BBQ pet safety

It is a fact that there are more hazards for pets over the summer and the holiday period in general, especially if the weather is warm. All vets see an increase in injuries and poisonings during this time and some of these are associated with BBQ's. We’ve put together some tips on how to avoid emergency trips to the vet and help you enjoy your summer and BBQ in safety!

A word about cats and rabbits

Most of this blog will be referring to dogs as, by and large, most self-respecting cats will keep out of the way during the party itself. However, do be very careful with left-over food as it often causes upset tummies. Worse still, things like chicken bones have the potential to cause a problem by becoming stuck in a pet’s mouth, stomach or intestines.

Make sure they are not scared by the party noise and give them access to a quiet place away from it all. Rabbits in particular (whilst looking okay on the outside) may be inwardly traumatised by having to share their garden with noisy humans, and dogs.

BBQ hazards

Party food

There are certain foods common at BBQ's that really are dangerous for dogs.

Cooked bones: Never give a dog a bone from the BBQ. These can get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract and have to be removed surgically. Even worse, bones can cause serious and potentially life threatening damage to guts.

Corn on the cob: Another food to be wary of is corn on the cob. These can be swallowed whole by some dogs, and are just the right size to cause an intestinal obstruction.

Kebab: A real hazard, which you may find unbelievable, is the humble kebab. Unfortunately to some dogs, the attraction of the sizzling meat is impossible to resist! Dogs have been known to swallow kebabs whole - skewer and all! This can cause damage to the gut and requires major surgery.

For further advice on Pet Food Dangers >


Do not leave a barbecue unattended where a pet may be tempted to jump up. This is especially likely if food is cooking. However, even the debris left behind on a still hot BBQ grid is alluring to most dogs. This could result in severe burns to them and others in the vicinity, if they pull it over.


When there is a lot going on at a party, it is easy to lose track of where the pets have got to. Make sure that they can’t get shut in the conservatory or green house; these can reach dangerous temperatures in warm weather. If you do suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, ring your vet for advice immediately as this can be a life threatening condition. For further advice on Heatstroke >

Garden plants

Often if you’re hosting a BBQ guests will bring you a little something like a bunch of flowers or chocolates. However, if a bunch of flowers contains lilies please be aware to keep these well away from pets, especially cats. All of the flower is highly poisonous and can be lethal if ingested. A cat does not have to eat the lily to be at risk. If a cat brushes against a lily, the pollen can attach to their fur and by grooming themselves they will ingest the toxic pollen. For further advice on poisonous plants for cats >

If you have a friend or family member’s dog or puppy come along to the BBQ, be aware that they may be more inquisitive than your dog as they will be in a new environment. Visiting dogs/ puppies should be supervised in the garden to ensure that they don’t eat any harmful plants.