When the temperature outside begins to rise, it’s time to start dusting off the grill and patio furniture for a barbecue. The time-honored tradition of grilling food while friends and family socialize can be even more fun when dogs are invited (assuming that they only steal guests’ hearts — not their burgers). A dog-friendly barbecue is the perfect way for animals and humans to celebrate the warm weather together, but there’s a lot to prepare for when pets are involved, and the sweltering sun can be dangerous for some pups. But don’t get overheated — read on to get tips and ideas for celebrating the dog days of summer while keeping cool with your canine.
Run it Out
Before your guests arrive, give you dog an extra workout. Take him for an extra long walk or have some extra playtime to tire him out a bit before the party starts, so he’s not as excitable when everyone arrives. When guests do arrive, don’t encourage them to give your pet an “excited” greeting. By greeting your dog in an excited manner, your dog will respond in the same way, which can result in your dog jumping on guests.
Give A Dog a Bone
Give your dog a new toy. To keep your dog from jumping up on guests or getting into things like the snack bowls, The Humane Society of the US recommends using toys as a distraction. For dogs, a toy with a hidden treat (like a Kong shown at right) is a great suggestion and keeps dogs occupied for hours. Just be sure that your guest don’t try to take your dogs toy away to play, as some dogs might get possessive with a new toy. Reward good behavior throughout the day. Keep treats handy.
Don’t Play With Fire
Matches contain phosphorus, which if ingested, is poisonous to dogs. Similarly, lighter fluid poses its own set of risks, so keep all flammables and barbecue-starting materials out of Fido’s reach. Be extra careful with bigger, clumsier dogs around barbecues and fire pits as they can sometimes, unwittingly, knock them over.
Keep Your Dogs Cool
Keep track of temperature and what your dog is doing activity wise. Heatstroke signs include distress, a glazed look in eyes, panting changes, and weakness. Prevent it from happening by keeping dogs out of the sun, not exercising in the warmer heat/humidity, and allowing free access to clean, cool water at all times. You can even set up a small kiddie pool filled with cool water for your dogs to cool off if they need to. If it’s a really hot day, you might want to keep your dog inside in an air conditioned room or in a shady spot in your yard, where he’ll be more comfortable. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary care. (Continued…)