Home | Pet Health | Diet and Nutrition | Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.


Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.


The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.


An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.


Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!



  1. avatar

    When I was still a child, I thought dogs eat bones. I wonder why I will have this perception. Even some dog foods were made into bone’s shape, funny.
    Definitely no bones for your dogs, no chocolates and no snacks. Thanks for your tips. 🙂

  2. avatar

    Great Article.
    Pets care is important for us like our child. Take care your pets at one place. Buy pets food online.

  3. avatar

    Thanks for reading Max!

  4. avatar

    I knew dogs couldn’t have raisins, but not alcohol! I’m guilty of giving my pups a few sips of beer at a BBQ! haha!
    Wow that’s really interesting! Great blog post.

  5. avatar

    Oh, didn’t know leftovers from ribs, steaks or chicken wings cause this much issues. Really an informative article!

  6. avatar
    Εκπαιδευτής Σκύλων

    There are so many myths about what dogs can eat…thanks for share…

  7. avatar

    In our region (South Asia) there is problem to find healthy dog food. If possible plz share the dog food recipes so that i can prepare it at home

  8. avatar

    Given that we do head out for picnics often, this post is pretty informative for us. I avoid giving them the above mentioned food too. I did read that BBQ food are not suitable for them. I wonder if there’s any truth in this?

  9. avatar

    What a great post so many people don’t understand that some foods we can eat fine but for dogs it poisoness.
    When you drop food on the floor most people think ah well the dog will have it and not think twice I wish more dog owners were like you and think first.

  10. avatar

    great article….there’s a lot of things to know about our pet. thanks for this informative post.

  11. avatar

    Great blog, congrats!

  12. avatar

    Nice post so far…..I’ve got the information that i was seeking…..many of us do not know how to properly feed our pets. This post was really helpful.

  13. avatar

    It is very important to protect the health of your pets, ensuring you know what they are eating at all times, and making sure that they don’t eat things that may have a negative impact on them!

  14. avatar

    Pets care is important for us like our child. Take care your pets at one place. Buy pets food online. thank you.

  15. avatar

    I love DogVacay’s recipes! Got to try their Crunchy BBQ Liver Dog Treats soon.. I’m sure my sweet golden retrievers would love it!

  16. avatar

    Great blog about pet safety when it comes to cookouts. People don’t realize that if they feed their pets human food how dangerous it can be to their health! You really should only feed dogs things that are good for their health.

  17. avatar

    I have puppy and I always take care about his food and I think Pedigree is best for dog. And another important thing is grooming. And i am very thankful to the caring grooming staff’s of Bone Sweet Bone. They care my puppy very much.

  18. avatar

    Thank you for sharing! Whenever my husband and I have chicken or any other meat dish with bones, we immediately throw those bones into the building’s bin to avoid this situation: any of our 3 dogs deciding that they can get some of those tasty bones from our trash can. Here’s another toxic thing that some pet lovers may not know — mushrooms — giving them to your pets for tasting is a no-no.

  19. avatar

    This is good information to know. It’s hard throwing out chicken bones when my dog wants them so much, but I know I have to do it.

About thatpetblog

Read other posts by

The Pet Blog represents the contributions of all of the on-staff pet experts at That Fish Place - That Pet Place. Contact us with the links here or leave a comment.
Scroll To Top