Summertime is an easy time to spend out in the sun with your favorite pooch. Many people will enjoy taking their pooch to a back yard grill out. While it can be a great social experience for you and your dog, there are several items on the picnic table that can turn a sunny family reunion into a dangerous day for your dog.

For example, you probably wouldn’t think twice about sharing some grapes with your pet at a backyard bar-b-que. However, doing this could send your dog on an emergency trip to the vet. Here are some more things people in South Carolina and Utah have at almost every summer bar-b-que that could put the lives and well being of their pet four legged friends in accidental danger.

Be sure to watch your furry friends while they are around human food.

Of course it is cute to watch your dog lick your plate clean at the backyard picnic. The gratitude your dog shows after he’s done clearing your left overs makes it seem like a harmless way to give him a treat for being your best friend. Beyond the potentially poisonous foods often found at the grill, the harm of altering your dog’s daily diet in anyway can lead to severe digestion and bowel problems. Here are a few of the worst offenders to give your dog off of your plate.


The ASPCA has been studying the effects of grapes and raisins on dogs since 1999. They have found that in some dogs, over consumption of these items can lead to acute renal failure and, in some cases, death. While the exact cause for this has yet to be determined, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and a failure to eat. Renal failure can occur as quickly as 48 hours after consumption.


Almost everyone knows the old wife tale about not giving the dog chocolate. While the truth is that you’re more likely to want all the chocolate for yourself anyway, sharing even a small amount with your pooch could hurt him. Leaving the chocolate bars for your campfire S’mores within your pet’s reach could lead to a chocolate overdose in your pet. If it happens, it could mean vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, elevated heart rates, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and even death. Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate are riskier than milk or white chocolates, but no amount of cocoa is safe. This is because animals (cats included) break down the caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate much more slowly than humans. If your pet ingests chocolate, you should call your vet right away.


Another backyard bar-b-que ingredient sure to cause problems for your pet is alcohol. While some guests may try to persuade you that it is OK to let your dog polish off a beer for comedic effect, this could not be further from the truth. Not only will the alcohol leave your pet dehydrated, he will also become confused about the effects on his body. Unlike a human who can comprehend drunkeness as a result of choosing to ingest alcohol, the animal will not know why he feels impaired and may panic. In addition, the hops found in brewed beer can cause your dog’s internal temperature to sky rocket to over 108 degrees. This could lead to organ failure, seizure and even death.


The garlic in your burger or the on ion off of the condiment plate are likely not high on your list of worrisome foods, but they should be. If your dog clears the onions on the plate he could wind up ingesting harmful chemicals that put his red blood cells in danger. As a rule of thumb, the stronger the onion or garlic smells, the more dangerous it is. Watch for marked tiredness or a reddish orange tinge to urine 3-5 days after ingestion to signal a severe problem.


When burger buns go moldy your pet is often the first in line to clean up the mess. However, some forms of mold can lead to very dangerous toxins forming. It’s impossible to tell if these toxins are present on a particular piece of moldy food, so the answer is to be better safe than sorry. If you wouldn’t eat the molded product, neither should your pet.

You can reach the ASPCA pet poison control hotline 24 hours a day (for a fee) by calling (888) 426-4435.

Other foods that are less common at back yard bar-b-ques but are still dangerous include avocados, macadamia nuts and sugar free foods sweetened with Xylitol should also be closely monitored. With most harmful foods you will see effects within an hour of ingestion, though some symptoms may take days to surface. If you suspect your pet has ingested something dangerous, call your vet right away. You can also contact the ASPCA pet poison control hotline 24 hours a day (for a fee) by calling (888) 426-4435.


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