‘Do you fancy a BBQ?’ The summer months are in full swing, the bank holiday is coming up, and our diaries are often filled with many BBQ’s! A perfect way to spend a warm weekend evening. These BBQ’s are shared with family, friends and often canine companions too! There’s always a lot of talk and discussion about what your dog can’t eat from the BBQ. But this article intends to explain what they can eat, what foods you may safely share with your dog and how to involve them!

What BBQ foods are harmful to my dog?

I know how tempting it can feel when you look down at those beady, begging eyes. I always think they resemble puss in boots from Shrek the movie! Saying no to feeding your dog human BBQ food can be difficult. However, it is vital to your pet’s health that you do say no!

Please ensure that the food has cooled down before feeding any to your dog.

Also, do not forget that foods that come straight off the BBQ are piping hot. Unlike humans, your dog will often not realise this and will gulp down anything! If your dog eats burning hot food, it can lead to burns in their mouth, throat and upper gastrointestinal tract. In severe cases, pain relief, hospitalisation and endoscopy (a camera inserted to visualise damage to the throat, oesophagus and stomach) may be required.

There are certain foods on a BBQ that are a definite no! 

Wooden skewers are a major hazard to your dog and should be avoided at all costs. 

If your dog ingests a wooden kebab skewer, it could penetrate their gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to peritonitis, this situation is life-threatening. 

It may also be tempting to feed your dog a corn on the cob.

It is a vegetable and therefore ‘it should be safe to feed my dog, shouldn’t it? No! Please do NOT feed corn on the cobs to dogs. They are a common foreign body (something stuck that shouldn’t be there). They can become lodged and stuck in your dog’s intestines, requiring major surgery to remove.

Do not feed your dog any fatty, marinated or greasy foods and avoid anything containing seasoning, oils or sauces.

As much as your dog would love to eat a big, greasy burger or a sausage, they can suffer very traumatic after effects such as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes angry and inflamed. This often occurs following ingestion of a high fat or protein meal. It is an extremely painful condition, your dog may require hospitalisation and a variety of medications to support them.

There are many other BBQ foods that should never be shared with your dog including bones, onions and garlic. Please explore this recently published article explaining what BBQ foods are harmful to your dog and what to do if your dog accidentally eats unsafe foods.

What foods can my dog eat from the BBQ?

The following list will cover some of the safe BBQ food options that you can share with your furry friend. It is always important to ensure portion sizes are in moderation and take care not to overfeed your dog.

  • Lean meat – feeding small portions of grilled, low fat meat such as chicken would be acceptable. Always ensure the meat does not contain oils, spices or any seasoning.
  • Grilled vegetables – dogs usually adore grilled vegetables and they are a much healthier option too! Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, and broccoli are safe for your dog to eat. Please ensure the vegetables are not covered in oils or fat. Remember that mushrooms and onions are potentially toxic and poisonous to dogs and feeding them can be extremely dangerous to their health. 
  • Grilled fish – your dog may love to eat a very small portion of grilled fish but ensure that it is boneless and oil/seasoning free.
  • Fruit – summertime fruits such as watermelon and blueberries are a real treat for your dog. Remember to remove the rind and seeds from the watermelon first before feeding them to your dog. You could freeze the watermelon into cubes or chunks if it is a hot summer’s day.

Distraction techniques:

It can be quite an annoying habit having your dog constantly scavenging and begging for food, especially around a hot BBQ! I think it is always a great idea to occupy them and to keep them focused on something else for a period of time. 

  • Puzzle/slow feeders: If you are taking your dog to a friend’s BBQ, make a ‘puzzle/slow feeder’ an essential item to bring in your handbag! Bring some of their own food to put in the feeder (or the safe BBQ food) and this will distract them for a little while, as well as acting as a good enrichment aid.
  • Toys: Take plenty of your dog’s favourite toys with you to entertain them during the party, this may take their mind off the wanting the BBQ food.


To conclude, in an ideal scenario, your dog should not receive any BBQ food to completely avoid dangerous health conditions or tummy upsets. However, I hope that this article has provided information and inspiration to what BBQ foods you can safely share with your canine friend in moderation to get them involved. It is definitely worth exploring and introducing other distraction techniques such as toys and feeding puzzles to encourage your dog to forget their desire for the mouth-watering BBQ cuisine! 

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