With summer in full swing and more opportunities to meet up with friends and family, many of us will be having BBQs. It’s very easy to get distracted whilst socialising and our dogs can take advantage of this. Discarded plates of food, tables laden with tasty treats, and half-finished drinks can all be very tempting to our pets. In this blog, we explore some of the hidden dangers that your dog could come across at a BBQ.
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Dogs are not known for being dainty eaters! If your dog comes across a half-eaten kebab, there’s a high risk of him swallowing the whole thing – stick and all! This is extremely dangerous as the sharp stick is at risk of perforating the stomach wall causing serious damage; such as peritonitis or damage to other nearby organs. If your dog has eaten a kebab-skewer make sure you call a vet straight away for treatment. The sooner the stick is retrieved the better, as it will have less chance to cause problems.
Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is an extremely common foreign body seen by vets. Dogs are not very good at nibbling food delicately. So instead of chewing just the corn, they will usually swallow the whole cob or large chunks of it. Corn on the cobs are extremely tough and fibrous, making them indigestible. A large piece of cob could become lodged in the digestive tract. Particularly in the narrow stomach exit or the intestines. Dogs that have blockages will often develop symptoms such as a reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, and a painful abdomen.
If a blockage occurs then your dog could need surgery to remove the obstruction. Prognosis is better the earlier you seek treatment for your pet. So make sure they are seen by your vet promptly.
With unattended drinks glasses or spillages around, your dog is at risk of drinking alcohol. Dogs are much more susceptible to its effects. In mild doses, alcohol (or ethanol) causes similar symptoms in dogs to those that are seen in people, drowsiness and lethargy. In high volumes, you may see alcohol poisoning which is much more serious. Dogs can become disoriented, start vomiting, have difficulty breathing, develop a slow heart rate, and seizures. In severe cases, death can occur. If your dog is showing signs of alcohol ingestion you should contact your vet.
Eating foods with high-fat content can cause upset stomachs. Things like left-over meat rinds, fat drippings, and chicken skin could be too rich for some dogs to handle. In more serious cases the high levels of fat could contribute towards severe pancreatitis. The pancreas is a small organ involved in fat digestion and if it becomes inflamed, it could cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and lethargy. Treatment for pancreatitis usually involves hospitalisation for intravenous fluids (fluid via a drip), pain relief, and other supportive measures.
Some breeds are more prone to pancreatitis than others including cocker spaniels, poodles, and miniature schnauzers.
Feeding your dog leftover fats is not a good idea generally as it also increases the number of calories he is consuming which can lead to weight gain.
Garlic and onions
Vegetable kebabs and burger toppings could contain large amounts of onions. Garlic is also seen frequently as a seasoning or on side dishes like garlic bread. Both of these are from the allium family of plants and are extremely toxic to dogs. Onions and garlic can cause haemolytic anaemia, a condition whereby the red blood cells become damaged, fragile, and burst. This means that there are less available to carry oxygen around the body. Dogs with haemolytic anaemia become weak, pale, lethargic, off their food, and may collapse.
If consumed, a bone can become lodged or cause issues in your dog’s stomach and intestines. Cooked bones are likely to shatter causing sharp edges and points which can cause severe irritation to your dog’s insides and potentially get stuck. But even raw bones can cause a blockage or puncture the gut lining. Dog’s suffering from this can develop symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in their abdomen, and lethargy. Some dogs that eat bones can present to the veterinary clinic with lower grade symptoms such as constipation.
Bones also have the potential to cause painful fractures to your dog’s teeth. Biting down on a hard object with force can cause teeth to break, which may seem surprising but happens all too often. Fractured teeth will usually require veterinary treatment, such as extraction.
There are many dangers to dogs at a BBQ, so take special care that things like unwanted food, packaging, and kebab skewers are disposed of properly. If your dog eats something he shouldn’t have done then seek attention sooner rather than later. Make sure you tell your guests not to feed your dog any scraps and just stick to his normal diet or dog treats. If you must give your dog something to eat from the BBQ, stick to cooked unseasoned lean meat and fish as well as vegetables like peppers, courgette and cucumber to keep him safe.