By Leah Zerbe, Rodale News
Picnics and BBQs are fun! So it's no surprise that as we head into July 4th weekend, many people are planning to take attend or host holiday cookouts and BBQs with their dogs by their sides. Sure, social dogs will likely enjoy a day out on the town, but typical picnic fare could turn a fun outing into a life-threatening situation.
We asked Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, to ID the top picnic foods your dog needs to avoid.
Dogs can get drunk just like people. Not only can they get tipsy, but they can also go into a coma or even die from ingesting alcohol. "With dogs, many will drink beer readily," Dr. Wismer says. "Dogs and cats will also drink mixed drinks that tend to have a cream or milk base, like white Russians."
Since most alcohol exposures involving pets are accidental--perhaps someone puts their glass down and the dog gets up on table and gets into it--educate picnic guests about how to keep alcohol away from dogs.
Burgers and franks are synonymous with American picnics, and people often like to celebrate spring and summer holidays by sharing their people food with party-going dogs. "One hotdog or one hamburger patty probably isn't going to be too much of a problem," Dr. Wismer admits. But if everyone at the party is tossing a dog some, the pooch could very well come down with vomiting and diarrhea, Dr. Wismer notes.
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Instead, bring a bit of your dog's regular kibble to the party and feed him dog food while the humans enjoy grilled people food.
Though it may be tempting to throw bones under the table after you polish off grilled wings or ribs, Dr. Wismer says it's never a good idea to feed dogs any type of bones from people foods. The bones easily splinter and can cause internal bleeding and possibly death. Plus, overindulging on bones can lead to a serious case of canine constipation. Big bones can also break a dog's teeth.
If you're hosting a party with dogs in attendance, freeze some chicken or beef broth in ice cube trays or purchase doggy ice cream to have safer treats on hand.
People often dump the grease and grilling grime into the driveway after a BBQ, but canines will readily scarf this up, ingesting dangerous amounts of fat and possibly rocks from the driveway, to boot. If the grease is hot, it could cause oral burns.
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Chemical grill cleaners are a threat, too. Instead, use these nontoxic grill-cleaning tips.
Grapes or Raisins
Grapes and raisins are a classic no-no when it comes to dogs. Just a few can cause major kidney problems or even death. If you want to provide a pup with a fruit-based summer treat, try watermelon instead.
Just remove the rind--dogs have trouble digesting it.
Next: July 4th Activities
Make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with the proper rabies and contact information tags. If party plans include setting off fireworks or listening to loud bands, you may be better off leaving your dog at home. These things can stress a dog out and cause it to run off.