By Nicole Abrego

After over a year of staying indoors during the Covid-19 pandemic, summertime is here and all of us are anxious to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. That means beach trips, BBQs, pool parties, and spending time with our family, friends, and most importantly, our pets!

With the season of fun in the sun getting underway, it’s important to be wary of the dangers that can befall your beloved furry friend during the summer festivities. Especially when it comes to food hazards at your next family BBQ. Here are some foods that you need to keep your pet away from during the summer cookout.

Leftover Bones 

Sure, you may want to throw Fido a leftover bone so he can join in on the party. However, leftover bones from ribs, chicken, and other meats pose a very dangerous risk for pets. They may choke or suffer injury if the bone becomes lodged in their windpipe, esophagus, or digestive tract. Cooked bones can potentially splinter and puncture the digestive tract, leading to internal bleeding and other complications. Best way to prevent your pet from reaching leftover bones is to notify guests to not feed the pets and dispose of bones in a pet-proof container with a secure lid.


Fatty Meats 

Stay clear of giving your pet fatty meats such as steaks and hamburgers. Though not toxic to dogs, the fatty meats can result in inflammation of the pancreas and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and in some severe cases, organ failure. An alternative treat option would be grilling up a plain piece of boneless chicken with no seasonings or sauces and cutting it up into bite-sized pieces. 

Corn on the Cob 

Corn on a cob is definitely a fan favorite at cookouts, but not so much for your pet. Corn by itself is safe for your pet but due to the shape and size of a corn on the cob, it can pose a choking hazard and can potentially cause dangerous blockage in your pet’s intestines. It’s best to give your precious pup corn OFF the cob and mix it in their dinner for a delicious treat.


Avocados, Onions, Garlic, Grapes, and Chocolate 

Keep your furry friend away from your grandmother’s guacamole! Some of the key ingredients in fresh guacamole such as onions, garlic, and of course, avocado, are actually very toxic for pets. A pet ingesting any of these foods can suffer from gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart congestion. The same can be said of grapes (raisins) and chocolate. Grapes are highly toxic to dogs and can cause liver and kidney failure. Chocolate is known to be extremely fatal to dogs and can cause heart rate issues and seizures. Take preventative measures and ensure that all deserts and toxic foods are away from pets and notify all guests to not feed your pet. The last thing you want is an unexpected emergency trip to the vet!

Treats for Fido to Eat!

There are ways for your pet to take part in some tasty treats! Some of the best treats for dogs are seedless watermelon and honeydew, which help keep the body cool from the inside. Fresh carrots serve as a great chew toy for your dog, just be sure to supervise your dog while she is enjoying her treat. Peanut butter is always a good go-to treat for your pet. Just be sure it does not contain the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, which is toxic to pets. And don’t forget water and ice cubes to keep your pet hydrated during the hot summer months! Your pet will surely thank you.

If you have summer BBQ plans on the horizon, be sure to keep your pet safe and happy by having them avoid the pet food hazards mentioned. And if you ever have questions or need to schedule your pet’s next appointment, please contact us here.

For over 30 years, The Drake Center for Veterinary Care has been serving pet owners in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center takes pride in being a leading source of information for all pet owners across the country; however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.