Cookouts Food and Pet Safety

Cookouts Food and Pet Safety

Cookouts can be great family fun, great neighborhood gatherings, and spectacular ways to celebrate. It’s natural to want to include a beloved pet as part of a picnic, barbecue or camping trip, but barbecues can be dangerous for cats and dogs. Understanding these dangers is an essential first step in protecting your four-legged friends and family.

Outdoor food can be toxic to pets
Many of our favorite grilled dishes can be dangerous for pets, even in small quantities. These items should never be offered to animals, even as small treats.

Grilled Meat: Spices, graters, marinades and sauces used for many types of grilled meat include spices such as onions, garlic and salt, which are dangerous for pets. In addition, discarded fat residues can cause digestive discomfort, and cooked bones are brittle and sharp, which can lead to internal health problems when pets consume them.

Potato Salad – Potato salad is a staple food for cooking and is a mixture of various foods that can be toxic to pets. Mayonnaise, garlic and mustard can harm pets, and various ingredients such as onions can also harm them.

Fruit salad: Several types of fruits, including raisins, cherries, rhubarb, grapes and citrus fruits, contain compounds that are harmful to pets. The seeds, bark and bones can also be suffocatingly harmful or toxic to cats and dogs.

Chips and pretzels: The excess carbs, salt and spices in these quick and easy grill sites are dangerous for animals and can quickly upset the digestive balance of cats and dogs.

Drinks: Animals should only be given fresh, clean water to drink. Various chemicals in alcohol and milk, as well as the high caffeine or sugar content in teas and other outdoor beverages can be dangerous for pets.

Desserts: Chocolate is fatal for many animals, and other common ingredients in desserts, such as macadamia nuts, almonds and pistachios, are also harmful. Even with healthier desserts, it should be noted that sugar substitutes can also be fatal for pets.

General food safety during cooking
Of course, any food that is poorly prepared or improperly handled can pose a danger not only to pets, but to all guests at the cookout. Raw meat and dairy products, including salads or sandwiches with butter, mayonnaise or sour cream, should be kept at appropriate temperatures for food safety reasons. Use coolers and plenty of ice to keep food refrigerated or, if possible, use a nearby kitchen to properly store cold food until you need it.

The meat should be cooked completely to the proper internal temperature and not allowed to stand and cool at low temperatures that could promote bacterial growth. Boiled meat should not be put back on the same surface as a plate or cutting board on which the raw meat rested.

Everyone who handles food should wash their hands thoroughly before and after cooking, and everyone should wash their hands before eating. After eating, dishes should be disposed of properly, and leftovers should be stored quickly and safely.

Keeping pets safe at outdoor meals
There are many simple steps pet owners can take to make sure their pets are safe while cooking.

  • Train pets not to beg for junk and do not feed them from the table.
  • Feed pets before cooking or while guests are eating so that they do not receive inappropriate food.
  • Keep all food out of the reach of pets, including ambitious surfers.
  • Do not leave food unattended or in areas where it could fall or spill.
  • If food is accidentally spilled, clean it up immediately so that pets cannot ingest it.
  • Cover serving dishes tightly or use weighted domes to protect the food from curious pets.
  • Keep a tall, heavy trash can ready for disposable dishes and waste so pets can’t reach them.

If a pet is given inappropriate food, monitor them closely for signs of illness or stress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, dizziness, flatulence, or swelling of the mouth. If these or other unusual symptoms appear, immediately contact an emergency veterinarian for help.

Cookouts can be a lot of fun, but endangering a beloved pet is no fun. By understanding how outdoor meals can be dangerous for pets, you can easily take steps to protect them.

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