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Mon, Oct. 14

Make barbecues safer for pets

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(Metro Creative Services)

When the season for outdoor entertaining arrives, time spent in the yard entertaining friends and family tends to increase. Barbecuing lends itself well to informal warm weather gatherings.

While spending time outside, many pet owners like to have their furry companions nearby so they can enjoy the fresh air and fun as well. However, allowing pets outdoors when grilling or entertaining friends requires some forethought to ensure pets stay safe.

Grilling

The act of grilling can be hazardous to pets that canÕt resist the aromas of food cooking. Dogs or cats may be drawn to the succulent smells without realizing that there are hot coals or gas nearby. It may be safer to keep animals leashed or contained until the grill has been extinguished to prevent burns and other injuries.

Watch the leftovers

As diners finish their meals, they may leave scraps strewn around on plates. The occasional nibble here and there may not be overly problematic, but if a dog or cat gets into a food he or she shouldnÕt eat, the consequences can be anything from gastrointestinal distress to severe allergic reaction. Any raw meat or seafood can pose a danger to pets. Other foods that can be toxic for a dog include avocado (and guacamole), garlic, onions, grapes, peaches, and chocolate.

No bones about it

It may be tempting to toss a dog a bone from the grill, but the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention warns pet owners against feeding their dogs or cats chicken on the bone due to the risk of the bone splintering and causing intestinal obstruction. Even large bones can splinter. Owners who want to offer bones to their dogs should consult with a vet about which types of bones are safe, or look for a manufactured bone from the pet store.

Alcoholic beverages

Both dogs and cats are sensitive to alcoholic beverages, offers the environmental wellness resource TreeHugger. In addition, the APOP warns that even a few ounces of beer or wine can be poisonous to a dog or cat. Discard half-drained wine glasses and beer bottles promptly.

Fireworks

If fireworks are part of the festivities, make sure to keep skittish pets away. The loud sounds and brilliant sights can frighten pets, and an animal may dart out of the yard to escape, getting lost or injured in the process.

Pet owners must emphasize safety when grilling and entertaining outdoors with their pets in tow.

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