June 19, 2014 Photos by: ©iStock.com/sduben
Now that it is finally summer, you’re enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to spending as much time as possible outdoors. And your dog is too! With summer comes barbecues, pool days and other outdoor parties. These events can be a lot of fun and a great way to catch up with friends and neighbors, but they can also pose a number of risks for your dog. In this article we’ve outlined some tips for dog-proofing your outdoor parties to keep everyone safe this summer.
Food Safety Tips
When it comes to outdoor parties, it is all about the food. Not all foods are safe for dogs, however, so it is important that you employ some basic precautions to keep your dog safe. Always keep food in covered containers to ensure that your dog can’t reach it – this is especially important for foods with bones, onions and other ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Another thing to be wary of is letting your guests feed the dog under the table. Not only can this encourage your dog to develop a problem with begging, but your guests may not know which foods are unsafe for your dog. Either ask your guests not to feed the dog or consider putting out a bowl of dog-safe snacks for them to hand out.
Keep the Dog Contained
No matter how well trained your dog is, his normal behavior may change when he is faced with the opportunity to bite into a juicy steak. Consider keeping your dog tethered while you are outside to ensure that he has a safe place to roam around that is away from the food. If you have a fenced yard, make sure your guests know to keep the gate closed when they come and go – put up a sign if you have to. Ultimately, you know your dog and you know what he is capable of and likely to do – if you don’t feel like you can trust him outside, then your best bet may be to leave him inside.
Keep the Grill Off-Limits
Perhaps the main thing you need to worry about when keeping your dog outside for a barbecue is grill safety – your dog may be drawn in by the delicious smells from the grill and won’t even realize the potential danger it poses. If your dog is well trained, teach him to stay away from the grill by using the “No” or “Off” command when he goes near it. Another option is to keep the grill in an area that you can close off using baby gates so that your dog can’t get to it. These precautions are also recommended for bonfires and other smaller cooking surfaces that you may use outdoors where your dog will be in the proximity.
Clean Up Quickly
Pool parties and barbecues are casual affairs, so people tend to come and go from the table. In most cases, it isn’t a big deal if you leave a plate of food on the table and return to it later but, if there is a dog in the vicinity, he may help himself in your absence. To keep your dog from eating unsafe foods, clean up quickly and put all the trash in an appropriate container – a trash can with a lid is best because trash bags can fall over or tear open.
The summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sunshine and the company of friends and family. It is also a great time to spend with your dog, as long as you take proper precautions to keep him safe. After reading this article you should have an idea of what you need to do to dog-proof your outdoor parties.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.