How To Dog-Proof Your Summer Barbeque

Get grilling with these hot barbeque dog-safety tips

As soon as the temperature starts going up, our thoughts automatically turn to the outdoors. We can’t wait to celebrate this all-too-short season with pool parties, drinks on the patio and, of course, the all-American barbeque—no summer shindig is complete without one!

If you have a dog, throwing some burgers and stakes on the grill can be more temptation than he can handle. And when you add festive guests into the mix, your pooch can over-indulge or get his paws on something he shouldn’t. Ensure that your celebration is a blast for everyone—canines and humans, alike—with these sizzling tips on how to dog-proof your summer barbeque.

Keep the Grill Off-Limits

Grills heat up quickly and this is one area that shouldn’t be left unattended when your dog is outside. The delicious smells emanating from the barbecue are often too tempting to resist and your pooch doesn’t realize the danger it poses. Training is invaluable – use the “No”, “Off” or “Away” command whenever he goes near the grill. If that’s not working, another option is to keep the grill in an area you can close off. If you don’t have a fence gate, baby gates work just as well and are easy to operate when you’re carrying a plate of burgers and buns. You can also take these precautions bonfires and other smaller outdoor cooking surfaces.

Out Of Reach

Barbeques are all about food—there’s always way too much to eat! Not all food is safe for dogs (onions, chocolate) so keep these items in covered containers and in a place where your pup can’t reach them. If they’re placed on a table, don’t put chairs around it. Dogs are smart, especially when it comes to food, and may use the chair has a step to get at the scrumptious vittles!


Admit it—those puppy-dog eyes are irresistible. You’re used to them and can resist their charms, but your guests may not be so lucky. To discourage feeding table scraps, leave out appropriate dog treats for guests to feed to your dog. And don’t feel bad about putting up a sign reminding patrons to avoid feeding your dog. Children often forget and need reminding, so a cute sign with lots of images to discourage the practice will serve as teaching tool and keep your dog from overeating.

Containing Your Dog

Even the best-trained dogs have moments of weakness and will sneak a bite when no one is watching. Consider keeping your dog tethered while you are outside to ensure that he has a safe place to roam away from the food. For fenced-in yards, tell guests to close the gate when they come and go (another time a sign will come in handy). You know your dog and what he’s capable of and likely to do—if you can’t trust him outside without constantly watching him, then your best bet may be to leave him inside.

Clean Up Quickly

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. However, that dynamic changes when there’s a dog involved. To keep him from helping himself to unattended plates, clean up regularly and put all the trash in a container with a secure lid.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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