Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet: Summer Barbecue

Now that Memorial Day is passed, we are in full swing for summer fun. That includes outdoor adventures, trips to the beach and best of all backyard barbecues. Who doesn’t like a good backyard barbecue by the pool with hot dogs, hamburgers and your friends and neighbors! Everyone does, including your pets.

But there can be some hidden food dangers in these backyard parties, and you should be aware of what they are so you can make sure your pet doesn’t end up with an upset stomach or next day hangover from the party.

Hot Dogs and hamburgers are staple barbecue fare. There isn’t anything wrong with giving your pet a couple of slices of hot dog or a chunk of hamburger meat. What may cause issues are all the fixings that go with these including ketchup, mustard, onions, cheese, etc. Onions can be highly toxic to your pet and cause stomach issues and diarrhea. Ketchup and mustard can be too spicy and create an upset stomach too. Our advice: skip the toppings and stick with just the meat.

Ribs and Chicken: Barbecue chicken or ribs are a great choice for your barbecue and a few pieces of meat pulled from the bone (without too much sauce) is fine for your pets. Avoid giving your pet a whole rib or piece of chicken. Those bones can splinter and cause serious intestinal damage to your pet.

Potato and macaroni salad: These salads are another barbecue staple, but usually chock full of mayonnaise and other fatty items that your pets don’t need and do not digest easily. In addition, there are likely onions hidden in those salads for added flavor. Our advice: skip the fancy mayo-based salads and go for the raw carrots or cauliflower instead.

Tossed salad: The makings of a good tossed salad: spinach, kale, chopped carrots, tomatoes are an excellent choice for your pet. Just keep the dressing on the side and skip the onions and they can eat everything else in that salad!

Deviled eggs: Skip the yolk with the spicy paprika and mayo and give your pet just the whites.

Chips and dip: A few plain tortilla chips are just fine for Fido and Fluffy but skip the spicy dips and flavored chips. Our pets’ palates are much less discerning than humans and they don’t need the extra salt, sugar or spices found in most dips.

Ice cream: Dogs and cats love ice cream and a small scoop or cone should be fine. Just be sure and avoid the sugary toppings – especially chocolate as it is highly toxic to dogs.

Deserts: Your pets do not have a sweet tooth like humans do. They don’t need sugary sweets; they can’t eat chocolate and they would be happier with another piece of chicken. Our advice: skip the deserts all together.

Alcohol: Some folks might think it’s funny to give beer to their dog, but there’s never a good reason for your pets to consume any alcoholic beverages, so keep tables clear and ask your guests to put empties safely in the recycle bin.

Keep these simple guidelines in mind during your summer barbecue and everyone will have a great time with no regrets in the morning.

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