernick is a Social Media and Communications expert living in NYC. For 10 years, she ran her own consulting company called PaigeKnowsFirst where she managed social content & strategy for many brands, finding her niche within the pet industry.

Paige has been a guest contributor for several publications and featured in articles on her successes with pets and social media. Paige’s rescue dog, Charlie, famously known by her social media handle @puppynamedcharlie, has accumulated hundreds of thousands of fans and made her a successful pet influencer early on in the game. Paige is also one of the Founders of The Pet Summit, a conference in the pet industry for creators and marketers, where she used her experience to create programs and classes to help guide and teach others.

In 2022, Paige became the Social Media Director for PRIDE+GROOM. She is now the Senior Vice President of Communications and remains very immersed in the pet industry on both the corporate side and the influencer side.