BBQ safety for pets

We know that Brits love a BBQ, but we also love our pets, so considering how to keep our four-legged friends safe during our summer fun is just as important. There can be many hidden hazards unfortunately, explain experts from vet charity, PDSA.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing says: "From heatstroke and burns, to bin raids and broken glass, there are many potential dangers for pet owners to think about when firing up the grill. However, there's lots of simple things you can do to make sure your barbecue is fun for everyone – including our pets!"


  1. A place to de-stress

Having a house full of strangers may be overwhelming and quite stressful for pets, so aim to give them plenty of opportunities to relax. Set up a quiet area with their bedding, food and water bowls in a separate room or shaded corner of the garden so they can retreat if they feel stressed. For smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, try covering part of their enclosure with a blanket so they can hide away if they need to, but always make sure they have good ventilation and air flowing through to ensure they stay cool on warmer days.


  1. Skip the scraps

Is your pooch a master of puppy dog eyes? Don't give in! Barbecue scraps can upset your four-legged friend's stomach and undercooked or fatty foods can make them very poorly. Bones can also be really harmful for our pets. Why not give them a healthy dog treat or chew toy to play with to keep them occupied while you sit back and enjoy your meal?


  1. Dispose of dangers

A big problem at barbecues can be pets getting hold of things they shouldn't – whether it's a kebab skewer or the core from a corn-on-the-cob, eating objects like this can cause serious and potentially life-threatening issues. Make sure any leftovers and rubbish are thrown away in a bin that your four-legged friend can't raid. Food smells are incredibly tempting for pets, so ensure your bin is secure enough to deter any wandering paws.


  1. Beat the heat

Always keep pets a safe distance from the barbecue. A stolen sausage off the grill is way too hot to handle! As well as hot food, coals and ashes can also cause serious burns, so ensure the barbecue is cooled down quickly once you've finished cooking and never leave your furry friends unsupervised while it's still hot.


  1. Keep them cool

Pets can quickly overheat in the sun and are at risk of developing heatstroke, so it's important to keep them indoors or in some shade during the hottest parts of the day. They also need to have access to fresh, clean water at all times, which may need to be topped up more often especially on scorching hot days. Consider having your barbecue in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.


6) Potential poisons

If you're using lighter fluid or firelighters to set your barbecue alight, make sure you store them well out of reach of furry friends and make sure they have a secure lid. Think about other potential poisons too – keep alcoholic drinks, sugar-free treats and chocolate desserts out of temptation's way for inquisitive pets.


7) Breathe easy

Smoke can be very irritating for pets, especially as many of them can have sensitive airways. Make sure your furry family members are kept away from the barbecue and not downwind of any fumes. This is especially important for small pets and birds; you will need to move their enclosure or the barbecue so they are well away from the smoke.


For more tips on keeping your pets safe during BBQs, and other ideas on keeping pets cool during the summer, visit

PDSA is the vet charity for pets in need, providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People's Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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