Summer is prime time for BBQs, picnics, and neighborhood parties. Most of the treats are for the humans in attendance, but some pets can’t resist getting a taste of the refreshments. The problem, of course, is that many of our favorite summertime foods are harmful or even toxic to pets. Here are some to keep well out of paws’ reach:

Bones: It may be tempting to give your dog or cat leftover chicken or rib bones, but they can splinter when chewed, or be swallowed whole, leading to internal injury or gastrointestinal blockages.

Burgers, Dogs, Brats, and Steaks: Grilled meats are often high in fat, and it doesn’t take much to sicken pets. Not to mention, pancreatitis is a common result of garbage diving.

Corn on the Cob: Corncobs are one of the most common summertime foreign body ingestions, so keep them off your pet’s menu. They can cause serious problems.

Onions, Guacamole and Avocado: All are toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

Brownies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Desserts: Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to dogs, and the high sugar and fat content in most desserts make them upsetting to pets’ tummies.

Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol): If you didn’t bake the sweets, ask about the ingredients. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death.

Other BBQ and Cookout Items to Avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • The grill and other cooking devices
  • Lighter fluid and matches
  • Citronella candles and tiki torches
  • Fireworks
  • Glow sticks and accessories

If your pet does get its paws on any of these BBQ hazards, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number at (888) 426-4435 or get them to our Union location (open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 7am – 11pm) or the nearest after-hours emergency veterinary hospital.